Our social lives are without a doubt finding a second dimension in the online world, resulting to our virtual personas slowly becoming equally important to our real life ones. In an online social network for professionals with almost 280 million users (that can be nothing less than the future in career interactions), building a good persona is more than necessary. It is crucial. Not only would LinkedIn be a great place to turn to in case you were on a job hunt, but it is actually the place to get feedback, inspiration, ideas, constructive criticism, and recommendations. Actually, whatever you would normally gain from your professional – and more extended – network, but from the very comfort of your own chair, sofa, bed, you name it. After you complete the first step, create your profile, polish your curriculum vitae (CV) as much as you can, and post a great photo of yourself, it is time for action. It is time to start building that virtual professional network. These are the types of people you need in order create your LinkedIn haven:
You work together, or have worked together. You meet them in the conferences and chat together while munching on sandwiches from the lunch buffet. You get the point. These people are your professional reality now, and you need to make them part of your virtual professional life too. They know your work, they are the ones to turn to when you need something specialized, or will be the people that you will endorse and they will endorse you.
You may have never been introduced to them but you happened to see their profile and suddenly your 10-year career plan unfolded before your eyes. You may have heard a talk of theirs in a conference that you hoped with every inch of your soul to have been yours. Their fascinating CV is all you would ever love to achieve. Not only could those people prove to be your future colleagues, employers, or mentors, but running back to their profile every now and again fuels you with enough motivation to go for months. Add them!
At first thought, that classmate you have not seen for 10 years and now runs a business of a completely different industry to your field has nothing much to provide, but you should think again. Apart from the fact that people from a broad range of industries provide a wider perspective which can always prove useful, people know people. You never know who can end up helping you or you might end up helping. Plus, nobody is more eager to help than your own friends and family, right?
It might be their job or it might just be their way, some people have an inconceivable amount of contacts. Those who obtain a lot of contacts can actually act as useful links between you and other people or jobs. Plus they will be very easy to approach and add since they probably almost add everyone!
They may be starting a small business now, but even Google started as such. Some people might not seem to be useful at the moment, but you never know where luck might take them. Since you dove in this social network to network anyway – why not take chances? Add and follow their work, you never know.
Do you know a friend who is a computer whiz? Regardless of how well you know how to handle LinkedIn or computers, you do know that person that holds an amazing skill on a particular subject. He will help you out of hard situations without sweat. He will save your day! Add him and thank him in advance because you are bound to run to him on several occasions.
No, I am not talking about yourself. I am talking about that professor who even though he eventually treated you with a good mark, he had you walk through fire in order to achieve it and who would never praise you for something you have not truly earned. You need those types of people in your network. His remarks might not be easy to the ears, but there is nothing taking you to the top faster than some constructive criticism. Embrace it.
Featured photo credit: Nan Palmero via flickr.com
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