The LinkedInstitute blog is designed to help you understand how to use LinkedIn to grow in your career or grow your business. With that in mind, we’ll be featuring LinkedIn Success Stories–those who have seen real-world results from their LinkedInvestment. First up: Blake Parton, Brand Manager at Summit Brands.
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.