Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Are you LinkedIn?

LinkedIn's missing link
In his succinct book, Jason Alba teaches readers how to navigate through the popular online networking site.

BY RICHARD PACHTER
published in The Miami Herald on 1/14/08

I'm on LinkedIn — Now What??? A Guide to Getting the Most out of LinkedIn. Jason Alba. Happy About. 124 pages
.

A few years ago I began receiving e-mail from people I knew, people I barely knew and people I didn't know at all, asking me to become their ''friend'' or join one of various social networks. I even got one such ''invitation'' from the unreceptive receptionist at a former workplace who barely spoke to me!

I ignored them all, mainly because a while back, I received a profusion of requests from a variety of acquaintances to update my personal information through a website that I later learned used it for its own nefarious marketing purposes. Not me. No thanks. Include me out.

In fact, I'd managed to avoid the whole online social networking thing, which is fine, because I am probably well out of their target demographic. I did get onto MySpace to check out some of the music-related things, but their interface is awful, and I kept getting spammed in the name of a guy I used to go to junior high school with. Urgh! (In the interest of full disclosure, this summer I became an editor and content provider for Moli.com, a site that combines networking with other functions.)

Several months ago, as I sought new employment opportunities, I was urged by various people whose advice I respected to take a look at LinkedIn, a business networking website. My only knowledge of it had come through those annoying invitations. But signing up was easy enough, so I did it.

Then I picked up a copy of this little book, and though I haven't fully implemented his advice, author Alba does a fine job of explaining how to use the site and the services it provides as a facilitator for networking among existing contacts and beyond.

Taking the perspective of a job seeker rather than an expert or company representative, he takes readers through each step of building a profile and reaching out to others, explaining things clearly and in a ''what's in it for me?'' (or ''why bother?'') manner, which I appreciate.

Alba emphasizes that LinkedIn is, essentially, only as good as you make it, so you are obligated to complete your profile and include as much information as possible.

This is where I get a little nervous, even though anyone who can spell my name (or yours) correctly and knows how to search on Google can uncover plenty of data. And private information is easily obtainable through various public and private databases, too. But in order to leverage LinkedIn's networking capabilities, you have to get over these inhibitions.

Though this book provides a very good introduction to LinkedIn, it is, Alba admits, not comprehensive. But it's still worthwhile and quite useful. In addition, he also touches on other networking options, but the definitive book on the subject seems not to have been written — yet.

I see that the publishers of the Idiots and Dummies series haven't yet glommed onto the LinkedIn phenomenon, but they will be there soon enough. A quick check revealed that the Dummies people have a LinkedIn book scheduled for June publication. Can the Idiots be far behind?

1 comment:

CareerPRO Resume Center said...

I've found Linkedin to be very helpful in all phases of business and job search. As a resume writer, I refer it to my clients to give them an edge in the market.

I have yet to hear of anyone having a problem privacy issue with using this networking site.

Donna Tucker
CareerPRO Resume Center
Phoenix, Arizona