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Yes, Person I’ve Never Met Before, I’ll Add You

March 6, 2015

I had no idea who he was. We didn’t even have anyone in common. He went to the same college I attended. That was our connection. Should I add him? 

It depends on the social network you are on. I’ve already admitted that I’m not much of a twitter user (I Have No Idea What I’m Doing.) But, the point of Twitter is to get people to follow you. You think President Obama knows all those millions of fake accounts that follow his Twitter feed? 

On Facebook, I’m selective (I’m Sorry. We Can’t Be Friends Anymore.)

But, on LinkedIn! I add everyone who asks. And it has to do with what I see the purposes of LinkedIn being. I have a friend who is president of a major TV studio. I was talking to him several years ago about this.

Kevin, I saw like four LinkedIn profiles for you. Which one should I connect with?

Rodney, I have no idea what LinkedIn even does. I keep getting these requests and click through and create a profile and then ignore it. Is it even worth it?

I think so. and I think you are going to want to start using it, to screen people if nothing else.

LinkedIn is an online resume. But, more than the resume, ti’s an entire interview loop. When I’m talking to perspective employers I don’t offer to send them a resume, I give them my linkedIn address (www.linkedin.com/in/rbliss) I even put it on my business card.







I think you should use LinkedIn in three ways ways.   

Networking

If you are like me, you hate to go to “networking” events. You stand around like college kids in a pickup bar trying not to look desparate. Eventually, you leave with a few names and cards, but no real connections. 

LinkedIn solves a lot of that. First, you can go exploring. Want to go to work for Microsoft? Search LinkedIn for the company name and you will see everyone in your connections list who worked there. Want to sell into UPS? Search and see if you know anyone there, or anyone who used to work there. 

This is why I accept all LinkedIn connection requests. I never know when I might need a contact. It’s not a one way street of course. I also understand that others might reach out to me. And that’s not a bad thing. Getting a job is only slightly harder than finding the right candidate for a job. If you want to connect with me on LinkedIn, I’m happy to accept. Click Here

Vetting People

This was the main value I saw for my friend Kevin all those years ago. As the head of the studio, he gets lots of people asking for a piece of his time. LinkedIn is an easy way to see if the guy in your lobby who claims to be a producer at Sony is actually who he says he is. And if he’s not and you really are looking for a producer at Sony, you can use LinkedIn to see who you may know that works there. 

LinkedIn gives you the option of endorsing people for particular skills. You go to their profile, click on ENDORSE and pick your skill. Honestly? I think it’s a waste of time. I have plenty of endorsements, but often I get endorsed by someone for a skill that they know nothing about. I don’t really look at the endoresements. 

What’s much more valuable, in my opinion, are the recommendations. You can go and post a recommendation for someone you’ve worked with, someone you’ve worked for, or someone who’s worked for you. Those are gold. But, you might think that since the only recommendations are from people who liked your work, it’s not a good represenation. And I would say you are correct. But, if you ask a person for three references, you are only going to get the people that already like them anyway. You don’t lose much. Besides, you can go through the list of recommendations and start your vetting process all over again. Was your potential candiate recommended by someone you used to work with? That’s then pretty easy to follow up on. 

Your Online Extended Resume

By far, the most valuable use of LinkedIn is the online resume. You can go into more detail. You are not bound by the single (or double) page. You can include pictures, recommendations, certifications. It’s a wonderful opportunity to tell your story. 

But, Rodney how do I know what to say since I don’t know who might be looking at my profile? The point is that you don’t know what to say. You cannot really craft LinkedIn to a particular job the way you do a resume. But, that’s okay. Because if you are pursuing a job, you are not going to rely on your LinkedIn profile. You are going to research the company, search for people you know there, and craft your resume to fit the job. LinkedIn won’t do that for you. 

LinkedIn is a passive tool to catch people who might otherwise never consider you for a position. And unlike other social media sites, LinkedIn gives you one huge advantage. You can see the people who have checked out yoru profile. So, if someone is interested in you, you’ll know they came and looked at your profile. Keep in mind, it goes both ways. If you look at someone’s profile the person will know that you were there. 

There are other features in LinkedIn, of course. You can publish on LinkedIn and as a writer, it’s a great way to get noticed. You can also signup for their job service. They will send you jobs that match your resume. Or, as an employer, you can post jobs. 

It’s one of the most valuable business sites on the Internet. And it’s free for most of the content. 

By the way, my friend Kevin now uses it extensively.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday at 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and one grandchild. 
Follow him on Twitter (@rodneymbliss
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss) or email him at rbliss at msn dot com 

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