One of my friends told me the other day that he felt bad because he did not want to become his boss’ “friend” on Facebook. He did not want his boss to be able to read his status updates about what he ate for breakfast, how trashed he got the night before, or how much he hated his job. I told him that there was no reason to be friends with your boss on Facebook. That is what professional sites such as LinkedIn should be used for instead. And, he then proceeded to ask me what in the world LinkedIn was. Wow! Really? In this day and age someone who is between the ages of twenty and forty does not know what LinkedIn is? Everyone who is a professional needs a professional profile to start your personal brand and marketing yourself as an expert in your field. You need two social media profiles today in order to maintain a healthy and safe balance between your professional work life and your social personal one.
How to maintain a healthy social media balance….
Two Profiles. Let’s face it, Facebook is for you to reconnect with people from high school, old college classmates, and your friends. You should not be focusing your professional business network connections on Facebook. You do not want your boss or your boss’ boss or even a potential client to see photos of your drunken weekend in Las Vegas. You need to maintain strict privacy settings on accounts that show debauchery or not have them on the internet at all. Whether you like it or not, people are Googling your name. The subordinates are Googling your name. The HR director you interview with has searched for you on the internet. And, your Facebook profile is one of the first things to come up. You should not friend your boss on Facebook. You should invite him or her to connect with you on LinkedIn where you can keep the relationship professional and career focused.
What Is LinkedIn? LinkedIn is a lot like Facebook but geared specifically towards your professional life. You should think of LinkedIn as your resume on steroids. I can hear you already, “Why do I need a resume online? I’m not looking for a new job.” But, don’t think of the site just as a resume. It is more than just that. It is a networking tool. You need to set up your professional network now before you need it. Over 70 million people connect with each other through LinkedIn. LinkedIn helps connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful. When you join the site, you create a profile like you would anywhere else, but this one contains your current and past job data, education, expertise, accomplishments, etc. Through LinkedIn you can find potential clients, follow groups in your industry, join discussions about professional topics that interest you, collaborate on projects, be found for new business opportunities or a potential new job, and many other uses.
Why Does It Matter? On recent study found that approximately 40% of all new hiring of managerial positions in Fortune 500 companies are going to come from connections made or initiated through social media outlets. That is thousands of jobs that people are going to hear about and initially talk to the Human Resource department via new media sites on the internet. Let me be the first to tell you, that I’m not talking about these job prospects coming from Twitter, Facebook, or even Monster.com. These job leads are going to come from LinkedIn. Also, if you want to succeed in your career, you need to be viewed as an expert. You need to be one of the smartest professionals in your chosen career in your little corner of the world or internet.
If you do not have a LinkedIn account, you are already behind the power curve. You need to get one today. It is not too late. Whether you are actively looking for a new job or not, LinkedIn is the premier professional social media site that will help you build your professional network and get your name and brand out there. Now is the time to lay the foundation, to lay the groundwork for your next job, your next project, or your next opportunity.