LinkedIn is the quintessential social network for the modern business professional. It is basically Facebook for the business world, right? I have to admit that I do not use it to its potential, but there is a profusion of bloggers and would-be self-helpers who optimistically point out the 10 steps to success with LinkedIn. They would have you believe that it is the key to an effective business networking effort, but I am not sure I completely buy it.
Personally, I believe that the key to business success is personal connection. It may be argued that LinkedIn provides an additional avenue to connect with those who you know in the professional realm. Certainly, it is a good alternative for those who wish to keep their Facebook a little more casual. To me, you are not really making a personal connection with others on LinkedIn, but you are instead solidifying an existing professional relationship. This may not always be the case, but still there is some value to that.
Some argue that there’s really no point – they use it to keep up with old co-workers and may eventually enjoy its potential, but feel like there is little use for the average Joe six-pack. Further, this guy claims that it is impossible to forge a meaningful relationship with anyone on LinkedIn who has the ability or willingness to further your career. Those who are successful are not hanging around on LinkedIn waiting to give you a leg up.
Others, alternatively, point to the potential opportunities to be seen by recruiters who notoriously comb the site looking for an experienced new hire to fill voids for firms all over the world. Recruiters are known to scour LinkedIn for public accounting employees with a few years of experience, hoping to scoop top talent from the ranks of Deloitte or PricewaterhouseCoopers. In fact, that’s why I have kept my LinkedIn profile maintained – to be ready for when recruiters start looking for people like me. Also, the MPA Career Services team has pointed out to me that there is a Texas MPA network group on LinkedIn, which I searched around to get a feel for what MPA grads were doing on down the road as I was feeling out my recruitment strategy.
The reality is that LinkedIn does have some value, but I do not agree that it is some key to success. I still firmly believe that the ability to form personal relationships is the most valuable resource for successful people.