Do you ever think you are going to do something and get partially into it and then back out? This was my experience with LinkedIn. I thought I would share that journey in case you too struggle with the same questions or fears.
As a member of the career management community, I have the inside track on all sorts of new initiatives and endeavors. I’ve mentioned before that I highly respect my career colleagues. However, even that inside information doesn’t propel me into motion. In 2006, my career industry friends from Career Management Alliance and Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches were starting to talk about LinkedIn. I’m not afraid of new software so I went to the site and set myself up in LinkedIn. Next it asked me who I would like to connect with? Oh-oh, this meant I would have to ask someone… scary! My profile was up there but I didn’t want to take a chance and invite someone. So I left the site and LinkedIn left my mind.
The other side of me as I have mentioned is Wausau Whitewater. As the Operations Coordinator, I have contacts with paddling enthusiasts from all over the world, many of whom I have met in person. Wausau has a reputation as a world class whitewater course and has hosted numerous national and international events, including World Cups. Bob Campbell, who coached the US Slalom Team in the 1996 and 2000 Olympics and Joe Jacobi, who won Olympic gold in C2 in 1992, had come to Wausau in to coach during Junior Slalom Team Trials in May 2007, the event that selects the US Junior Team which competes in Europe. We visited once again and promised to keep in touch. In October 2007, first Bob then Joe invited me into LinkedIn. I said yes. I knew them and was honored that these Olympic connected people wanted me in their network. I told them both I didn’t know a lot about how LinkedIn worked.
I got busy and forgot about LinkedIn until January 2008 and then Jimmy Blakeney asked me into his LinkedIn network. I knew Jimmy too also from Wausau Whitewater. Jimmy was a premier freestyle competitor who had been to a number of the major freestyle events in Wausau. I told him too that I didn’t know much about Linkedin.
But those encounters with Jimmy, Bob and Joe started me thinking. I went back to my career groups and started watching for information about LinkedIn. I reviewed my LinkedIn profile and revised it
In the dialogues that were coming out then on the e-lists, I noted that Jason Alba seemed to have the most information about what LinkedIn was all about. I started talking with Jason by e-mail and he talked back to me! This always amazes me when people go out of their way to talk to me. Jason is also the founder of JibberJobber.com which is a career management tool that helps you keep track of your job searches.
I learned that Jason had authored the book, “I’m on LinkedIn, Now What?” and decided that I would order the e-book and check it out. As I said, I’m not afraid of new software and I am pretty intuitive and have taught myself many different software applications. Jason’s book gave me all kinds of tips in very easy to understand terms. I had a lot of it right and he confirmed that but he also taught me many other aspects of LinkedIn that I hadn’t yet figured out. Jason gives you a great concept of both what LinkedIn is and what it isn’t. He’s just developed the second edition of I’m on LinkedIn, Now What which reflects Jason’s own growth in knowledge of networking, technologies in social networking, and LinkedIn itself.
Since I bought the first edition, I have been recommending Jason’s book to my clients, my own LinkedIn network, and to others I meet who want to learn more about LinkedIn.
If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, I would highly recommend it as a way to promote yourself professionally whether or not you are on a job search right now. If you have a profile but were confused as to how to use LinkedIn, you should buy the book so that you don’t do what I did and sit up there without any friends for a year plus. If your profile doesn’t say what you would like it to say, contact me and that’s another service I provide as part of Design Resumes. In this economic climate, we all need to be proactive and make sure that we are using every tool possible.
You can now also find me on Twitter (another social network) @JulieWalraven