The power of being linked in

December 12, 2011 – You’ve probably heard of linkedin.com, the social networking site that keeps you connected to business colleagues, friends and co-workers. The concept is that by associating with friends or colleagues (known as inking in), you are also associating with their friends and colleagues, widening your net for possible job opportunities.

If you’re interested in working for a particular company, for example, all you need to do is search that company and see if you have any connections. If you don’t have first connections, which are those you know directly, it’s more than likely that you have a second or third connection to that company, meaning you know someone who is linked to a person who works there, which gives you the inside track or at least a starting point.

What you may not know, however, is that even if you’re not looking for work, linkedin.com comes in handy with your current position. By joining various groups associated with your position, you can keep up-to-date with what’s going on in that particular position or industry, and gain helpful tips on projects or tasks you need to accomplish.

I belong to several communications groups, such as the International Association of Business Communicators, and various freelance writing groups and internal communications groups because we have similar interests and work in similar career paths.

When I started my new job in October, I was put in charge of the company’s intranet site, which I had managed in previous positions. But this time it was built with SharePoint, which is new to me. I logged on to linkedin.com and looked for SharePoint support groups, found one that dealt with using SharePoint as an intranet platform and joined. Not only did I find useful information about building intranet sites through the group’s discussions, but I also found where to go for free online training and help with questions I might have if I run into a stumbling block.

These groups are perfect sounding boards for any project you may be working on, and the comments and responses are usually filled with helpful commentary and ideas to help you move it along. It’s great to get feedback and look for how others have solved problems you may be experiencing now.

As you can see, linkedin.com is a great networking tool all the way around.

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