LinkedIn: It’s Much More than an Online Rolodex

by Ron on April 12, 2009

linkedinA colleague of mine recently suggested that LinkedIn was nothing more than a fancy online Rolodex. That description might have fit a year ago, but with the addition of groups and new file sharing tools, LinkedIn has graduated from online Rolodex to full-fledged social networking tool. And unlike Facebook, which still has a lot of noise mixed in with some very powerful tools, LinkedIn is 100 percent professional. It’s completely focused on connecting with colleagues and co-workers to build professional networks.

In fact, LinkedIn may be the easiest place for someone who wants to get their feet wet in social networking, but doesn’t know where to start. At its most basic, you can think of LinkedIn as a place to post your online resume, but it’s much more than that because it also gives you the ability to connect to friends, co-workers and business partners to build an online social network. In future posts, we will discuss how to perform all of these activities in LinkedIn.

In addition, you can start or join a LinkedIn group. There are groups around every imaginable subject, and if you can’t find an existing one to suit your needs, you can create your own and invite people to join. There are forums where you can ask questions or answer questions (and raise your own personal profile in the process) and there are tools that let you share files and presentations and to see the latest blog entries from the people you follow.

In short, there is a lot more happening in LinkedIn then simply gathering a list of contacts and posting your resume online. Those are important too, but the newer features let you connect and network and share in ways that make LinkedIn an essential part of your social media tools arsenal.

Photo by Mario Sundar on Flickr

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jeff Goldman April 14, 2009 at 8:49 pm

I think the big gest advantage of LinkedIn are the groups. It is where the real, quality networking happens. There are many connections to be found in LinkedIn, but I find the best connections are to be found as the result of group interactions. So often group discussions are beneficial to both/all parties, which in turn determines beneficial connections.

Thanks for the post and good luck with the new blog.

2 ron April 16, 2009 at 8:32 am

Thanks Jeff. I agree there is a lot of value in the groups and it changed the whole LinkedIn dynamic when they added the ability to do that. From a networking perspective, these groups provide a way to connect with people directly and that’s invaluable, but having a complete profile as Christine Pilch wrote in LinkedIn: How an Incomplete Profile Can Hurt You, is also extremely important and can help you let people know your professional expertise.

Thanks again for your comment and your good wishes.

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