The Missing Link – Using LinkedIn to Advance Your Career

Connections, the namesake for people in your network on the popular social media platform LinkedIn is where you may find the most success in social media as a young professional or aspiring mogul.  In the world of it’s not just what you know, but, who you know, LinkedIn is your secret weapon, kind of like a video game cheat code for networking and researching the rough waters of corporate America.

So how exactly do you wield this powerful sword to your benefit?  The answer can be vary, it can be as creative or in some cases creepy as the individual.  For starters, when it comes to getting the background stats and history of a potential interviewer, manager, co-worker, or newly made network acquaintance, you’ll be hard pressed to find a tool as useful.  Yes, you can Google or facebook stalk them, but those may return results less substantial or significant.  Think about it like this, LinkedIn can very well even the playing field in interviews and introductions, many times a manager or interviewer has your resume, history and information, how much more intriguing could the conversation be if you had there’s as well?  Uh, winning!

Next, I’m sure you remember how your parents and /or teachers stressed to you the importance of “eye contact,” but did they tell you about “I contact?”  Another great attribute of LinkedIn is the ability to make contact with people or workers of a desired company that may assist you in your endeavors or at least point you in a better direction.

Using the Company filter located at the top right of your LinkedIn page, a user can search by company and access a list of employees affiliated with the searched company.  This tool is great because you may soon discover that you may have a connection with someone within the company and they just weren’t on the top of your mind as a point of access (one can overlook such things in between games of “Modern Warfare” and episodes of “The Game”).  If you don’t have a direct contact with someone in the company a.k.a. a “1st Connect” using LinkedIn language, maybe you know someone who knows someone within the company, which is referred to as a “2nd connect,” this can all be accessed by searching in LinkedIn.  You can make contacts with your connections to see if there are insights to be gained.

If by high chance you may have no connections at all to a company and its employees, you can resort to a “cold connection” a modern day version of a “cold call.”  You would embark on a “cold connection” by first selecting someone in the company closest in type to the desired position you are applying for.  Next, you should add them to your network as a “colleague,” a term that means we may have something common like we’re both human and may like sports, but not as harsh as “stranger.”  Lastly, you would do a brief yet honest and appealing introduction of yourself (i.e. Hi, I recently discovered you on LinkedIn and was impressed with your background, particularly as myself am interested in working with “company name,” would you have a few moments to chat.  I thank you in advance for your time).  If you’re nervous about putting yourself out there or your ego intrudes, think about what’s to lose versus what’s to gain.  We’re certain you’ve heard worst things than the potential rejection you may receive, but have you received your best potential opportunity yet?

Along with the aforementioned benefits of LinkedIn, there are numerous other features that make LinkedIn a great resource.  Some of these features enable users to stay current with job openings of companies, find creative ways of getting on employees radars (i.e. sending a congratulation note to new hires that are listed on the company LinkedIn page).   Users can join groups that broaden their network and reach of specific industries.  You can even consider purchasing a premium account that enhances the user experience and capabilities of connecting with potential contacts.

There is no question that LinkedIn can be your next best social friend a “B.S.F.”, hopefully with some of the aforementioned tips you won’t be the weakest link in your career pursuits.  U DEFINE SUCCESS

Check out Urban Professor on LinkedIn and connect today.

June 14, 2011 by Urban Professor