Organizations and Stakeholders

People say I’m well-linked

It’s easy to jump into a social media discussion when talking about networking technology. And that’s exactly what I’m about to do… however, keep in mind that any communication technology can be a networking tool if it helps you maintain relationships.

I have used social media to network with professionals numerous times, mostly using LinkedIn. As you can see from my LinkedIn profile, I have over 80 connections. Some may yawn at my 80 connections, but l am only three internships deep into my field—cut me some slack!

I digress. Establishing my online presence meant having at least four profiles floating around in the web clouds. Facebook. Twitter. LinkedIn. WordPress… It can be exhausting using all these social media.

The 2008 Bell Labs Technical Journal published an article, “Social Networking: Communication Revolution or Evolution?” This study conducted by Cheryl L. Coyle and Heather Vaughn studied how college students use networking sites. They found that the most influential reason undergraduates use social networking sites was “keeping in touch with friends.

I imagine Facebook, clearly a social site, is mostly used to catch up with friends. But what about using “professional” social media, such as LinkedIn?

According to, “LinkedIn operates the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with more than 100 million members in over 200 countries and territories. More than half of LinkedIn members are currently located outside of the United States.”

In 2009, Business Communication Quarterly included Sam DeKay’s research,Are business-oriented social networking web sites useful resources for locating passive jobseekers?” The article discusses “passive job seekers” as people who already have jobs, but are open to new job offers.  DeKay’s research suggests that the nature of the website, with detailed resumes and recommendations, attracts people who would like to advance their careers.  The research did not prove that LinkedIn is used to search for employees, however, it was helpful to recruiters because it was a hub of professional information about a candidate.

A Forbes blog posted last Tuesday by, Ali Brown, cited Lewis Howes who specializes in LinedIn “Master Strategies” and even wrote a book on it. She gave the following 5 tips from Howes on how businesses use LinkedIn:

1.  Answer Questions when businesses post questions about specialties.

2.  Join Targeted Groups and connect with others in similar fields

3.  Create a Company Page and give your business a presence on the site.

4.  Sync Your WordPress and Twitter.

5.  Make Recommendations to others.

Here’s my list of LinkedIn best practices for the recent graduate job seekers.

1. Build upon an established contact. Only connect to people you have met with in person or with whom you have had direct contact. *Tip: include a personal note with the “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

2. Get Recommended. The best way to receive a recommendation is to provide one for someone else. *Tip: Make sure it is a genuine recommendation.

3. Include a professional headshot. A picture of you at the beach will probably decrease your professional credibility.

4. Target organizations. Use LinkedIn to search for connections of connections in an organization you want to work for.

5. Join groups. Numerous groups like Hiring for Hope and JobAngels provide tips for the job seeker like you and me. Be an interactive group member and join the conversations.

6. Stay in touch. LinkedIn is a hub of your professional connections—use it to keep contact with past supervisors and recent connections.

Remember, face-to-face interaction is the most basic and influential way to maintain relationships, but social media can be used to network professionally.  LinkedIn’s platform is “Relationships Matter.” My platform is to build genuine relationships and not network for the sake of networking.