Career Prescription #1 – Get Linked In!

Career Opportunities podcast logoCareer Prescription #1 – Get Linked In!
By Douglas E. Welch

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My son is now 11 and I think I have used every tool of persuasion over the years to get him to do the things both he and I need to get done. You can reason, you can bribe, you can wheedle cajole and any number of other archaic words, but unfortunately there will come a time when you have to use the dreaded — because I said so. Why would I resort to such an old fashioned, and by some measures, evil, dictatorial method? I believe that you can only truly understand some concepts, some ideas, some foods once you have experienced them. After that test, you are more than welcome to refuse them in the future, but many times I find people enjoying the experience, once they give it a try.

So, after many years of using my powers of persuasion on you and your career, I am about to bring out the big guns. In this short series of articles to come, I am going to “prescribe” that you do something and my end all reason will be — because I said so. I am calling these my Career Prescriptions for 2010. Just like a doctor might prescribe you an antibiotic or something to control your cholesterol or blood pressure, I am going to prescribe a few actions that I think can help you build the career you deserve in the coming year.

Get Linked In

Many of the prescriptions are going to have something to do with using the Internet and social media tools to help your career and this first one is no exception. Regardless of what you might have heard about these services and how they might be used, I want you take a deep breath, click the mouse and set up an account.

The first service I recommend for career-oriented people is Linkedin ( Of all the services I will talk about here, this is probably the most business oriented. It is structured around something akin to an online resume and requires deeper linkages before someone can add you to their network, or you to theirs. LinkedIn should give you good, yet gentle, introduction into the world of social networking.

Once you have set up an account using your usual email address, I want you to wait for a day or two. In many cases, you will start to see requests from friends, co-workers, clients and such to “Join your network”. Note, you won’t have to go looking for people, or add unknown people or take much action at all — people will come to you. How can they do this? Many people, like myself have uploaded their address book to LinkedIn in order to find others who are already using the service. If someone in their address book isn’t a member, but later joins the service, they will get a note that their friend, co-worker, etc is now using LinkedIn.

Taking this gentle approach will help to insure that: 1.) you aren’t overwhelmed with people interacting with you and 2.) you will be making your first connections with those that already know you in some non-virtual way. This will be our plan for starting with all the services I will prescribe in the future, too.

Next, take a few moments and start to fill out your profile on LinkedIn. You can consider this a form of resume, and it is even laid out in a similar way. You select or create a company, and then select or create a position at that company. Supply your dates of employment and a short description of your work and you have a good start. This will then create another wave of network requests, as former co-workers will see you attached to a particular company and want to connect with you again.

Finally, once you get a feel for how LinkedIn works, you can show your address book to the LinkedIn service and have it tell you who among your contacts is already using LinkedIn. Then you will be able to add them to your network yourself.


Going back to the concept of visibility — where you want to make what you do and how well you do it visible to as many people as possible — LinkedIn provides an easy way to do this, simply by building your LinkedIn Profile. When you add a job, your current network will see that information. When you move jobs, they can see that too. Finally, and most important, when you are looking for a job, you don’t have to notify everyone in your network. You can update your profile with the type of work you are looking for and your network will see it.

You have heard me talk before about how important it is to get the word out to your friends and family when you are looking for a new position. LinkedIn, and the other services I will discuss in the coming weeks, are great ways of letting people know.

I would love to hear your experiences, good and bad, with implementing this prescription and those to come in later articles. Post your comments and questions on the Career Opportunities Community Site at I think that once you start engaging in social media, in a slow and steady way, you will find that it enhances your career instead of being a burden. Social media is a way for all of us to increase our visibility and actively demonstrate what we do — and how well we do it — and why other folks out there might want to work with us.

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