One of the things that makes being an independent consultant different from work ‘on the inside’ is that doing things like keeping up with LinkedIn and other ‘work-related’ social networks is actually part of the job. While it may seem a luxury to be able to find cool stuff here or find out about promotions and career moves of connections, LinkedIn and other such platforms are bread-and-butter. It’s where we connect, sometimes where we find leads, and always where we share our insights. If you’re not in this sort of business, LinkedIn may be something you rarely even think about or a site you hardly ever visit. I know that, in my last corporate incarnation, I had several colleagues who never used LinkedIn, some of whom didn’t even have profiles. I had one co-worker who insisted that she never used it because she didn’t want to give the impression to the boss that she was looking for work (she wasn’t, but still, her reasoning went, why give anybody a reason to think so?) If you’re not as active as those of us who live and breathe business networking but still want to find a good way to stay in touch, below is an article I wrote a few years ago while I was working full-time that I think still stands up. I’ve updated a couple of spots and of course, edited it for clarity. Enjoy.
Are you keeping in touch with LinkedIn?
Sure you’re keeping up with your personal networks, but as much time as everybody spends on Facebook and Twitter, are we also keeping up with our professional networks?
Every so often, something will come over me and I’ll write a quick update or forward on an interesting article on LinkedIn, but it’s also every once in a while that I consciously dedicate some serious time to the maintenance of my network here where professionals virtually meet (without pictures of kittens and videos of singing dogs). Not to disparage the fun folks have on social networking sites too…just that if we’re to grow our professional networks, we really need to maintain the connections we have.
Last year for an entire month (I believe it was March?), I promised myself a series of daily LinkedIn activities. I can’t remember all of them now, but I believe they consisted of adding three new people to my network, endorsing and/or recommending two existing connections, and either sharing a link or joining a group. Every workday. For the entire month.
I don’t believe that led to my current position (I was recruited by a former colleague and dear friend for this job), but perhaps it was the karma of keeping up with my professional network and the cosmic aligning of stars that led to this great opportunity that I’m still so grateful for today. It just so happens that I have those connections to thank for where I am right now.
So, in the spirit of past successes (real or imagined), I’m going to once again dedicate myself to a month of diligent network maintenance and every workday in September [that was the month I originally wrote this post] I’ll be making some time to refresh and connect with those in my network while also adding (officially, that is, here on LinkedIn) numbers to its ranks.
Join me, won’t you? Endorse someone in your network today. Add a new person or two (it’s easy to peruse with the “People You May Know” box on the upper right of your home screen…Click on “See more…” to open a whole page that seems to go on forever). [LinkedIn has since moved this feature to your “My Network” page.] Share an article you find online here. Or just reconnect by sending an old colleague an email. And dedicate yourself to these activities every workday this month.
It may be a month that changes your career…either directly or maybe through your networking karma.