PC WORLD REVIEW: LinkedIn / ABOUT LinkedIn
 

CYBERSPACE, JUNE 10, 2013 (COMPUTERWORLD) By Jill Duffy - For millions of people, LinkedIn (free; premium accounts available) is the number one online network for developing a professional network, finding new opportunities, and building a career.

Everyone over the age of 20, should have a LinkedIn account. I've heard the odd complaint that the site isn't well designed for certain job functions, such as academics, and that users have been enrolled against their wishes in multiple email lists (not to mention that unsubscribing isn't as straightforward as it should be)—and yes, I'll give you that.

But the benefits of LinkedIn far outweigh its nuisances, making it a clear Editors' Choice site and one that I would recommend virtually every adult use.

Pros

Efficient for connecting with professionals from just about every industry. Deep search and filtering features. Lets you create a detailed professional profile others can search. Great job boards.

Cons

Glut of menu options and services. Difficult to figure out how to unsubscribe from unwanted emails. Expensive Premium accounts.

Bottom Line

LinkedIn is the most developed business- and career-oriented networking site out there. A great job board and plenty of services for connecting hiring companies to talented staff make it one of the most important resources for people will find new jobs and opportunities, while also building their reputations.

The site, which launched in 2003, is the place where professionals stay connected. You can think of it as a social networking site—and certainly, a good deal of socialization does take place—although it's really more of a professional networking site. I use it as an exclusive replacement for business cards, which are almost always out of date within a year.

With LinkedIn, I can find people from past jobs, volunteer work, schools, professional groups, and put the onus on them to keep their contact information current.

Similarly, people in my network can find me. Whether they're searching for someone with specific skills for a new opportunity or are merely looking for an introduction to another contact, LinkedIn facilitates that communication and many others that have real business and career value.

As with other networking sites, users set up a free account and draft an online profile, only here profiles resemble resumes and CVs.

Where social networking sites frame tiresome lists of movies, bands, and favorite quotes as evidence of one's persona, LinkedIn emphasizes professional affiliations, work experiences, skills, and job titles.

I've noticed that some of my contacts use Facebook, in much the same way that I use LinkedIn.

Hundreds of millions of people are on Facebook, and you can add your job history and professional skills to your profile, too. But I see too many gaps in Facebook that make it unsuitable for business. Its privacy settings aren't as well designed as LinkedIn's for professional use.

Facebook requires too much vigilance ("babysitting") to keep your reputation squeaky clean and still publicly searchable. If you lock down your Facebook profile and enable all the privacy settings and approval requirements, no one but your friends will be able to find you, which limits your ability to network effectively in a business sense.

Facebook doesn't have a job board, either, or a way for employers to search widely for candidates that meet very specific criteria.

LinkedIn simply provides a huge array of business-networking services, which can seem overwhelming or unnecessary at times, but most people don't need to use every last one to reap the benefits of having an account.

In that sense, LinkedIn can be low maintenance, which is a huge benefit to busy professionals.

Setting Up

Free to use, LinkedIn requires little more than an email address and password to get started, although you'll want to fill in your profile completely to get all that the site has to offer. As mentioned, the profile is similar to a resume, with a summary section and job history prominently displayed. LinkedIn prompts you to upload other information about yourself, including a photo.

Until your profile is 100 percent filled in, the site will remind you periodically to complete the process, and it's mutually useful that it does.

Users get more out of the site when their profiles are complete, and the more user data the site has, the better an experience it delivers.

The next step is to connect to people you know. You can find them by importing names and addresses from a variety of email programs: Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, Hotmail, Aol, Mac.com, Gmx in several languages, and many others. If one of your providers isn't supported, you can always upload a .csv, .txt, or .vcf file containing other contacts.

As you connect with co-workers, friends, and business partners, LinkedIn will begin to suggest people you may know based on shared relationship and company affiliations.

Sometimes I find these suggestions, which appear on the right rail of the main dashboard, a little obtrusive, nagging me to connect more, more, more!

THE LinkedIn COMPANY http://www.linkedin.com/company/linkedin

About Us

Welcome to LinkedIn, the world's largest professional network with 225 million members in over 200 countries and territories around the globe.

Mission

Our mission is simple: connect the world's professionals to make them more productive and successful. When you join LinkedIn, you get access to people, jobs, news, updates, and insights that help you be great at what you do.

Company Info

LinkedIn started out in the living room of co-founder Reid Hoffman in 2002, and it officially launched on May 5, 2003.

Jeff Weiner is the CEO, and the company's management team is made up of seasoned executives from companies like Yahoo!, Google, Microsoft, TiVo, PayPal, and Electronic Arts.

LinkedIn is publicly held and has a diversified business model with revenues coming from member subscriptions, advertising sales, and talent solutions.

LinkedIn takes your professional network online, giving you access to people, jobs and opportunities like never before.

Built upon trusted connections and relationships, LinkedIn has established the world’s largest and most powerful professional network. Currently, more than 225 million professionals are on LinkedIn, including executives from all five hundred of the Fortune 500 companies, as well as a wide range of household names in technology, financial services, media, consumer packaged goods, entertainment, and numerous other industries. The company is publicly held and has a diversified business model with revenues coming from user subscriptions, advertising sales and hiring solutions.

Specialties

Online Professional Network, Jobs, People Search, Company Search, Address Book, Advertising, Professional Identity, Group Collaboration

Company Updates

LinkedIn: Average worker gets 11k emails per year.

Fascinating visual by Harvard Business Review on how email is evolving. http://bit.ly/14ldvN6


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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