As you may obviously be aware, I love LinkedIn. So much so that I’ve recently been reading the stuff from my good friends Jan and Bert from The Networking Coach (we’ve never actually met by the way, but their deep insights into LinkedIn have been a tremendous help to me and thus I call them friends). Anyway, in a recent email communication, Jan and Bert, decided to share with me what they consider to be the single most important benefit of LinkedIn and here it goes:
Many people wonder: “Why should I use LinkedIn?”
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To us, the most powerful concept behind LinkedIn is that it finds the right people AND the connections you have with them. It reveals the networks of the people we know.
LinkedIn’s remarkable value is making our second and third degree networks visible, as well as the connecting paths.
Why is this so valuable?
Many people already have difficulty keeping track of their own (first degree) network. LinkedIn shows us whom our network knows. This is extremely powerful, especially if you start with the end or goal in mind. You limit yourself if you look only in your own network when searching for help.
What if we start with defining the best person to meet our needs, find them and then discover via whom we can get introduced to them?
For example, let ‘s suppose you are looking for a job at Coca Cola in your country (or you want to do business with them as a supplier or partner).
Most people then think of whom they might know at Coca Cola. They can’t think of anyone and give up. Or they call the front desk, ask for the HR Manager and are stalled by the receptionist. Or the HR Manager says he/she will call back, but never does. Frustration!
Now let ‘s start with the goal in mind. You define the HR Manager as the person who can best help you to reach your goal (a job, a contract, or expertise). Then you use LinkedIn and do a search with “HR Manager, Coca Cola, and your country”. The result is that you find the exact name of the person, and also the connections you both share.
When you look at your mutual connections, you might discover that one of these connections is your neighbor. You didn’t know this because Coca Cola never was a topic in your conversations. He has never mentioned anything about it and you never told him that you were interested in working for, or with, Coca Cola. After discovering and discussing your connection on LinkedIn with your neighbor, you learn that he has worked with the HR Manager in the past. When he hears your goal he agrees to write an introductory email. Five days later you are invited to have a talk with the HR Manager and get the job or contract.
Without LinkedIn you might never have known that they knew each other!
Seriously, if the above is not reason enough to consider using LinkedIn, I don’t know what is!