When you connect with people on LinkedIn, what’s your motivation for doing so?
There’s a variety of reasons to connect with others. Some of my connections are people I know well on a daily basis, and others are people I have never met in person, never exchanged emails nor spoke with on the phone with.
In my own case, I started to look for and connect with people I worked with. The advantage of this starting place was it gave me a good place to see how connections are made, and by endorsing each other for the skills we have, I understood quickly how these endorsements would appear on my profile page. Like many people who find LinkedIn for the first time, I wondered, “What can this social media medium do for me? What’s the point?”
Now I understood from the beginning as I hope you do, that LinkedIn was not a strictly a social medium like Facebook. Facebook is more about sharing your social life, keeping in touch with family and friends, sharing photos etc. Yes it can and is being used by people to showcase their businesses, and it brings together people from around the globe who share common interests such as celebrities, clubs and organizations. It is however, still the place to share that picture of your lunch, selfies, your photography skills, jokes, etc. Its use is very social.
LinkedIn on the other hand has a different membership and intent. This is where people showcase their professional business side. What gets shared are examples of one’s work and presentations; it’s where we communicate with other professionals, learn from each other, share our knowledge and in turn discuss best practices, trends in the workplace and advances in our industries. This is not the place to post pictures of your BFF’s.
As we are all very different and unique, our motivation for joining LinkedIn is not necessarily homogenous. You may like many, start the process of making yourself a profile and then stop; unsure of why you are really doing this in the first place. There are many underdeveloped profiles with little more than a name and a job title. You can hardly expect anything to come from such a profile yet they abound in great numbers.
In my own case, once I got past connecting with the co-workers I have and those I’ve worked with in the past, I started issuing invitations to connect with people who do similar work but who work at other agencies, who live in other parts of the world. After all, there is limited benefit to connecting with only the people I already know if I can just walk down the hall and speak to them in person. By connecting with someone in the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, the United States or France who is like me in an Employment Counselling role, I can expand on what I know, compare and contrast how we operate, and we can if we choose, share some ideas.
Another reason to connect with someone is when you identify a company you’d like to work with. By following that company, you can find people who work there, look at their profiles and see their qualifications and experience thereby getting all kinds of clues as to the kind of people who make up that workforce. Connect with some of the people there, and you could perhaps gain some insights into how positions get created, company culture; maybe even a job lead.
Recruiters and Head-hunters, talent acquisition personnel; they’re here too, and they are thrilled to have a pool of qualified people to examine. They’re using LinkedIn to bring people and opportunities together, sometimes contacting happily employed people and presenting them with opportunities to advance their careers they would otherwise not even be aware of.
Companies are posting jobs, and in doing so, attracting talent they would otherwise not be able to market themselves to. Traditionally in the past, a company would post an ad in a local paper, use the services of an employment centre; whatever they could do to get the word out – but it was limited in the scope of the audience it could reach. Now, you’ll find companies posting jobs and the interest those postings generate via LinkedIn is attracting exceptionally qualified people from both near and afar.
In the traditional job search, you’d apply for a job, have an interview and they’d ask for references. Now, you apply for a job and companies start the online profile search looking at your digital presence. Are you on LinkedIn? What are people saying about you via your recommendations and endorsements? If you don’t have any recommendations but you have 1000 connections, you can’t be all that talented now can you? On the other hand if people are saying good things about you and the work you do, that makes you much more attractive. It’s like companies are getting your references before they even invite you in for the interview.
Some people are active contributors on LinkedIn; willing to share their ideas, resources and help. Some are only on it to take and give nothing back. They ask for jobs, ask for help, but give no such help in return or even ask what they might do for you. Some write, some read, some comment, some don’t. That’s why we’re all unique.
What’s your reason for being on LinkedIn?