Your LinkedIn network is more powerful than you think. For those of you who still refuse to view your LinkedIn network as a dynamic source of business information, read on. Why send your resume to job boards when you can utilize the folks in your LinkedIn network as your personal advocates and champions?
Did you ever consider that your collection of social connections might be valuable, and not only to you? Especially the connections in your LinkedIn network?
Recruiters and employers certainly have picked up on the power of the personally cultivated network. Why do you think so many of them want you to become part of their Connections within their LinkedIn network? They want to deep dive into your network, especially if you are in a specific field of expertise.
The LinkedIn network you create is of tremendous value. Even if you don’t see your network in the same way that other folks view it.
The May 2013 edition of Inc. magazine cited that:
- “50% of companies with high [employee] retention rates decreased their investment in job boards last year.” (Aberdeen Group)
- “47% of hires who were referred by other employees are more likely to stick around than job-board candidates (14%). (Jobvite)
- “While 98% of recruiters are using LinkedIn [among other social media sites mentioned] to recruit, only 38% of job seekers are using LinkedIn to find work.” (Bullhorn, Jobvite)
- 48% of social-savvy employees are being motivated by cash bonuses to refer job candidates. (CareerBuilder)
If you are looking for work, wanting to change jobs, hiring new employees, or cultivating relationships to find a partner/co-founder for your startup, turn to your social network first. The answers you seek may be right in front of your eyes, especially if you are one of the LinkedIn folks using the new Contacts feature.
If you are seeking employment, don’t overlook the value your personal LinkedIn network may bring to your new employer. If you are well-connected in your area of expertise, you may be able to impact your company’s brand-building and business development efforts among your network of decision makers and influencers.
The social network that you create becomes another one of your professional assets which you can bring to the business table each day. Your LinkedIn Network is a powerful, career- and business-building tool.
There is a caveat: Many of my colleagues, and I myself, are cautious about how we choose to expand our networks. If we get requests to connect on LinkedIn from folks who are outside our areas of expertise, for example: real estate agents, wealth managers, insurance agents, etc., ( you get the picture), we vet these folks before we accept the relationship. These folks may only want to connect simply to deep dive through our professional networks in order to develop sales leads lists for themselves. They may also end up using our names in the process of getting their foot in the door with these prospects: e.g., “I am connected to so-and-so on LI and so are you, so let’s connect.” My advice: validate first, use common sense and your gut before you accept the relationship. Those types of invitations to connect on LinkedIn might be best served by being Ignored.
Jill Konrath and Ardath Albee recently published their e-book, Cracking the LinkedIn Sales Code, which compares and contrasts groups of LinkedIn users in how they apply this social platform for business development.
If you are job hunting, trust me, you are “selling” yourself. The Inc. information coupled with the Konrath-Albee data strongly suggests that incorporating prospecting and sales strategy into your own career-building efforts via your personal network can yield a tremendous upside to your professional development – even if you are in a technical or academic field.
The next time your current employer asks you the “Do you know anyone who….?” question, where will you turn first? If you haven’t recently updated your LinkedIn profile, and only were planning on using it when you, personally, needed to (e.g., when you lost your job!?), think again.
Your professional accomplishments and technical expertise may not be your primary calling card anymore. The quality of the network you build, and your degree of constant interaction with that network, are becoming more valuable than you think.
Babette N. Ten Haken, Founder & President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers, LLC, brings entrepreneurial mojo back into small and mid-sized businesses, particularly in the manufacturing sector. She builds vibrant revenue-producing business strategies for technical start-ups seeking investors and early customers.