A few months ago, an entrepreneur confided to me that he didn’t “get” LinkedIn. Yes, he had a profile (basically a copy of his résumé) and the beginnings of a network. But he didn’t know what he was supposed to do with it, or how LinkedIn could help him. I was surprised, because he has the largest Rolodex I’ve ever seen — more than 4,000 contacts.
It turned out that he wasn’t the only one. I asked around and discovered that many of my real-world friends and colleagues either didn’t have a profile, or just filled in the basics and left it dead in the water. Like the entrepreneur, they had hundreds or even thousands of career contacts in the real world, but hadn’t made the jump to online career networking. “What’s the point?” they asked. “How can it benefit me?”
If you’re nodding your head as you read this, then you need to get LinkedIn In 30 Minutes, by author Melanie Pinola. It’s a LinkedIn user guide that targets people who are new to the career networking service, as well as people who have rudimentary profiles in need of a serious makeover. It not only explains why LinkedIn is so important, it also shows how to use it, using examples, screenshots, and step-by-step explanations delivered in plain English. LinkedIn In 30 Minutes is available for purchase in a half-dozen formats, including paperback, a Kindle edition, the iPad version, and even a PDF. The official product website also contains some basic resources for people new to LinkedIn (“What is LinkedIn?“) and a growing library of bonus resources about LinkedIn.
The author, Melanie Pinola, knows her stuff. Not only has she written about LinkedIn for Lifehacker, she has also experienced LinkedIn as many people do — she started with a basic profile, but didn’t really appreciate the value of the career network at first. She describes her early experience in Chapter 4:
I have a confession to make. Once upon a time, I was a lackluster LinkedIn member. My profile was basically a duplicate of my résumé. I rarely interacted with other members. I didn’t join any groups.
In other words, I was like many people who are “on” LinkedIn but not seriously using it because the site is seen as more of a job-searching tool.
After learning about all the ways LinkedIn can help professionals in all stages of their careers, I wish I had been using LinkedIn more effectively from the very beginning.
For one thing, just having an updated profile and being active on the network makes you a more attractive employee or career professional. It’s like wearing a badge that says “Yes, I care about my career and what I do (and I’m poachable!).”
Also, I think we’ve all realized by now that no job lasts forever. It’s better to be ahead of the curve by being active on LinkedIn and cultivating relationships before you need it to find a job.
There’s more. LinkedIn is also a gold mine of information about people, companies, and industries. It’s growing increasingly more valuable as a career enhancer, with more tools and features being regularly added to the network.
Melanie’s insights deliver huge value to anyone getting started with LinkedIn. For a small investment of time and money (it costs less than a pizza!), LinkedIn In 30 Minutes will help you create a rock-solid online career presence. Check out the contents of the guide here, and then buy it here. You won’t regret it.