It only takes one person to change your life.
Plenty of people dont see the value of LinkedIn. They Say its crap and they never use it because they cant post photos of last weekends dress up party where they attended as a “tranny in custody”.
LinkedIn has many benefits, and yes, it’s true it may be more useful for certain professions such as sales, recruitment and entrepreneurs. But there is one undeniable benefit that should make it mandatory for everyone with even a smidgen of ambition: Networking.
I know that sounds dumb. After all it’s a networking tool. But many – especially 20 something’s – don’t see the potential.
Think of LinkedIn like a retirement fund. The earlier you start the more valuable it becomes.
Take a hypothetical case study:
You’re 21 and in your first job. In your department, there are 15 people you interact with on a regular basis.
You open your account and connect with those 15 people.
- Blue men = Connections
- Red man = You
During your time at this company (average 2-5 years) the people you work with start to move on to different companies – presumably in a similar industry. After a few years, your network will look like this:
Now you have contacts in 8 different companies (including yours) that you can use as referees, for market information or to help you get a job in their new company (more on how to use your connections in the future).
Pre-LinkedIn you may have stayed in touch with a few colleagues, but inevitably some would drop off your radar and become unreachable.
After 4-5 years you decide to move on.
You take a job at Company I and start working with 15 shiny new colleagues who join your network.
As the years move on these people leave and join new companies. While that is happening, colleagues from Company A are still moving about.
Suddenly, you have contacts in 17 companies. Remember, these are people you have worked with and know on a personal level. Even if you don’t speak with them for a couple of years, it’s easy to reinitiate contact. You will have their email and the company they work for. You can easily call reception and get transferred.
Trying to track all these people without LinkedIn is starting to become difficult, even for the most socially proficient individuals.
Then, as time moves on, you take your third job.
Another 15 shiny new connections join your network.
During this time, your previous colleagues continue to move in their careers, taking promotions and joining companies you may have never heard of.
Here’s where it becomes messy.
Are you really going to bother to track movements of all of your past colleagues? I know I wouldn’t, even with the knowledge I have. LinkedIn does it all for you.
The best part? Using it in a simplistic capacity like this is about 5 hours per year of work.
Adding new colleagues to your network and updating your profile with promotions and job changes. That’s all. 5 hours per year for a lifetime network. You’d be a fool not to…
Now consider adding your friends, peers from university, 50 colleagues per company and you change companies every 3 years for 30 years.
The numbers start to inflate. People change countries and industries. You build yourself a global network. Happy days.
Remember, just because you are not ‘using’ it doesn’t mean it’s not valuable and the longer you wait, the more likely those early connections will slip through the cracks.
So what are you waiting for? Join today! And while you’re at it, add me as a connection.