I’d like to add you to my professional network
Posted by maryvanbe
In “Using LinkedIn to Get Work,” the authors conclude that LinkedIn is a fantastic resource for getting a new job or new projects. As a long-time user of LinkedIn to get more work, I completely agree. I visit LinkedIn only about once a week to check who’s viewed my profile, make new connections, answer email and manage a microsite for a local chapter of a national organization (I approve or disapprove applications to join). And I have gotten many projects for my side business, Synapse Writing & Editing this way.
The secret to success is having a complete profile, which is a lot of work and depends on the cooperation of others. After plugging in all of your information, which can be extensive, you need to ask for and receive three recommendations from people with whom you’ve worked who are also on LinkedIn. After you’ve done this and achieved the “All-Star” status, you are ready for business, which includes keeping the information on the site updated, continually adding trusted connections, joining groups related to your work and, depending on your objective, checking out companies where you might want to work and making connections with people within those companies.
Truth be told, in every instance in which I’ve received a new freelance project on LinkedIn, it was from people who were searching for terms such as “medical writer” or “medical editor.” I’ve never approached a company or individual on LinkedIn for freelance work, although I have approached them about full-time job listings in order to establish some kind of connection–although that has never worked for me.
Some of the functionality on LinkedIn requires you to upgrade to the “Premium” level, in which you can see everyone who has viewed your profile, send “InMail,” see how many other people have applied for a job you’ve applied for and gauge where you stand in comparison to the other applicants. However, LinkedIn allows you to do free one-month trials of Premium every so often, which can be a big help when searching for jobs.
One feature I’ve never understood the value of is the endorsements. This features allows anyone in your network to “endorse” you for different skills, in my case writing, editing, journal management, proofreading and Web content and design. Seems fair enough, but an endorsement isn’t the same as a recommendation, which requires you to describe how you know the person you are recommending and where you worked together, facts that increase the legitimacy of the recommender.
But endorsers don’t have to describe your relationship with them or where (if) you worked together, and they don’t have to write anything of value to prospective employers. I have gotten tons of endorsements, many from people I don’t know and who have no idea whether I’m actually proficient at the skill for which they’re endorsing me. I’ve never participated in these endorsements for those reasons.
Overall, though, LinkedIn has been a very valuable tool for me. In many ways, it gives you access to people with whom you would have not been able to contact through traditional means, such as via email or phone. While not every connection leads to a job, or indeed, to anything, you never know when someone will remember seeing you when they need someone like you in the future. And, unless you hide your profile, you’re always visible to a network of thousands while not appearing to your employer like you’re looking for a job, because almost every professional is on LinkedIn.
Source of the graphics: LinkedIn.com
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