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By Juliana Aldous | Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Using LinkedIn to manage your career

Manage your career with LinkedIn

We now have two courses on LinkedIn in our library from Richard Colback, one for individuals and one for businesses.

• Up and Running with LinkedIn • LinkedIn for Business

I took Richard’s first course myself when I was interviewing at lynda.com, and it really helped me—so in turn I’d like to share five ways I’ve learned to use LinkedIn that can help you manage your career.

1. LinkedIn is a great way to connect with mentors and others who can advise you about your career.

If you have a LinkedIn account, you may already have someone in your connections who can offer advice on your next career step. When I was contemplating leaving my last position, I knew I wanted an outsider’s perspective. I found someone already in my list of contacts that I had worked with previously—an online education and publishing thought–leader. I set up a 30-minute call with him and emailed him my resume. He gave me a great perspective on where I could go next, whether it was within my current company or somewhere else. He also put the “word out on the street” that I was thinking of making a move in the industry, which actually led to my hearing about the perfect position here at lynda.com.

2. LinkedIn can become your resume.

Have you ever had to put your resume together in a hurry? I was always flummoxed by format and fonts. After taking Richard’s course [SR5] I realized LinkedIn makes it easy to use your profile as your resume. I updated my resume over a week, one section per day. When the recruiter at lynda asked me for my resume,I simply sent a PDF copy of my LinkedIn profile.

3. LinkedIn lets you keep your critical contacts in the cloud.

You work hard making professional connections, but often have to leave them behind when changing jobs—so I made an effort to connect and reconnect with anyone I had come into contact with over my career. When I took Richard’s course, I had around one hundred contacts. I made a goal to get that number up over 500+. Anyone whose name I recognized or had sat across a conference table from or saw on an email line was fair game. Now I have over 800 connections!

4. LinkedIn might just remind your current boss how valuable you are.

People have asked me: Aren’t you afraid if you spend a lot of time updating and making connections on LinkedIn that your current boss will think you’re looking for a job? I answer with another question: Shouldn’t your current boss be reminded of how valuable you are, and concerned about keeping you happy? The past few years of economic downturn have had many of us clinging to jobs like lifeboats, afraid to let go. So flaunt that project, and toot your horn with pride.

5. LinkedIn keeps you informed about your industry.When I started looking for a new job, I realized that I had spent years mostly networking within my company. I rarely went to outside industry events and my business cards were collecting dust inside my desk. I joined a few LinkedIn groups, some associated with my current position and a few associated with the position I wanted next. This was a great way to make connections and learn about available jobs within my industry.

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