How to Leverage LinkedIn as a Career Development Tool
Launched in May 2003, LinkedIn had 4500 members by the end of the month. Reid Hoffman, having successfully used networking to advance his own career, saw the need for a business professional web site and eight years later, the site boasts over 90 Million members with almost half scattered outside the US. “...how the world of work (is) changing” has propelled this amazing growth.
That membership is comprised of the Cream of the Crop in the business world. Every Fortune 500 company is represented and every level of management from Chief Executives down.
LinkedIn is now the premier resource for career development and career enhancement. “The philosophy behind LinkedIn”, according to Hoffman is “always about individual professionals doing business with their network. (Connecting the business world. CNNMoney.com, Jun 2, 2002)
While CONNECTIONS are one of the major features of LinkedIn, connections are not much help unless they help you achieve your goals. It's not about how many marbles you get, but whether those marbles are glass, or precious silver and gold.
So with over 90 million members and growing, how do you, as an individual, stand out? How do you become that golden nugget that gets plucked from the depths of that gigantic pile of people? By displaying your MEASUREABLE ACCOMPLISHMENTS. And this you do by leveraging all the “Tools” in the LinkedIn “Toolbox.”
By providing an environment where you can leverage your career path and grow your skills, LinkedIn has become the ultimate, irreplaceable source to achieve your career goals. Through LinkedIn you will find all the people and skills training you need to develop and enhance your career.
You do this by:
- Using effective PROJECT MANAGEMENT TOOLS, and
- Learning the right MANAGEMENT SKILLS which enable you to
- Accomplish SUCCESSFUL PROJECTS.
You can then display your MEASURABLE ACCOMPLISHMENTS on your LinkedIn profile. And this, my friend, is how you are found.
Maintaining a site with 90 million members is one costly project. So how is it financially supported?
One of the several ways is by the fees corporations pay for their HR departments to search for that elusive candidate who can make a difference in the scheme of things.
• And how do they find that jewel?—by the keywords that person uses in his or her profile to describe themselves.
• And where do those keywords come from?--from their management skills, professional training and measureable accomplishments.
• And how do you know which keywords will garner the most attention?--by utilizing the tools available on LinkedIn.
While there are many powerful things you can do with LinkedIn, first and foremost, you should view this site as a career development tool.
For example, assume tomorrow is the very last day of your career before you head off to retirement. What would you envision that final job title to be?
Now, print out your LinkedIn profile http://resume.linkedinlabs.com/ and write that job title and the future date somewhere on the page.
That future job "title" now becomes your job "target."
Look on any successful resume today, and you will see that it is not enough to tell someone what you did, but more importantly what you accomplished. The MEASURABLE ACCOMPLISHMENTS you are able to claim, shout out your unique qualifications.
For example: if you "Processed Widgets," you must show the reader the "outcome" which "resulted from" processing those widgets a.k.a. The MEASURABLE ACCOMPLISHMENT.
Fortunately, the opportunities to show MEASURABLE ACCOMPLISHMENTS are always available to you through the large number of problems you solve every day.
Think of each problem that you solve as a "SUCCESSFUL PROJECT" which shows "MEASURABLE ACCOMPLISHMENT" and keep track of them on your LinkedIn profile. Keep in mind that the keys to achieving successful projects are the product of using PROJECT MANAGEMENT TOOLS and having the right MANAGEMENT SKILLS
Looking over your printed copy of your LinkedIn profile, what skills do you need to reach your job target? One of the many tools LinkedIn has, is an excellent skills tool that you can use for research:
Identify the skills you need by looking at the profiles of others who have the job title you are targeting.
Regardless of your chosen career--be it Finance, Marketing, Recruiting, Project Management, Manufacturing, whatever—on LinkedIn you will find the resources you need to achieve your goal.
We wrote this article because everyday we see the benefits of LI.
Our company epitomizes what LinkedIn is all about.
Our job is Training—showing individuals and groups the skills needed to propel them to their ultimate goals.
Our website, (http://www.pm-essentials.com/), offers a 4000+ page reference goldmine of tools (PM Templates) and courses (PM Training).
Our company, Assured Solutions::PM-Essentials, audits and assesses the strengths and weaknesses of organizations to enable them to better compete in today's difficult environment.
WE ARE UNIQUE! Our laser focus is on helping individuals and companies develop the management skills needed to achieve the goals that will propel them to ever greater levels of success.
Please feel free to forward my email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or LinkedIn profile address (http://www.linkedin.com/in/rfrederick) or website (http://www.pm-essentials.com/), to any others to whom you think I might be a valuable contact.
Finally, thank you again and I truly hope I have made this a valuable connection for you.
Best wishes for your career,
Richard Frederick, PMP, MCP
Business Analysis / Project Portfolio Management