Thursday, September 15, 2011

LinkedIn: Busting 8 Damaging Myths About What It Can Do For Your Career

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Forbes - As a career and executive coach, speaker and recruitment consultant, I use LinkedIn (LI) extensively each day, and I truly enjoy it.  I’ve found that building my network to over 1,000 direct contacts (accessing 10 million+ indirect contacts) has been well worth the two years of time and energy.  I’m a big fan of LI – and truly appreciate the power of the tool and all the opportunities, gigs, partnerships, insights, information and support that have come my way from it.

I like LinkedIn so much that I often refer to it as the “great cocktail party in the sky.”
The analogy of the cocktail party truly fits.  LinkedIn has the following aspects in common with an awesome cocktail party:

You get the chance to connect with like-minded people who you may otherwise never have had the chance to meet

By investing just a bit of time each day, you can learn a great deal that’s of interest and use
It’s a blast to connect to people that you admire from afar, and who can teach you vital things about how to be more of what you want to be

You can determine in an instant if you want to invest any more time and energy in getting to know new folks you see

Socializing beyond your limited sphere helps you build a powerful community that supports and enriches

You can add great diversity to your pool of colleagues and peers by branching out and connecting with new people across the country and globally

Meeting new people who are doing amazing and inspiring things in this world is exhilarating

But after two years of using LinkedIn for several hours each day, and after counseling others on how to build their personal brand on LinkedIn for professional advantage, I’m witnessing some negative effects of the misguided notions people have gleaned about what LinkedIn can do for them.

I’d like to share what I’ve observed to be the Top 8 Myths about LinkedIn as a professional tool, and offer some straight talk about what you can expect it to do for you.

Here are the Top 8 Myths we need to bust:

Myth #1: LinkedIn will get me a job
Nothing is going to “get you a job” but you.  Yes, you can search new job openings in your area, and discover who posted the job, and connect with these folks.  You can find people who work at companies posting jobs, check them out, and ask their help to introduce you.  But these steps aren’t going to land you a job.  You must still do the rigorous internal and external work of knowing what you’re great at, communicating your talents, finding strong-fitting positions, then get on the radar of the hiring manager or recruiters involved, and present yourself as a highly qualified and desirable candidate.              More