LinkedIn

LinkedIn: The social media for employment

LinkedIn: The social media for employment

Sola Fagorusi

Each time I make a career-related move or get on a new project with my partners, one of the first things I notice is that a new contact checks my LinkedIn profile.

For a fresh graduate, who is just getting into the rough space of seeking employment, a LinkedIn account is a good head start. Listed on the New York Stock Exchange, LinkedIn, with shares currently selling at about $110 per unit, is reputed as the world’s largest professional social networking site. www.linkedIn.com was founded in 2002 but became available to the public in May 2013.  With more than 400 million users in over 200 nations, LinkedIn remains the favourite destination for anyone who understands that in business and work, there is need for social networks and relationship.

LinkedIn is the equivalent of what happens in the offline world when you see a less competent hand get ahead of you in an employment opportunity. What that other person possiblely had was the connection. It is because of this informal model of associations and recommendations that the programmatic of LinkedIn is based. When most upwardly mobile business executives are due for a meeting, one of their favourite pastimes is to do some background check on whom they are meeting.

What has this person done before? Where is this person coming from? Do we have any mutual business interest? A Google search most time will point in the direction of a number of social media accounts, in addition to LinkedIn. LinkedIn avails users an opening to sell themselves in a less rigid manner than curriculum vitae will allow. It gives prospective job seekers the opportunity to present their profile and captures their unique selling point in the same space.

For start-ups, it helps in expanding the visibility of the organisation when a number of employees are on the platform. The power of any social networking platform resides in their use for networking. LinkedIn does not work for that individual who only sets up space there and moves on. It functions better when a career moves and other updates are mentioned. It works better when thoughts about work are being shared regularly. It offers more connection for individuals who can write brilliant career-related articles, through the LinkedIn Publishers tool, that are shared or useful to ones ‘connections’, as friends on LinkedIn are called.

One other interesting thing LinkedIn offers is how it helps in updating one’s career trajectory. Often, we write CVs when we need to; but with someone who regularly updates his or her LinkedIn account, a CV is always ready. A smart recruiter is more likely to look in that direction at the final stage of the interview.  For profiles that are regularly updated, when the time to churn out a CV comes, it is a walkover. CVs do not usually carry images; the recruiter gets an opportunity to see what one mien looks likes through LinkedIn.  A combination of factors determines whether an individual will get a job or not, some seemingly mundane and some genuine. There are also a number of determinants as to why people lose their jobs asides from competence. Social media is fast becoming one of those reasons. Most employment offers are usually at the discretion of the employers or recruiters. At the last stage of any interview, things like LinkedIn begin to count, especially for organisations that are quickly embracing changes in the media landscape.

LinkedIn’s unique feature also lies in its ability to deliver customised news to the user’s timeline. This kind of news gives the user the opportunity to see regularly what others in the industry are doing or reading.  There are also groups on LinkedIn where one can get such news and interact with other members. It is also the right place to participate and allow others to notice your brilliance, contributions and other positive attributes. For those looking at making mid-career moves, LinkedIn is the favourite destination because companies are known to poach workers from other organisations and they can readily see what the prospective employee is doing through LinkedIn.

Getting a LinkedIn account is as artless as getting a twitter or Facebook account. The profile is filled and then the user can check for former colleagues at school and work. Another smart thing to do is to rummage through business cards collection and search those contacts on LinkedIn. For those found, sending an invitation or request to connect with them is desirable.

Other smart things to do on LinkedIn are leaving recommendations for others that are first-degree networks, using the LinkedIn status update regularly to keep your network informed of what is happening in your professional life.  When one publishes on LinkedIn, all connections get notifications and then the publisher is branding his or herself steadily and it is just a matter of time before the brand sticks. Others who want to take this a step further add the link of the article published to their email signatures and it means as many people who get emails from them in the period when the link is there get an opportunity to read or see it. Above all, anyone who in today’s world keeps a job should be on LinkedIn because users stand to benefit more than lose anything.

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