Thursday February 2, 2006

Linking Up With LinkedIn

I have had a LinkedIn account at the free (aka "Personal") level for almost a year, since February 10, 2005. I joined because a former co-worker suggested it on one of the mailing lists I subscribe to. He queried the list wondering if we had enough mass to make a LinkedIn "group". I was curious, as were others, and we entertained a brief flurry of membership and connection requests.

Things slowed down for a while. Then I began to notice a steady increase in LinkedIn invitations in my Inbox. At this point I have 89 connections and 17 outstanding invitations pending.

What is LinkedIn?

So, what does LinkedIn do? To start with, it helps people build their network of friends and professional contacts.
LinkedIn is an online network of more than 4.8 million experienced professionals from around the world, representing 130 industries.

When you join, you create a profile that summarizes your professional accomplishments. Your profile helps you find and be found by former colleagues, clients, and partners. You can add more connections by inviting trusted contacts to join LinkedIn and connect to you.

Your network consists of your connections, your connections’ connections, and the people they know, linking you to thousands of qualified professionals.

A few months after I joined, a former co-worker requested an introduction, through me, to re-connect with a former College friend. Then, someone I didn't know requested a multi-hop introduction through me to a former co-worker of his. A former co-worker asked me for an endorsement (and gave me one in return). And I used a connection I had to hook up again with a former co-worker or two of my own.

A few days ago I started talking to Rich about LinkedIn. It was the right time to mention the idea; he's not otherwise occupied with a project. Rich joined, then started building his network. He's currently up to 34 connections with 56 pending invitations (and counting. ;-) He's also been sending feedback with suggestions for improvements to the LinkedIn feature set (and he's written an article of his own on LinkedIn graph theory).

What Else Can LinkedIn Do?

LinkedIn works for reconnecting. What else is it good for?

How about jobs?

LinkedIn believes that your professional relationships are key to your professional success. Our mission is to help you be more effective in your daily work and open doors to opportunities using the professional relationships you already have.

This isn’t networking—it’s what networking should be. Forget exchanging business cards with acquaintances that don’t know your work, or trying to renew professional ties when you need a favor.

Instead, LinkedIn helps you stay in touch with valuable contacts and build strong relationships with the people who know your work best and who can help you achieve success.

Recently I received a note from a recruiter with a job prospect that looked like a great match for my skills. Unfortunately, the job is in Massachusetts (and I'm in California). But I used some contacts I had to put the recruiter in touch with the greater Boston-area Perl user group. And I've added two more contacts to my LinkedIn network.

Even better, I'm currently in the middle of negotiations and interviews for a new job — the recruiter for this one also found my profile on LinkedIn and contacted me. In this case, the job is in my local area and is an excellent match for my skills and interests. We're talking thanks to LinkedIn.

Linking Up With LinkedIn ( in category Odd Corners , Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Thu, 02 Feb, 08:09 Pacific | «e»