Social Media. Not whatever else you were thinking… (cochinos!)
Groups, to be exact… on LinkedIn. No longer the underdog to keep a watchful eye on, LinkedIn is the number on professional social media network every professional should be log onto. I first created my LinkedIn account in college because our university’s career advisor told us how important it could be in landing our ideal job. She proclaimed it was going to be more effective and promising in helping young graduates find employment opportunities than CareerBuilder and whatever it was that came before Monster (come on, I know somebody out there remembers what I’m talking about). So I created an account and filled out my profile — poorly, at first. No picture, no description, just the mere basics. And all of my connections were my classmates and friends because I didn’t know any better.
It wasn’t until after graduation that I took LinkedIn more seriously — because, hey, I needed a job — but LinkedIn too, got more serious. In fact, that same year, LinkedIn rolled out its mobile app version for hipsters, yuppies and real professionals on the go. So I sat my butt down, uploaded a cleaner looking picture, described my strengths, asked for recommendations, gave recommendations (in hopes of getting more recommendations), updated my skills, included academic information and joined groups.
Over the past few years, I’ve tweaked my profile, filling out more sections to my profile as LinkedIn offered more for me to add. But the game changer for me — joining groups. At first, I was like everyone else. A bystander watching others start and guide conversations and share valuable information. Every so often I would click “like” to beef up my participation. But no one cares so much if you just “like” a thought, a question or an article. LinkedIn Groups are about conversation, feedback and most importantly, answers. It’s one of the most viable places to get answers from professionals from diverse fields and backgrounds. But you gotta be willing to be an active participant.
It can be a little intimidating in the beginning when you share your first article, blog post or question. You don’t know who’s going to respond, what they’re going to say, or if they’re going to outshine you with their comment. Oh, well. It’s a worthwhile gamble in which you’ll never lose. How is that? Most people are bystanders. They’re watching the interaction and conversation without ever joining. Those that do reply rarely attack (in my experience) shared content — as long as you’re sharing something valuable or thought provoking — and anything they add in conjunction will be of value to you. You’ll even find that some of these people you’ll add to your connections and continue many more conversations outside the group. Quite honestly, you cannot lose.
Forget about how you might measure up. These are other professionals, not perfectionists. Start by sharing what matters to you and you’ll find it matters to someone else too.