Mention LinkedIn and most people think of two things: keeping in touch with colleagues (usually from old jobs) and recruitment. That’s understandable because of the way LinkedIn presents itself to it’s users. Create a profile and it asks you for loads of information abut yourself and most people focus on their jobs and education. So you enter details of who you have worked for and then LinkedIn prompts you to connect with people who worked at the same place at the same time. It does the same with you University or school, encouraging you to grow your network.
LinkedIn does this for two reasons. Firstly, everyone gets a subconscious feeling of pleasure in seeing there number of connections grow. So the process makes us feel good and reflects well on LinkedIn. Secondly, it provides the raw material for LinkedIn’s most profitable group of users – the recruiters – who provide around three quarters of LinkedIn’s revenue.
This is great if you are looking for a job, or want to recruit people. But why else should a project manager (or anyone else for that matter) be on LinkedIn? The first reason is networking. The online networking platform of choice for most professionals is LinkedIn. A recent survey found that over half of the world’s professionals have a profile on LinkedIn and with over 370m subscribers worldwide you can see why. And there are literally hundreds of thousands of project managers on LinkedIn.
Networking isn’t something you do just to get another job. Networking is how you find people with a shared interest or passion. There are lots of LinkedIn members passionate about every aspect of project management. From agile to waterfall methodologies, from Project Server to Primavera, from people to planning, you name it and there are people on LinkedIn willing and eager to connect, engage and help in every aspect of project management.
All the key professional bodies are represented on LinkedIn through their members and company pages, from APM to PMI. You’ll also find all the key training providers and software suppliers. By following the ones important to you you’ll get all the most up to date information straight in your inbox.
The real gem for project managers is the wealth of very active Groups on various aspects of project management. These groups might be general project management groups such as The Project Managers Network, or may be more industry specific such as PMO Professionals in Banking and Insurance. Whatever your interest, there will be a group with active discussions going on. A word of warning though – groups can create an e-mail storm and suck up loads of time if you start engaging in several discussion streams and have your interaction set up wrong. You could get a new e-mail every time someone posts a new comment. Click on the setting for each group you join and make sure you choose the level of interaction that’s right for you.
One of the huge benefits of the Groups can be solving your problems. If you have a question or issue you need to solve, post an update in an active group and you’ll get loads of answers almost immediately. One group I use for that is Linked Strategies – not a project management group but one on using LinkedIn. If you need to work out how to do something intricate to your profile, there is no better place to ask.
Contributing to groups, posting articles and adding documents or videos to your profile are just three of many ways you can demonstrate your own expertise in project management thereby growing your own credibility. For me, doing just that has lead to numerous job enquiries from headhunters and recruiters, a contract in Oslo, training assignments and, most importantly, numerous opportunities to help and advise other project managers in their jobs and careers.
Make sure your LinkedIn profile does you justice. Down load my free guide by clicking on this link The 9 Key Points to Creating a Powerful Personal Profile or the images