LinkedIn: Leveling the Playing Field for Workers

I think I like LinkedIn even more than FaceBook.  From 9 to 5, there is no site that is more useful than LinkedIn.  I think that what a lot of people miss is that LinkedIn isn’t just a job search site.  Yes, you can create a resume-like profile and actively search for work, but it is more than that.

As Maureen Crawford-Hentz stated in Erik Qualman’s book Socialnomics, “Social networking technology is absolutely the best thing to happen to recruiting–ever” (p. 228).  I’m not a big job hopper, but I like to keep my options open so I used to load my resume to the usual job sites.  Occasionally, I would get an email from a recruiter, or I might check the listings on the site, but that is just about all I ever got out of it.  I checked those site maybe two or three times a year.

On LinkedIn, however, I check it two or three times a week.  Not because I’m looking for a job, but because I want to check-in on old colleagues, or see stories that are related to my skills and interests, or post a question to one of the groups that I’m a part of.  It doesn’t just connect recruiters and job seekers, it connects like-minded professionals with each other.  And, the recruiters get the benefit of seeing all that interaction and can use LinkedIn members to help them to recruit the right person.

A couple of months ago I got a message from a recruiter about a job that wasn’t really right for me, but I knew someone that was a perfect fit so I talked to her and gave her my friend’s info.  She called him, and within a week he had an interview.  He was actively looking for a job the “old-fashioned” way and never saw this lead, I wasn’t looking at all and it found me, and I found him for the recruiter.

Also, as Qualman points out, job seekers also have the power now to get inside information about potential employers.  If I don’t know someone that works for a company, there’s a pretty good chance that I know someone that knows someone.

For the important relationships in our lives–family and friends–social media could be responsible for decreasing the depth of our relationships, but it actually increases the depth of most professional relationships.  In the past I would have had zero relationship with most of the people that left the company I work for, so any connection is an improvement.

As we have all probably noticed, there isn’t much in the way of corporate loyalty.  Layoffs are a regular occurrence and sites like LinkedIn can help to level the playing field for employees.  If companies can walk away from their employees  at a moment’s notice, it’s only fair that employees should have the same freedom.

Posted on November 4, 2012, in Social Media, Trust, Workplace. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I really enjoyed your example about being able to assist your friend in his traditional job search, by connecting him with the recruiter. To me, that says it all.

    I admit to letting my LinkedIn presence grow stagnant over the years. It was there, but probably only about 50% complete at best, and with zero activity. I am working on improving that by interacting more on the site and diligently adding contacts. I view my next year or so as a graduate as the opportune time to be networking and looking for leads to my professional future: LinkedIn seems to be the very tool to help me succeed at this challenge.

  2. “For the important relationships in our lives–family and friends–social media could be responsible for decreasing the depth of our relationships, but it actually increases the depth of most professional relationships.”
    I think your statement is very true. Somehow personal and professional relationships seem to differ so much concerning the way we can keep in touch. You don’t want to be annoying, yet you would like to let people know what your latest accomplishments are. I see LinkedIn more like a networking tool for long-term results. You might not need a job at this point in time. But if you can stay in touch with people who know your skills, work ethics, etc. from previous work relationships even after they ended, they will have a chance to monitor your progress. I believe that is an unbelievable opportunity.

  3. “It doesn’t just connect recruiters and job seekers, it connects like-minded professionals with each other.”

    This is a really good point that I think is missed by a lot of people who don’t use LinkedIn. Actively searching for a new job is probably one of the things I do least frequently on LinkedIn. It’s a great resource for so many other things. I particularly enjoy the links to professional articles that my connections post. You mention posting questions to groups, which I also think is really valuable–sometimes I even get sucked into reading answers to other technical communicator’s questions because I’m curious!

  4. Nice points here! I remember when someone first showed LinkedIn to me in 2007 he mentioned the “introduction” feature. As an international scholar who studies the internet, he got to “meet” a lot of big names in the field through LinkedIn first. This is similar to someone introducing you to someone at a conference, but I think that once “connected” through LinkedIn you often also see their other social media profiles, e.g. Twitter.

    These days I’ve noticed now the site is all about “endorsing” connections’ skills experiences. Have you all gotten those emails as well? I mainly interact with LinkedIn through the iphone app, but might visit the website this evening to check in on these and see if I can endorse people back.

  5. The last time I really searched for or interviewed for a job was 16 years ago. Job searching used to really excite me. I loved researching school districts, writing very focused letters, revisising my resume for each school, and studying for interviews. Now I really need to employ some new skills and strategies. A good goal for me would be to get my job search strategy and materials in order during the break between this class and the spring semester’s class. LinkedIn looks like something I could already start working on now.

  6. Linkedln does sound like an interesting place to build professional networks and search for employment opportuniites. Although I have never used Linkedln, and am not seeking a new job, I think I may go check this site out in the near future. I work with many dislocated workers, and perhaps this site could be beneficial to them.

    • I look at LinkedIn as an investment in your future, or maybe an insurance policy is a better analogy. The point being that the earlier you get in, the better. While you can try to blitz LinkedIn after you have been let go it just won’t be as effective. It takes time to build a network of people and to develop relationships. If you get all the groundwork done beforehand, you can just change your status to “seeking employment” or something like that, and your network will already be there.

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