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When I first started receiving requests to join people's network on LinkedIn, I simply ignored them and thought is was another MySpace wannabe.

But now I'm starting to see people on LinkedIn that I'm somewhat surprised to see there.

So I'm beginning to wonder, is this simply another social network, or is this is a valuable networking tool?

pmoriarty's picture

It's more a business networking site than a social networking site. Like with any other network, what you get out of it is largely a function of what you put into it.

PattiBarcroft's picture

I have felt the same was as jclishe and have been very reluctant to participate - I get enough spam and tend to protect my data where ever possible. So, I don't want my information floating "out there". The invitations tend to come in blind with little or no context. When I've inquired about this to the sending party I haven't gotten any replies. I have checked the web site - I've not really been sold on participating.

If what I get out of it is proportional to what I put into it - would you please expound upon what one would "put into it?"

Thanks,
Patti

rwwh's picture

I actuallly have been sold on LinkedIn. It is really fun to see some information on friends of your friends and ex-colleagues of your current colleagues. And potentially very useful to ask them to introduce you to these people.

Your information will only float to the people in "your network". Random people from the 11 million in LinkedIn will not be able to see your E-mail address. And you can configure what events on LinkedIn get sent to your E-mailbox. For other events you need to check the web site.

There are some people that are trying to "hub" all of LinkedIn. They have thousands of connections and can therefore connect anyone to anyone. They will accept any connection request. However, I consider connections to those people as useless: you will never seriously be able to ask them to introduce you to another of their connections.

What you can put into it is mainly selecting the people you want to connect with, and then write them a "recommendation". And ask your connections to write recommendations for you. Recommendations will make you more visible in the system. Not only because the software will make you more visible if you have them.

wendii's picture

G'day world did an interesting podcast with Stan Relihan, an Australia with 5000 connections who's convinced that linked in is great for everyone. I don't think he's entirely convincing, but at the end, Cameron gives him a challenge - get me a top guest for my show. The result was Vint Cerf, a founding 'father' of the internet, and chief internet evangalist at google. Can't argue with that!

Apparently Stan is going to start doing a regular show, but it's not up yet.

**G'day world is my other must listen show, but it's not always clean &/or politically correct.

http://gdayworld.thepodcastnetwork.com/2007/03/28/gday-world-219-using-l...

Wendii

DWElwell's picture

I have been using LinkedIn for some time. A few observations

1) Volume counts - just as in the podcast on building your network, you will get more out of linked in if you add a lot of folks to. They have a tool which will parse your address book and find all the LI members, so it's pretty easy.

2) It works best if you know the people you add to your network. I never accept an invite if I don't know the person, even if they work in the same company, go to the same school, or what ever.

3) Agree with the comment about recommendations....

garyslinger's picture

[quote="PattiBarcroft"]I have felt the same was as jclishe and have been very reluctant to participate - I get enough spam and tend to protect my data where ever possible. So, I don't want my information floating "out there". The invitations tend to come in blind with little or no context. When I've inquired about this to the sending party I haven't gotten any replies. I have checked the web site - I've not really been sold on participating.

If what I get out of it is proportional to what I put into it - would you please expound upon what one would "put into it?"

Thanks,
Patti[/quote]

For what it's worth, I've never had a single piece of spam come through that I could backtrace to LinkedIn, nor any unwelcome contacts. You have control over the amount of information you release, and LinkedIn has a policy where if someone is sending out invitations, and received 5 (I think) rejections of "I don't know this person", their account is limited automatically.

PattiBarcroft's picture

garyslinger,
Thanks for the info. I'll check it out.
Patti

attmonk's picture

I got on this, anyone want to "link" ?

jprlopez's picture

Before joining Manager Tools, I have been very negligent in doing my CTRL-SHIFT-K.

While I'm happy not to have burned bridges over time, most of the bridges got run down due to neglect.

Linked In is a good way for me to rebuild those bridges in a not so intrusive way.

karaikudy's picture

I joined linkedin being bit skeptical at first. But started seeing value. Was able to dig deep and make contacts with old colleagues whom I lost contact.

Also this is good forum to pose questions and answers I get are very helpful. Of course, you have the right to refuse connection. There is also Linked in Blog which is useful.

The connection tab in your 1st contact helps you to see whom you might know some one in common. Sometimes the names you see, helps to recollect people whom you know and lost track thus reestablishing contact. I reestablished contact this way about 10 people.

Overall pretty useful then just other social/ dating tool. Of course, it is up to you to be how open/ transparent you want to be as well as to reach out.

There are job tab too. Also recruiters can see your detailed profile. (Its all up to you to give yourself the exposure).

My view, its a great tool for dominant [b]I and S.[/b]

Regards
Karthik

dhkramer's picture

There was an article in the WSJ this week about recruiters contacting your linkees (?) for references without permission.

There were a few advantages listed, but ygr main risk is your current employer finding out about your job search.

d

mauzenne's picture

Folks,

Due to popular demand (thanks, Paul!), I've created a Manager Tools Group in LinkedIn. You can go here to sign-up: www.linkedin.com/e/gis/31013/7232922390E5

I have absolutely NO clue as to how valuable it will be for the community, but we're willing to give it a go. Let us know what you think!

Mike

juliahhavener's picture

I'm willing to take that leap!

stephenbooth_uk's picture

I signed up. Hopefully it will attract more people to M-T.

Thanks for setting it up.

Stephen

RichRuh's picture

I'm in as well.

--Rich

everonward's picture

I signed up too.

I recall that a reference from LinkedIn is what caused me to find Manager Tools. Someone had a Q&A response on the LinkedIn forum, I followed it, and found this treasure.

WillDuke's picture

Hey, let's see if I can make my dead LinkedIn account do anything at all. :) I joined.

tlhausmann's picture

[quote="WillDuke"]Hey, let's see if I can make my dead LinkedIn account do anything at all. :) I joined.[/quote]

After an evening of poking around with LinkedIn and the new Manager Tools group of LinkedIn...it appears we have an additional opportunity to learn more about one another.

I have been reluctant to associate specific work cases in these public forums, and will continue to be somewhat circumspect. Nevertheless, for those who elect to join the LinkedIn group we can network even more!

tlhausmann

Bamsematt's picture

I use LinkedIn quite a lot. I have helped people in my network get new business, new job inquires and to reconnect with old friends and colleagues. Using the tools they provide can be very effective.

Since I joined in May 2005, I have received about ten job offers. All of them very serious and fitting my profile. I am starting a new job on Monday because my new CEO found me on LinkedIn.

When I was running my own small consulting business I got business offers just from being on LinkedIn. I also had a link to my own web.

I never, never, ever accept an invitation from somebody I have never met. If I get an invitation from somebody I feel I do not have a quality business relationship or friendship with I see to that I get it fast. If I don’t like what I find, I simply discard the contact. I want to have a high quality network.

I have never received spam.

Perhaps what I don’t like is that my resume is visible to way too many people.

Hope this helps.

stephenbooth_uk's picture

Members in the UK who use LinkedIn may be interested to know that LinkedIn are organising meet ups in the UK next week where users can meet each other and LinkedIn staff. Details here: [url=http://www.linkedin.com/answers/using-linkedIn/ULI/112030-39979?browseId...

I'll hopefully be at the Birmingham one on Thursday 18th.

Stephen

US41's picture

I think socializing on the Internet is easy and can add some value, but I think people make a mistake when they think that they are networking on these social connection web sites.

eagerApprentice's picture

Thats funny - one of my friends mentioned Linkedin to me today - I signed up for it awhile ago but forgot about it pretty quick - if there is a MT section, it might be worth reviving again~

Also, some of you guys have some great stories about it - thats another reason that is good enough for me.

arc1's picture

I'm fairly neutral on LinkedIn - did use it for 18 months, ended up deleting my account.

Agree with the positives which people have mentioned, so just wanted to mention some negatives. Main cons for me were that:

- It creates social awkwardness
- It is often out of date
- It can be a distracting time sink

While I was registered on LinkedIn, I extended my network, I linked to people, and I began finding ex-colleagues. But I didn't receive or send messages of any kind other than requests to "link up". Granted this may simply be a case of low input = low output (per earlier poster), but I was also seeing trends I really disliked:

[b]1. Social awkwardness.[/b] Invariably on LinkedIn, you're going to receive unwelcome requests to "link up". The MT cast on networking has made me re-evaluate this thought a little, but I still have great reservations about being [b]publicly[/b] networked to someone I would not actually recommend. All of us work with a mix of great and not-so-great people; any or all of them may want to link to you.

And here's the catch - how does one reject a LinkedIn request? Put any spin around it, be as polite as you like, it's still a rejection and the person may take the message as "I don't want to be publicly associated with you". Far easier (in my view) to politely manage your level of connection with a person via conversations and other less structured channels.

(Anecdote - a friend of mine was once confronted at a social event by a person wanting to know why she hadn't accepted a "Facebook" invitation... now there's a cringe-worthy social moment).

Nb. Analogy would be Mark's point in the "thank you notes" cast - the problem with LinkedIn is that the request itself creates an obligation on the recipient, and they may find that really find irritating.

[b]2. Currency issues.[/b] For a long time, one of my colleagues was sitting in the LinkedIn network, connected to a number of people, long after he had passed away. I'd not be surprised if his estate is still receiving random requests to "Connect to me on LinkedIn". (And that's me being slightly whimsical about a situation that was simply not funny).

[b]3. Time sink. [/b] It is very easy to be drawn into spending heaps of time checking LinkedIn, grooming your profile, inspecting people's connections, admiring the size of your network, searching, and just generally mucking around. This may reflect more on me than LinkedIn, but it strikes me as a common feature of all such sites - their primary purpose (for most subscribers) is to [i]feel[/i] more connected, not [i]be[/i] more connected. Often the time being put into the site is time you aren't spending connecting with people in a more meaningful fashion.

Conclusion? It's a tool, so you get out what you put in. Clearly it has some great possibilities if people are finding employment opportunities through it, but personally, I found it an awkward and artificial substitute for more personal contact. And I'm pleased I cancelled my subscription.

gchila's picture

This is my first post since becoming a MT member a few months back.

It looks like linkedin may be another useful tool for MT managers. I've requested addition to the MT group and will explore how to best utilize this new tool.

Thanks for creating the group!

Bamsematt's picture

Adding to my post above.

The quality of my network should be high. Also I either know the person quite well or have a professional relation with the person. This in order to be able to know who I can recommend to anyone who wants this person's services, who can give me qualified advise, or if that person will recommend me to someone he/she places trust in.

Of course I have people in my network that I know little but then I am working towards knowing this person better.
Also - Using Linkedin as a tool to get new businesses is great. The same applies here though - I only add the person after getting to know the new contact some.

I would never use Linkedin to get as high "score" on the number of contacts as possible. How people can have an active and high quality network with +500 people I don't understand. Perhaps I simply choose to prioritize differently.

This is why I turn down requests from MT-members who I don't know. Perhaps strange to some and I respect that. This is just the way I try to keep an active and high quality network.

BR,
Bjorn

johnsonwarren's picture

I've found LinkedIn to be an interesting career tool without significant downsides.

It is certainly becoming very popular and has recently started an "Answers" which is helpful (although not quite as good as the late, great Google Answers site). I would agre with others that a manager will want to apply prudence to what they post and the invitations they accept. Overall, LinkedIn promises to offer networking opportunities that were once limited to business club meetings or annual conferrences. Another benefit is that being listed on LinkedIn shows that you are comfortable with current technology and somewhat web savvy. Taken together, there are good reasons to investigate LinkedIn for yourself, especially if you find other managers that you respect in your industry or your organization are already "LinkedIn."

Some time ago, I wrote a blog post about LinkedIn which might be of further interest:

[url=http://unsolicitedmarketingadvice.blogspot.com/2007/03/using-linkedincom... LinkedIn.com for Professional and Career Development[/url]

tplummer's picture

I think that Linked In will not help you at all today. But it could help you a lot tomorrow. Linking with current colleagues today that you know and respect may reap great benefits to you 5 years from now when you're all at different positions and companies. You never know when your network will pay off for you or by helping someone else.

huntbk's picture

I am a LinkedIn member, and haven't used it professionally...yet. I have been able to connect to a lot of previous co-workers who would actually be good references, or they possibly hook me up with someone I might want to hire.

RobV's picture

I see a lot of people spending an awful lot of time in LinkedIn with no apparent return on this time investment.

I'm not a recruiter so I wonder; Do recruiters use sites like LinkedIn as a tool to asses an applicant or track down candidates?

If there's a definite 'no', then it seems to me that there's no use in investing in LinkedIn, if you're in it for getting new opportunities and offers. Which, most people are, because other sites offer social networking as well, if not better then LinkedIn does.

rwwh's picture

[quote="RobV"]If there's a definite 'no', then it seems to me that there's no use in investing in LinkedIn, if you're in it for getting new opportunities and offers.[/quote]

LinkedIn has a lot more "professional" aspects than many other network building sites. Apparently you make the assumption that people will only invest in LinkedIn to "get". Investing in a network should be done with the primary goal of giving.

davidleeheyman's picture

[quote="RobV"]I see a lot of people spending an awful lot of time in LinkedIn with no apparent return on this time investment.[/quote]

Can you clarify what you see as the ROI on the time invested in LinkedIn? For me it helps me to watch the career progress and relationship development of partners, customers and prospects. It also helps me to keep track of where various old colleagues are working these days.

[quote="RobV"]I'm not a recruiter so I wonder; Do recruiters use sites like LinkedIn as a tool to asses an applicant or track down candidates?[/quote]

Yes, recruiters use LinkedIn to approach candidates.

[quote="RobV"]If there's a definite 'no', then it seems to me that there's no use in investing in LinkedIn, if you're in it for getting new opportunities and offers. Which, most people are, because other sites offer social networking as well, if not better then LinkedIn does.[/quote]

I don't use LinkedIn to get new opportunities and offers for myself. Recently I reconnected though LinkedIn with two former colleagues who I lost contact with many years ago. They both now live several thousand miles away. I then used LinkedIn to connect one with someone who is working on a startup in similar a similar space as I think they would benefit from knowing one another. As for the second, I was able to steer him in the direction of an open position being offered by another connection.

rjholohan's picture

The most valuable tool for Linked-in users, in my opinion, is the ability to post and answer questions, much like a discussion forum but for some reason I find a lot more contributors when I post a management question in Linked-In. I have found some great resources on project management topics through those answering my questions.

Ron

gwhizkids's picture

Found this relatively old thread and thought I'd post my own concerns about LinkedIn.  My number one concern is that my employer will "see" me and assume (perhaps correctly ; - )  )  that I am looking for a new position.  This fear increases exponentially if I were to post my resume on the site.  Can anyone address whether my fears are well founded?

 

MsSunshine's picture

A person in my HR department recently told me in a conversation about another topic that one of my directs was having a lot more activity than usual on LinkedIn.  She asked if I thought he was looking for another job.  Now, I'd given him feedback to the point of getting a verbal warning - and she knew about the situation.  So, I said I didn't know but it was possible.  The fact is that if he leaves he leaves.

Later this gave me a lot of pause.  She is overseeing hundreds of employees.  AND she has the time/ability to see that one person has stepped up their LinkedIn activity!  I guessed that maybe he linked to her or someone that is getting the update emails from him.  I personally don't pay attention to them.  But others could use that to assess your activity.

Definitely a big brother is watching feeling....

davidleeheyman's picture

I definitely keep track of the updates of people in my network. This includes colleagues and yes direct reports and my bosses. While increased activity by a direct could mean they are looking for something, I'd like to think that I have a strong enough relationship with them that I'd already know they are looking for something before I saw the activity.

 

In the past year LinkedIn has been instrumental in helping my company hire at least two individuals. One individual noticed something in my LinkedIn profile that matches well with one of her skills. She turned to me and asked if we were hiring for any positions which required that skill. We weren't hiring with an eye for that skill but it turned out there was a position in the company for which she was a credible candidate. After our company's typical comprehensive hiring process she was made an offer and has been working for us for nearly a year.

 

The second individual is a direct report of mine. When I needed to fill a new position I used a free job credit to post the job on LinkedIn. We also had a recruiting firm working on the position. The recruiter brought 10 resumes and 71 resumes were sent through LinkedIn. About half of the LinkedIn resumes were not relavent either because people were applying without regard for the job description or weren't in the right location. I ended up with 3 phone interviews from the recruiter's resumes and 8 from the LinkedIn resumes. Of the 3 resulting face to face interviews, 2 were from the recruiter's resumes. The woman that eventually was hired was one of the LinkedIn resumes. She had applied while relocating herself to the area where the position would be based. Within 3 days of landing she had her interview and 4 days later had an offer. The recruiter would never have uncovered her.

 

We subsequently tried to recruit a different position through LinkedIn. This time the VP HR decided to post the job through her LinkedIn profile rather than have the hiring manager post using her profile. Very few resumes came in. I suspect that the reason my position had so many resumes and the second position had so few is that I have a large LinkedIn network in the target geography who work in the same general field. The VP HR has no LinkedIn network at all in the geography and is more likely to have a network of other HR professional than a network of people in the line of work of our company.

 

I'm still very positive on LinkedIn.

jhbchina's picture

Over the years LinkedIN has added more value to the web site.

The group forums are great locations to learn about what is happening in your industry. You can get "in the trenches" reports about what people are doing and how they are solving problems.

You can meet other MT'er's there and build your bench or be on a bench :-).

The "What are you reading" and book list is awesome to show how you proactively manager your career development. I am reading a book related to Marketing Management in China that was recommended by a contact.

I helped one contact ace two interviews, she got two job offers, which led to a recommendation of my services.

The slideware presentations let me learn new things about all kinds of topics.

Overall linkedIN is a solid platform if you learn how to use it for what you want. Just like Manager Tools, which I recommend to other LinkedIN contacts and users in LinkedIN forums when it is appropriate to the discussion. :-)

JHB

"00"

PaulM's picture

I'm in the camp that was introduced by a friend to LinkedIn in January and hadn't used it until my boss added me in July. At that time I clued in that LinkedIn was more than a typical networking site, because he had a quality network that was well developed with key individuals in our company and profession.  I then proceeded to add people I knew and am at 55 connections or so. 

 

I'm concerned that LinkedIn doesn't seem to help people STAY connected to their network. 90% of the messages I've sent on LinkedIn are to add people. The person above that mentioned that LI could help you get connected but not help you keep connected was absolutely right. 

 

As an HR Professional, considering the growing number of companies adopting the policy of no corporate references, I have a concern that recommendations on LinkedIn may be considered by recruiters as professional references and that this may open us up to some liability risk that is unnecessary. The comment above that recruiters could be contacting LinkedIn contacts of their candidate to solicit a recommendation without the candidate's knowledge alarms me greatly.

 

I also joined the MT group, but have yet to use it. Perhaps I'll take a look at the members that are LinkedIn and add a few.  But then, I'm not sure what I'd actually DO with those contacts!  :)

 

I do find it a time suck. I'm catching myself "admiring my network" at times, and do like that feature where you can see who has looked at your profile in the last week. 

 

I'll keep it up, but I'm not terribly excited about it's prospects.

jhbchina's picture

LinkedIN keeps you updated - YOU have to do the work to stay connected. It does not know what you are doing and why yet :-)

>>I'm concerned that LinkedIn doesn't seem to help people STAY connected to their network. 90% of the messages I've sent on LinkedIn are to add people.<<

If you are sending out messages to add then that is all you will get.

If people use many of the apps in LinkedIN - such as "Reading List" Events" and others you can learn many things.

Example - LinkedIN informed me that a connection just reviewed a book on how to do marketing in China. I bought the book, started reading and I used this as stimulus to contact the connection and say thanks for alerting me to the book, how are you doing? and other things.

When you see a connection has presented at an event you can send a note asking how it went, was it valuable.

When you see a connection join a group, you too can the join the group, or you can ask the person if they have found the group valuable.

One discussion in one of the China groups was related to the NY Times article related to foreigners coming to China to find work. Many group members agreed that the Times story had many holes and was not realistic. Only people in China can tell you if it is easy. And it's not, I'm here, I know.

>>I do find it a time suck. I'm catching myself "admiring my network" at times, and do like that feature where you can see who has looked at your profile in the last week<<

That it can do, LinkedIN really helps start ups or people that have time. Luckily, I have the time. If I was working a 10 hours day, and traveling, I would not be so lucky. Then again, you have to know what you are looking for and what you want to get out of it.

JHB

"00"

bacox's picture

I see LinkedIn as a tool, which is used to help complete a task.  In this case it is to stay connected to people on a professional level.  As with any tool, if used properly, it can be beneficial, but if used improperly will not be beneficial (or even dangerous).

I use it to get connected with former colleagues as well as clients.  Then once connected through the tool, i contact via e-mail or phone and remain connected that way.

I like the Reading List feature, and the different groups that are related to my profession.

Use it wisely.

JBRWilkinson's picture

Although LinkedIn has been very interesting and has helped me stay in contact with previous colleagues/boomerangs, I'd like to give everyone a quick word of caution - some of the groups that you can join are operated by some pretty irresponsible people. I think that a group owner can see your email address when you request to join the group and this got abused a little while ago when about 1,500 members of an "Apple Fans" group got a blanket email where everyone's name and email address was clearly visible on the TO: line, rather than the more secure/normal practice of BCC'ing everyone to hide their addresses.

I'm sure you don't need the details of the results.

ejsilver26's picture

When looking for a job and they asked for references, I simply printed out my recommendations, added contact information, and handed it to them. They were always pleasantly surprised, and several mentioned that it was a unique idea. I did mention that it was from LinkedIn and they could check out my profile for more recommendations (I gave 5, but I had over 10 at the time).

At this time I haven’t used all of the LinkedIn features, just some of them. I tend to stay pretty close to home and keep my contacts only close ones (with only a few exceptions). If I enter the job market again, I will certainly be using my LinkedIn again. I see people posting that they are in the market for a new job occasionally, and I will always help those that need it. If I get a job offer, I tend to pass them along (since I’m not currently looking) to those I know are qualified.

In summary, I like LinkedIn and have used it in the past for employment. It works as long as you make it work and put in some effort.

mithrys's picture

I wondered about this at one time, on the contrary, I am linked in with my star team members.  Of course LinkedIn became a big hit in our company as a major downsizing occurred and many good people were let go.  It became a big buzz to get linked in with those leaving, so you would expect your best people to be connected with former employees just to stay in touch.

mithrys's picture

:) still learning to use the site :) I was replying to this post

"Found this relatively old thread and thought I'd post my own concerns about LinkedIn.  My number one concern is that my employer will "see" me and assume (perhaps correctly ; - )  )  that I am looking for a new position.  This fear increases exponentially if I were to post my resume on the site.  Can anyone address whether my fears are well founded?"

jkuntz's picture

Like many others here, I got a couple of invites to join linkedin and ignored them initially - thinking it was nothing more than a facebook kind of thing which I wanted no part of.  Then a former colleague was telling me more about his experience with it - through a corporate downsizing how a bunch of former "xyz" employees kept in touch via LI.  So based on conversations with him I joined and it's been interesting.  It's opened many doors and has brought me a lot of job opportunities - or at  least interviewing opportunities.

My take on it is be careful with who you link to - I keep it to those I would recommend or respect at the very least.  I don't link to friends just because they are friends - it's keeping my personal life and my professional life separate.  I politely decline invites from those I don't want to link to, like recruiters, or those I don't know yet.  I recommended one colleague but don't want the appearance of back scratching so I won't request a recommendation from him anytime soon.  I take recommendations a little less seriously when I see people recommending each other in close proximity - it bears less weight if you ask me when it's a "do me a favour and I'll return it". 

Pet Peeves with it are:

- the people who think linking with thousands of people is cool.  The "I accept all invitations, just ask me" people.  That makes me want to connect even less with you!

- the group members who post replies to questions on one topic with "I work with that product and am looking for xyz jobs, if you can help..." - useless comments on what otherwise would be useful discussions.  Or the classic where people specifically say "reply to me privately" and the people still post publicly their replies with interest in whatever the discussion was. 

One misconception I think from reading some posts.  It's been implied that a person could ask your connections for references without your knowledge.  If you are not linked with someone they cannot see your connections so they wouldn't know who to ask... unless there is a way to make connections public?  I certainly don't.

Anyway, this is my first MT post and I thought I'd chime in on an old and lengthy discussion!

JMK