I created a LinkedIn profile about 3 years ago at the encouragement of one of my friends. She raved about finding job opportunities and connecting with people in her industry through the site, giving me a few tips for what to put on my profile. So I set up an account, added some of my colleagues, friends (and members of my knitting group) and that was about it.
When the social media course I am presently taking required that I get reacquainted with LinkedIn I wasn’t sure what value I might get from it. I took a look at my current profile and I realized that the focus I want to take now in my career is related to but different from my past/current employment history.
I decided to start over a create a brand new profile focusing on my self-employment, and to showcase the extensive training and experience I have worked hard on in the last 2 years. I realize it may be confusing having an “employed me” profile and a “self-employed me” profile once I fully launch my social media marketing campaign to promote my new business, so at that time I may delete the old profile. In the meantime, I have asked a lot of my connections to also connect with me on my new one so I don’t lose them. Why didn’t I just change the old profile? There are some connections that I currently work with whom I would rather not alter to my new direction at this time.
Building my new profile was an interesting experience because, like I said above, I have completed a lot of training but am slowly building my experience and applying my new skills. Therefore I added a lot of similar-sounding skills (along the lines of using keywords). I may reassess this later and see how valuable it is. Some people in my line of work only have about 10 skills listed while others have up to 45.
I decided to join some groups for the first time, and this has had some immediate benefits. I found another woman in a group I joined who has similar skills to me, and invited her to connect. She accepted my invitation and after viewing her full profile we have even more in common that I realized! We have exchanged a few very positive emails since then. I feel I have made a valuable new contact that I can network with, and exchange services with, as well as share ideas. I am grateful for this experience and look forward to connecting with others in my industry.
As well, when browsing the internet tonight for news related to my area of work, I found a great article. I decided to share it, and for the first time noticed one of the many sharing icons was a LinkedIn badge. I had never used this feature before, but realized quickly that this would allow me to share relevant information with my LinkedIn connections and promote the area of work that I do. Awesome! I also shared the article with one of the groups I recently joined, in hopes that we can have a discussion about it.
So I feel very grateful that my eyes have been opened to the potential value of LinkedIn for networking, and in the long term, establishing myself as a credible and skilled practitioner.
As a note to my fellow ADL310 students, I searched for everyone and sent invitations to connect with all of you. I look forward to following your posts and celebrating your successes with you, even after this course is complete! I welcome your feedback on ways that I can improve my profile, and any other suggestions you might have for me! I am happy to offer the same but only if asked. 😉