Why you should use LinkedIn when you are NOT in a job search too

by Laura Labovich on August 3, 2012

During my one week of “mommy camp,” I took my children to see “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” at a beautiful little playhouse in Bethesda, MD called Imagination Stage. I had my mommy hat on so I wasn’t thinking about my clients, how to get a job, and definitely not how to use social media. But, as luck would have it, we arrived early and had the benefit of overhearing the lovely conversation behind us, that went something like this:

Parent #1: “I don’t really get why I keep getting emails from LinkedIn. It’s not like I’m searching for a job or anything!”

Parent #2: “Yes, I know. And, I keep getting emails from people asking me to connect with them. I’m sure that LinkedIn is sending these to me without their knowledge. I mean, why in the world would my social work client want to connect with me? There’s no reason for that.”

Now, my son, who is eight going on fourteen, turned to me and said, “Mom, pretty sure they are saying bad things about LinkedIn; you going to jump in and defend it?”  (To which I replied ‘certainly not’!  But, it was taking me all the energy I could muster to refrain from turning around, and we both knew it.)

What these parents didn’t know is that NO you don’t need to be in a job search to use LinkedIn, and YES your social work client did actually send you a direct request to connect. (And, it may not be all that crazy to accept it.)

So, I’ll stray off the LI for job seekers topic today to share a few other reasons why you, a gainfully employed professional, might want to use LinkedIn also, even if you are not in a job search.

Professional Development:  If you are not utilizing the site’s Group feature to find alumni, industry and professional groups of interest, you’ll quickly be behind the curve. Sourcing relevant content on LI has never been easier. And, now, when I log in, LinkedIn Today even recommends relevant news to me (which is not at all creepy once I got used to it) cutting my surfing time in half (or more!). You can utilize the Answers feature to share your industry expertise with the community, or hone your craft by reading what others have shared.

Contact Management:  Regardless of where they are work or live, you’ll never lose touch with your clients, friends, colleagues, former colleagues, classmates and more, once you begin to use LinkedIn as a contact management database. While not all of your contacts will list a phone number, it’s safe to say that once they have a profile, they’ll update it as they move through their career and you’ll be in the know. With LI, you can take notes for each contact, keep track of conversations, populate birthdays and more. (Listen up Parent #2! I might consider accepting that connection request: you never know when you two can help each other out.)

Relationship Management:  Dig your well before you’re thirsty, right? (Isn’t that how the expression goes?)  Certainly, it’s a great idea to broaden your network (and network with your network) before you need them (i.e. when you are NOT in a job search). So, now is the perfect time to comment on the status updates of others, answer the random question from your connections, and compliment others on promotions, job changes, and profile updates. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your network might not won’t work for you if you don’t work for them!

In case you are wondering. No, I didn’t interrupt this beautiful moment in Narnia to share my thoughts about LinkedIn. But, as my children often say “Oohhh, I really, really wanted to!!”

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