I’ve written a lot about LinkedIn as a helpful professional networking tool. Check out this new article, “World Wide Network,” by Teresa Odle, which provides some additional tips for using the site (thanks to Teresa for quoting me in the piece!):
We’re doing lots of activities online that we once did in person. Shopping? Sure. Paying bills? Of course. But professional networking? You bet – and with some great advantages. Finding a job still is all about whom you know. After making a few online connections, you can multiply your network a lot faster than at a local business meeting.
Las year, I joined LinkedIn, but I didn’t really become active until a few e-mails hit my inbox – requests from colleagues asking me to link to their profile, which is a sort of on-screen résumé. After linking to only 12 people, I gained about 238,000 people in my network. Sure, they don’t actually know me. But I can easily search information about them and ask to virtually meet them through my 12 contacts, much like I would call “a friend who has a friend” to help me land a job.
I didn’t have to work hard to add 12 people; in fact, I’m only getting started.
Lindsey Pollak, speaker and author of Getting from College to Career: 90 Things to Do Before You Join the Real World (HarperCollins, 2007), says the real benefit kicks in at about 50 contacts. LinkedIn stops counting at 500, says Krista Canfield, the company’s public relations manager. “It’s not a popularity contest.”