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« Interview: Thorsten Jacobi on the current state and trends in social software | Main | The MKB Adoptie Project - Using Social Capital to help Adolescents Dealing with Multiple Problems »

29 February 2008

How To Use LinkedIn

There is a great piece in yesterday's New York Times (28 February) by Michelle Slatalla on using LinkedIn and similar network sites to actually make business connections. In Building a Web of Influence, she writes:

My problem could be networking. Or more specifically, a lack of it. I work in a basement where my only business contacts are my dogs, which appear unimpressed by my résumé. And on rare occasions when I venture aboveground to attend an event with the sort of people who should be only too willing to offer stock options in return for my grandmother’s chocolate cake recipe, I get tongue-tied. I blush.

On the Internet, however, no one can tell you’re self-conscious. Business networking sites — from the five-year-old site LinkedIn.com to an upstart called NotchUp.com — attract members by stating that reluctant self-promoters like me can make contacts, and even get job interviews, fairly passively.

she goes on ....

Slowly, I began to see concrete signs of the value of passive networking. One day, a first-degree contact asked me to introduce her through LinkedIn to one of my other first-degree contacts, a writer at The New York Times who my friend thought might be interested in a book she wrote. She phoned soon after to say thank you; the writer had responded right away.

A few days later, the same newspaper writer coincidentally forwarded an introduction to me from one of her first-degree contacts, a magazine editor looking for a humor writer.

Meanwhile, another first-degree contact told me her daughter had landed an interview after learning at LinkedIn that the interviewer and she went to the same college.

and concludes:

In my case, I’m too busy now to change jobs. But someday, after my dogs learn to turn doorknobs with their paws and my husband’s cough finally breaks up, I will be ready.

I only hope that by then, the Exxon recruiter I see listed among my third-degree LinkedIn contacts will be searching for someone with expertise in “weekly allowance arbitration.”

It's a great piece. Take a look at it.

Posted by Stan Wasserman at February 29, 2008 1:20 PM