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Since October, she’s increased her connections from about 2,000 to some 7,000.
She’s also generated new business for her firm and landed several speaking engagements.
“The parents and students in our target audience aren’t going to spend money with a company they have no idea about,” says Patel, 25.
“So they could look at my company profile and my [personal] profile to see that I’m an actual person who has experience.
Employers and business owners do the same thing with potential candidates or clients.
If you don’t have a Linked In page, you might look less legitimate, no matter what experience and accolades you’ve racked up. “If there’s no picture, no summary, none of that kind of information, it leaves a flat feeling,” says Paula Brand, an Annapolis-based career coach and consultant who’s a big proponent of Linked In. “A profile that isn’t completely filled out gives the indication that maybe you don’t pay enough attention to detail or you don’t care enough, which may not be the kind of person I want to reach out to,” says Patrice Rice, CEO and founder of Patrice & Associates, a Dunkirk, Md.-based recruitment company specializing in the restaurant, hospitality and retail sectors that uses Linked In to find candidates.
Others, like Hyland, accept almost any connection request that comes their way, even if they’ve never met the requestor.
He also uses the platform to publish articles about college and workplace skills.“I had no idea what was possible on this platform,” says Hyland, 33, who lives in Baltimore.“My regular daily posts [on Linked In] will get on average anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 people seeing them.” Hyland wants to be a thought leader in her field.But even if your aspirations aren’t that lofty, posting updates and articles on Linked In, as well as thoughtfully commenting on others’ posts, can pay off.“It gives people a sense of how you think,” says Jen Dalton, CEO and founder of Brand Mirror in Oakton, Va., which helps clients build their personal brand.
“I picked about 20 percent of my contacts and sent a note that I was looking for a new position.” A phone call to a Linked In connection actually led to her current job as marketing director for training-management system Training Orchestra.