Today’s post is brought to you by the word: vinculum [ving-kyuh-luhm] /ˈvɪŋkjʊləm/
n , pl –la
- a horizontal line drawn above a group of mathematical terms, used as an alternative to parentheses in mathematical expressions, as in x+ y — z which is equivalent to x + ( y — z ).
a. any bandlike structure, esp one uniting two or more parts
b. another name for ligament.
3. rare a unifying bond; tie
Want to know more about using social media for professional information and collaboration? See the top right sidebar for links to the entire blog series —->
Today I have another great guest blog post from Mary Huston. I am signed up with LinkedIn, but as I said in my first post about using social media to develop a PLN, I don’t really use it; certainly not to it’s full potential. Mary has been using Linked In for longer than me and with more purpose, so without further ado, I hand this blog over to Mary.
What exactly is LinkedIn? The short answer is LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking site. Try to imagine Facebook with a business slant instead of purely social. Professional networking allows individuals to exchange knowledge and ideas in a variety of ways. You can check out a short video of LinkedIn here: http://learn.linkedin.com/what-is-linkedin/
At a bare minimum, LinkedIn is a way to build a professional profile with your resume, job experiences, and interests. It’s also a way to keep in touch with colleagues, professors, and other experts in your field, even if they aren’t likely to connect with you via social networking sites. Because it’s a professional networking site, your LinkedIn profile may lead you to career opportunities and may also lead headhunters to offer you that dream position.
When I first joined LinkedIn, well over a year ago, I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do. It looked like a place to post a resume, connect with a few people, but it didn’t really DO anything. Recently, I found out that there truly was a lot more to LinkedIn than I was giving it credit for. Not only was it place to post a resume, but it was a place to connect with other individuals, share information, and collaborate.
One way to collaborate and share information is to join groups. For instance, I belong to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association; Speech, Language and Hearing Professionals; and Technology for Speech and Language Pathologists groups. Within those groups, there are discussions, questions posted and answered, and surveys. One nice feature is the ability to have LinkedIn send a digest of posts to your email so you aren’t inundated with different posts, but you’re still up-to-date with the information.
One feature of LinkedIn that I like, although others may not, is the suggestions of other groups I may want to follow. LinkedIn takes my interests and my current groups and suggests other groups. I like this because I don’t have to search for groups; although, I do have the opportunity to search using keywords. Similarly, LinkedIn will suggest individuals I may know based on my connections (friends of friends). There are also jobs listings provided.
Everything on LinkedIn is linked to your profile and your connections. In order to complete your profile, it’s suggested that you have friends write recommendations for you. These recommendations show up in your profile. Recommendations are a great way of showing perspective employers and connections the information in your profile is accurate and really sell yourself, which after all, you want to do if you want that dream job.
LinkedIn has many settings which allow you to customize it to suit your needs. Depending on your account settings, you can send email to people on and off your contact list, request to follow people, and send your profile directly to connections and companies. There appear to be four account types ranging in price from Free (which is always good) and increasing in price to $99.95/month. The account type dictates how many emails you can send and how many results you get in a search. For me, the free account works just fine, but if I were truly searching for a position or building a professional network, I would explore investing in one of the others.
All in all, if you’re looking for the next best Facebook or My Space…LinkedIn probably isn’t it. However, if you’re looking for a professional site where you can connect with professionals and build your network, it’s a great place to visit.
In other posts, I plan to discuss more of the details of LinkedIn, such as designing your profile and finding groups you may be interested in joining.
Mary Huston is a speech-language pathologist who works in a school in North Dakota. You can find her on LinkedIn and also on Twitter as @mtMarySLP.