Why Everyone at Your Company Should Use LinkedIn
Do you remember the old 'Mission Impossible' television series? After a strange voice told Jim Phelps that if he got caught, he was on his own and the message disappeared in a puff of smoke, Phelps was left to 'assemble his team' from a folder of photographs and dossiers. Contemporary employers are in a similar position -- to staff a particularly demanding project, they must assemble a specialized team from a larger group of candidates. 'Employment' may be synonymous with 'sub-contracting with another company'. Employers need up-to-date information. They need LinkedIn.
People post their information on LinkedIn because they want to be known. The profile is a means of showcasing expertise, work history and experience, special interests and unique personal and professional abilities. Not only do they want to be known, they want to be found -- LinkedIn is a very good search engine for identifying specific skills.
LinkedIn profiles are easier to access, update, and review than a resume. They are presented in a format that is less arduous and imposing for the subject and more convenient for the reader; on one screen, you have a person's pertinent information. The impressions and recommendations of those who have utilized his/her services and expertise before are available to you -- you have an understanding of the 'whole' person.
There is another side to this coin. Potential clients have some idea of the experience and special skills they want and need for a particular project, and may be attracted to your company because of someone you have on staff. The more information they have about you and your business, the less tentative they're likely to be in their approach. Information has been described as many things -- money, power, etc -- but one thing it certainly accomplishes is facilitating mutual futures. You may be found through a single contact or employee.
LinkedIn is a valuable networking tool, and not just for employment and contracts, but for training and cross-communication as well. Ultimately your best public face is going to be the people who represent you individually and in groups such as local professional groups and associations. Business is so much more a matter of 'who you know' than it used to be. And when you glance through potential LinkedIn contacts, you'll be surprised to see how many people are already connected to you (or interested in connecting with you) because of the people in your company.
A current LinkedIn profile benefits everyone. You, the employer, know who you have working for you -- not just vague impressions, but real fact. They, the potential client, have a very good idea who best can help them before they've even made their approach to engage you. The individual employee keeps his/her best face forward, on one hand proclaiming successes (which feels great!), and on the other, making him/herself available to the hiring public. The contacts you hold individually, and share collectively, can easily number in the thousands, all because of a current LinkedIn Profile.
Paul TN Chapman, Blog Manager, Reed Social Media Group