Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Career Maintenance in the 21st Century

Today I heard a story on NPR’s Morning Edition about social media and applying for jobs. That resume printed on heavy bond in a matching envelope is so 20th century… and we are almost a decade into the 21st! Sending a printed job application makes you look, well, old, or at least out of touch.

Some folks have found jobs through FaceBook or Twitter, but the most popular professional networking site is LinkedIn. LI LogoThis site allows you to set up a resume with current and past positions, education, more detailed descriptions of interests and job responsibilites, and a short status update similar to those on FaceBook.

The fun is just beginning! You can add links to your blog or other web pages. Apps let you share travel plans, books you are reading, and PowerPoint presentations or other documents.

The real power of LinkedIn is its networking. Using your places of education and employment, email address book, and interests, the site locates people you may know. You then ask them to “join your network” which is like being a “friend” in FaceBook. You can also ask your primary network contacts (your “friends” to continue the analogy) for recommendations. These can be viewed by others on LinkedIn to support your online resume. My publicLinkedInPublic view is shown below:

Those who have joined LinkedIn can generate a bare-bones resume in PDF format as well.

Once you have set up your primary network and, perhaps, joined some groups, you can then arrange “introductions” via the service. Say you want to meet someone from Company X. You can search for Company X and identify people. The service reports those who are linked to your network. Secondary links are those connected to your primary network, and tertiary networks are one more step removed. You can request introductions via these links and eventually make contact with people.

A number of companies and headhunters use the service to find contacts who may want jobs they have or may be able to suggest appropriate candidates. When you sign up you specify what you want to hear about and how you want to be contacted. I am not actively job hunting, but I get at least one inquiry a month this way.

LinkedIn has been called “FaceBook for Professionals.” It is a useful tool for job hunting and career maintenance. If you are over the age of 18, you probably need a profile!

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