I was recently contacted out of the blue by a company in my industry because they found me on LinkedIn. They said my experience was perfect for a job they were trying to fill, and after we spoke for about an hour, I agreed. If I hadn’t just moved about two hours from New York City, where they’re located, I may have taken it.
It’s the only way I stay in touch with old coworkers, most of whom I’ve worked with for over 15 years. I don’t want to be their email friends or Facebook friends, but as former colleagues - LinkedIn is perfect for that.
How do you use it to “stay in touch?” I am "connected to about 70 people, most of whom I know to varying degrees. I don’t communicate with them over Linked-in, nor do they communicate with me that way. If I want to communicate with any of them, I’d do it by more conventional means. I don’t even know how I’d do it. I’m completely ignorant of what Linked-in is supposed to do. Whenever I get an invitation over linked-in and I accept and say “now what?” No one has ever replied to my question.
I get Inbox replies that way - “how’s it over at <company>?” “Are you guys adopting <stupid industry standard x>?”
I guess that’s the main difference - I never bothered with conventional means - I only just knew their old work email, never a personal email address for colleagues. I do have a few, but I don’t use LinkedIn for them.
Maybe it makes more sense if it used to be a very large company, for which I used to work with these people.
Plus I can certainly see the benefits for job postings - it’s just never been used that way for me.
If you are in sales or marketing, I am sure it can be a very effective networking tool.
But I’ll tell you why you would want to know who your business contacts know. A couple of friends have called me in the last year because they were looking for a job with a particular company. They looked up the respective companies in LinkedIn and found out that I had contacts who worked at those companies. Instead of going in through the HR minefield, I was able to give them an introduction to a real person who could get them to the hiring managers.
As someone mentioned, things like that can work in reverse and hiring managers can look up people that know you as well.
My biggest problem with Linkedin is that, as far as I can tell, they designed the site in 1998. Then said, “Yep! This is good enough FOREVER” and never bothered to make the site, you know, presentable.
I do have a funny Linkedin experience. A few years back I worked with a guy that was…well…special. “Special”. Nice enough guy, smart enough, but has two major negative points:
Absolutely zero social skills. And this is coming from me, who works in a science/technical/engineering field. This guy was socially retarded by our standards, and that bar is pretty low to begin with.
Like I said, very smart, but lazy. The kind of guy who when he sees layoffs all around him still thinks he deserves two technicians under him to do his actual lab work. All while the other scientists at his level are putting out far more in useful work with no technicians.
Anyways, this guy gets laid off. Surprise to nobody. Sets up a Linkedin account to help him find jobs. Gets a bunch of old contacts (few of whom actually directly worked with him) to write little recommendation blurbs for him. Most read like Guy has extensive knowledge in fu science, would be a valuable member of any team. Your standard generic little recommendations
But then he contacts my boss’s boss, the one who laid him off. Said boss’s boss writes an extremely half-hearted, damning with faint praise, two sentences. More or less, it reads:
** Guy is ok, I guess. Might do well if he finds the right field and team.
Guess which one Guy highlights on his linkedin page?
It’d be cruel, but I’m always tempted to send him an email with another such “recommendation” to see if he puts it on Linkedin:
** Guy never stole from the company… as far as I know Guy had acceptable personal hygiene Guy never made an overt pass at me Guy never murdered a co-worker, so he’s got that going for him
Mean, I know. But
I just used it for that myself. We needed to find out if anyone else was implementing software we wanted to buy. The vendor was - of course - willing to provide references - which were, of course, glowing.
I sent out about 10 emails through Linked In to former coworkers - some of whom have switched email addresses multiple times over the year (i.e. the self updating Rolodex), and got a LOT more answers and honest answers. Plus, I got to say hello to some folks that I always “mean to keep in touch” with and never actually CALL for lunch.
I try not to keep friends on Linked In unless what they do has some relationship to what I do. Linked In is not Facebook. I’m an IT project manager. I’m not about to link to I woman that is friends of friends who is a elementary school teacher.
The first thing I do when I get a new LinkedIn connection is look at their other connections to see if we have anyone in common. Often I see people from my past that I then invite to re-connect.
It’s extremely important to network in the business world these days – almost no one gets a job except through people they know – and with everyone moving around it’s impossible to keep track of them. I also get resumes from LinkedIn connections who want to work for my company, or who know that I have my ear to the ground on job openings in my field. Any time someone tells me of a position they’re trying to fill, I usually have a couple of job-seekers in mind who are very appreciative that someone is looking out for them. This pays off for me in a karmic sense.
I also belong to a half-dozen LinkedIn groups, which can be great forums for business people with similar interests to share knowledge. Some of these groups get loaded up with spam, but the ones that are well-run can be helpful in making connections with people who may be useful at some point.
I’ve been on it for many years, and it generates about two (cold) job offers a year. Although I’ve never taken any of the jobs, they’ve all been jobs that I’m qualified for and would enjoy – not true of any other job site I’ve been on.
Mostly, though, it’s just sort of a “facebook for professional adults:” a way to keep track of former coworkers and a few friends without all the “social” baggage of walls and kid photos and friending and neverending status updates and virtual farming.
Hmmmm…you could be right. The VP of my company sent me an invitation, and he ended up resigning shorty after. Then my boss sent me an invitation…I don’t like my boss, so I’ll hope like hell that’s the case in his situation too.