A question I frequently get when training job seekers on using social media is “Won’t my boss think I’m looking for another job if I’m using LinkedIn?”
Why You Need To Be On LinkedIn
With over 180 million LinkedIn users in the world, I honestly don’t think that even half of them are actively seeking work. More than likely, they are happily employed and happilynetworking. It’s a mistake to think of LinkedIn as a giant job board and your profile as just another resume. The power of any social networking tool is in the networking.
So, if you are currently employed and not taking your LinkedIn use seriously, you’re making a grave error. Here are five reasons:
1. You Need To Have A Large Network So You Can Use It Later
Imagine you just got laid off. And you have 10 people in your LinkedIn network. You suddenly realize that you should have invested more in getting to know people. So you start to add people like crazy to your network.
If LinkedIn doesn’t blacklist you for suspicious behavior, then the droves of new people you are inviting to your network will question your intentions. They might think, “I haven’t heard from this guy in 10 years, now all of a sudden he’s lost his job and wants to connect. What does he want from me?”
It’s always better to dig your well before you need to drink from it. If you haven’t been building social equity with your network, you’ll have little to draw from later. So don’t wait until you need it. Build a strong network on LinkedIn now. Be active. Provide value. Stay in touch.
2. Opportunities Come To You; Recruiters Look For Passive Candidates
When a company hires a contract recruiter to fill a job requisition, that company isn’t looking for someone unemployed. They wouldn’t need to hire a contract recruiter for that. There are enough unemployed people to fill every single job vacancy in the country. What the organization needs is someone who is not actively looking, called a passive candidate.
In other words, the recruiter is paid to head-hunt, steal and pillage from competitive companies, convince the happily employed person that the grass is greener, and get a huge commission from the new hire. Companies who use head-hunters are willing to pay you more than what you are making now in order to snatch you away from your cushy job.
If you aren’t on LinkedIn, you are reducing your chances of being discovered by head-hunters and having the opportunity to make more money.
3. Industry Groups Can Offer You Value And Connection
Groups on LinkedIn have really matured. I’ve found that the discussions on groups are more engaging, people are less shy about speaking their minds, and the content is improving in quality. Of course this depends on the group; this is just from my own experience. However, if you find the right groups to participate with, the value to your network and knowledge is huge.
Not only will you be exposed to news, and new ideas, but you’ll have a chance to demonstrate your expertise through commenting and discussion. Sometime alliances are formed.
For example, I was part of a group whose leader would entice you to click links to download some attractive research reports. But in order to download each report, you had to fill out a lot of personal information. I found this practice annoying and said so. Pretty soon, others in the group were agreeing with me. One guy in particular contacted me and we hit it off. Turns out we do similar things, but on separate continents. Thus both of our networks grew stronger.