LinkedIn: In the Know

By Risa Pesapane

After attending LinkedIn Live in Blacksburg, Virginia, I learned a lot about some basic new features of LinkedIn beyond résumé posting. Perhaps I was living in the LinkedIn dark ages and this information is not new to others, but for those in the dark with me, here's light on the subject:

  • LinkedIn now has an active homepage with a newsfeed much like that on Facebook. As the world’s largest professional network on the internet with more than 225 million members, LinkedIn wants to be your go-to professional social network. The site can be used to share professional content contacts, find new connections, and gain exposure for future employment.
  • Businesses can now have LinkedIn profiles. That’s not a new idea, but using them to build a business might be. A business can attract “followers” who are potential customers, partners, collaborators, and even employees. By regularly posting content to a LinkedIn page, businesses can remain active on the newsfeeds of followers, thus promoting awareness of the company’s industry knowledge. LinkedIn can make businesses easier to find through Google searches, too, and high-profile connections can speak favorably of a business.  Essentially, LinkedIn can provide three assets for a business: Branding, Networking, and Finding Talent.
  • For individuals, LinkedIn is no longer just a résumé posting board. Many business leaders now say that they not only use LinkedIn for recruiting talent, but the quality of the LinkedIn profile can dictate whether or not they grant interviews.   Employers can immediately verify a résumé based on LinkedIn content, contact previous employers or references, and determine how professionally active a candidate is in the industry. 

Risa Pesapane on LinkedIn

Here are my takeaways from LinkedIn Live for all LinkedIn users.

  • Keep a vibrant, up-to-date profile. It’s important to have an active presence on LinkedIn demonstrating your professional accomplishments and industry knowledge.
  • Don’t mix business with pleasure. LinkedIn is a professional network and it’s important to keep that separate from your personal social network on Facebook. Post the office antics on the Facebook page and the press releases on the LinkedIn page.
  • Have a photo. Every profile should have an engaging profile photo. For a business, this helps brand your company image. For an individual, this quite literally “puts a face to a profile” making it easier to identify with you as a person with unique qualities. In the world of e-applications, this is about the best opportunity you have to humanize your résumé to leverage an interview.
  • Make connections. If someone visits your profile and sees very few connections out of a network of a 225 million-user network then it shows that you are not interested in networking and potentially expanding your opportunities for business or collaboration.

 A cautionary note about LinkedIn is the use of endorsements. “Endorsing” someone’s skills is meant to show their proficiency. As LinkedIn grows as a social network though, endorsements are quickly becoming a “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” kind of activity. How do you get more endorsements? Well, you visit your connections and endorse them with anticipation that they’ll return the favor. With all this freedom to endorse, it seems the purpose quickly loses meaning. Just because I met you in the coffee shop and connected with you on LinkedIn does not mean you can vouch for my abilities in a startup company!

Risa Pesapane is a the Project Director for environmental startup company Rural System, Inc.

See LinkedIn's slides from LinkedIn live on Slideshare.

Rural System, Inc. is a client of Handshake Media, Incorporated, the parent company of Handshake 2.0.

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