I have a lot of interactions with students these days.
I teach a class of students who are primarily going to graduate in the next few months with degrees in media and communication. In addition I have a research project that involves PhD students from the sciences in interviewing CEO’s of corporations in high tech industries. And then I get asked to mentor people from time to time….
Recently I was asked to provide some guidance to one of the members of my rather large extended family. Large because as children and godchildren and nephews and nieces get married, the tendrils of relationships continue almost infinitely into their own social network.
The guy who I was asked to help is about 30, and has a marketing background. The company that he has been working for is a small creative shop working in the digital/social space. It is apparently going through a transition, the net result of which is that he is being let go. Tough thing to have to deal with and its something that a lot of people are going to experience in the next few years in Australia, in spite of the fact that this country has been largely insulated from the impact of globalization in jobs outside of the manufacturing sectors.
What was the first thing that I did, before even talking to him? Look at his LinkedIn page. It was pretty ordinary. Very thin amount of information. Only the bare bones in fact. When I spoke to him on the phone I talked a bit about his experiences and his goals and ambitions and what he had been doing and all those things that I know recruiters like to find out about. I realized pretty soon that he just didn’t get it. He hadn’t built a network of people who would endorse him and help underpin his goals. He had no endorsements…. He demonstrated an utterly naive view of how the world works.
I got him to start working on building up the information, improving the way that he looked at himself and the way that he presented the information that is online.
Its a long way from being perfect but its a vast improvement.
Then I got in touch with a recruiter who I know and asked her if she would mind talking to him – no reference to LinkedIn mind you. I asked her if she would mind taking a meeting with him and cc-ed him on the email to square the circle.
She very kindly agreed responding almost immediately. Her closing comments on her email were: “I will have a look for you on Linkedin also so we can fully connect.”
For her to even talk to him, the first step is to look for him on LinkedIn. Not surprising at all to me. But it tells you something: If you are not using LinkedIn right now to present your professional self to the world, you are not really in the game.
I don’t have any shares in LinkedIn, and along the line may find something equally or more powerful, but that is in the future. Right now, investing the appropriate amount of work in LinkedIn is the most important investment in time that you can make.
And by the way, doing that effectively is