Catherine Juon at Pure Visibility says that (for her) LinkedIn has finally made the leap from a dead social tool to a useful business tool, citing features like Answers, profile pictures and network updates as the reasons. In particular, she says LinkedIn is “a headhunters dream”, and therefore:
If you’re looking for a job, you can’t NOT be in LinkedIn. It positively shocks me that every college and university is not making this clear to today’s graduating class. Monster is not where it’s at! There are only recruiters there. In LinkedIn, you can connect to the people in the trenches – people with a connection to you – who will care enough to answer a couple of questions over email, talk to you on the phone, or point you in the direction of someone who will help you in your search.
I, too, have wondered why there aren’t more recent college grads and graduating seniors in LinkedIn. Connect with your professors, your classmates, your family, friends of the family, even part-time employers. You have a network that’s bigger than just your friends, even if you don’t realize it.
In a related post about Twitter last week, Catherine offered additional insight about LinkedIn:
Twitter, like LinkedIn…, has required effort + patience before anything interesting happened. People tend to give up when nothing happens right away. But you know what? This online stuff isn’t any different from real-world networking.
Have you ever gone to a group/association/networking event full of people you didn’t know and come home from the first one with a million dollar project?
I’ve seen some recent data saying that only a small percentage of LinkedIn users find it useful. Of course, there’s another percentage that find it useful enough to pay for premium membership, and yet another group that may not pay for it, but invest a significant amount of time in it.
My answer to those is exactly what Catherine said — you get out of it what you put into it, just as with any other networking. Filling out your profile is just the first step, and while you may get lucky and get some results from that, the people who get the best results are the people who use LinkedIn proactively.
Image: Pure Visibility Inc.