LinkedIn takes the social idea behind Facebook and combines it with the additional elements of networking and professional development. So whether you find yourself looking for a job, or you just want to connect online with other facilities managers, LinkedIn is a must-have tool. Here are three important uses for the site.
LinkedIn is used by many professionals to connect with each other. And since it’s online, you can do much so much more than just copy and paste text from your resume. LinkedIn has a summary section that lets you tell people your story—what you’ve done, how you’ve done it and what makes you a stand-out employee.
A note of caution on LinkedIn networks: Sometimes you may get requests from people you don’t know . There are two different schools of thought on how to handle these requests. Some users say you should accept them, since it will expand both your professional network and the other person’s. Others say you shouldn’t accept requests from someone you don’t know. After all, what’s the point of being connected if you can’t actually vouch for their work, and vice versa? It’s up to you to decide which you feel more comfortable with, but I fall into the latter camp myself.
LinkedIn is also an excellent resource for job searching, because hundreds of jobs are posted on the site each day. But what really sets LinkedIn apart from other job sites is your ability to connect with a company through your own network. LinkedIn can help you see if you’re connected with someone at the company that has posted the job. For example, let’s say you apply for a position with an organization where an old colleague works, and you’re connected to that colleague on LinkedIn. If you can get your contact to put in a good word for you, you may have a leg up onto the competition.
On top of that, you can request recommendations from your past colleagues. Shown on your profile, these recommendations make your profile multi-dimensional and help others get a better sense of the kind of work you do. If you ask for recommendations from different types of employees you’ve worked with—like someone you answered to and someone you managed—you can show people how you worked in various capacities. This will make you a more attractive job candidate.
Even if you aren’t looking for a job, LinkedIn is still a great professional resource. Why? The site has thousands of industry groups where members can discuss trends, talk about on-the-job issues and ask each other questions. Using this feature, you can connect with FMs in different industries and different parts of the world. However, if you do find yourself looking for a job, groups are another LinkedIn feature that could help your job search strategy. By being an active participant in groups, you may form professional connections with other group members and expand your network. Or, you may simply be able to reach out to the group and see if they know of any openings.
LinkedIn also allows you to share links to blogs, articles and other online resources. This can help you position yourself as an active expert in your field. You can also follow other companies on LinkedIn to see the kind of content they’re posting. (OfficeSpace Software, for example, publishes its blog articles on LinkedIn each time a new one is posted.) This is yet another way that LinkedIn can help you with your professional development: Follow other facilities managers, follow organizations and follow other thought leaders, and you’ll never lack something interesting to read.
Whether you’re job searching or you’re looking to expand your network, LinkedIn is a versatile tool that can help you with your career, regardless of your professional goals or your level of experience. For our experienced LinkedIn users, what’s your favorite way to use the site?
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