Hi, Blake. I understand that you found your current job through LinkedIn. Can you explain how that happened?
I was an early adopter to LinkedIn (I believe I may have had an profile prior to one on Facebook). I worked hard to make sure my profile was 100% complete (All-Star).
I continually update and request connections monthly. So, when the time came that I found myself in a job search after leaving Maxell, I sent messages to many contacts on my availability expressing my desire to return to the Midwest from the east coast. Among the responders was Bri Barber, whom I had meant in passing while at a seminar in New York city. She informed me of a colleague (Bob Van Rossum) who was attempting to fill a Assistant Brand Manager role in Fort Wayne, Indiana. After my hire in Fort Wayne, my VP told me that my extensive profile with multiple recommendations was a major contributor to being invited for an interview. So, LinkedIn didn’t just help me locate the position but in a sense got me in the door.
How do you use LinkedIn in your current job?
I manage my LinkedIn account ( I believe in a unique way, probably not). I have 393 connection all tagged in some manner.
Acquaintances (61) – these are people I have met in a professional setting (seminars, luncheons etc.). I have not done business with them but understand what they do and have had at least 1 face to face conversation. It also helps that most of them are considered by me to be an expert at something.
Each of the companies I have worked for has a listing – Maxell (70), Summit Brands (26), P&G (54). These are all colleagues or former co-workers
Current Agents & Vendors (34) – These are all people I am currently doing some sort of business with through Summit Brands. Co-packers, Agencies, Sales Reps, Packaging Engineers, etc.
YLNI (63) – Members of Young Leaders of Northern Indiana, all people I have meant in Leadership Institute, View From the Top, or Hotspots.
Friends & Family (43) – These are people I am connected with in a very personal way either by blood or through long lasting friendships.
Recruiters (42) – I consider this the lifeblood of LinkedIn, far better than monster.com or any other job website. I have spoken to each of them over my 14 year career. When they call or send an email with an opportunity, even if it does not fit my needs, I attempt to play match maker with another party. Knowing that if I help them, they will be sure to contact me when my desired position becomes a reality.
That being said I log in once a day and review postings by recruiters, find excellent articles that have been posted by my Acquaintances/Experts (i.e. I just saw Joel Book post a article on how Ebags used Facebook + Exact Target to improve sales through 300K emails). I use Facebook and Exact Target in my business and plan to give it a good read.
I have yet to consider myself an expert at anything so I rarely post, with the exception of an occasional “excited to be at the CES Show” or a re-post of an excellent article.
My wife has always joked that LinkedIn is like the Microsoft of social media where Facebook is Apple. One is good for business/spreadsheets; the other is hip/trendy and better at visuals.
If you could tell someone ONE reason why LinkedIn is worthwhile, what would you say?
It places your professional identity/personal brand out among key contacts, decision makers and other professionals in your industry of your choosing.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I keep to a strict philosophy that LinkedIn does not have anything to do with my social or personal life. It is business avenue and professional tool. I have not had a negative experience, in fact I have had very positive results from its format and my management of it.