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October 2017
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LinkedIn: A journey to success

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I am sitting down, turning on my laptop and with a great hope for some new connections, messages or views of my profile, I am typing in “linkedin.com”. It feels ridiculous, really, sitting here in the living room full of hopes and expectations as if I was 5 years old again, waiting for Santa to bring me presents. “Please, please, let me be discovered today,” I think out loud impatiently as the website loads. “Yes, finally,” I mumble for myself, when I begin to see the blue logo. My eyes swiftly drift to the right corner, that is, as we all know, where all the notifications are placed. And there it is, a moment of a complete and utter disappointment. Once again, I have not been discovered, worse even, I have been – again – ignored by thousands and thousands of head-hunters and recruiters even though I have so meticulously filled in my profile to the very last bit. The taste of another defeat is bitter. “Maybe I should quit LinkedIn and dive into the typical methods of job seeking like newspapers for instance”, I think for myself sarcastically, “that has had worked for decades!” Indeed, it used to work, but times have changed. One just does not use newspaper to search for internships. People search online and those, who adapt, win! And LinkedIn is since few years the newest development for us to adapt to. LinkedIn is a place to be, when we wish to engage with other professionals, create a network and give a kick-start to a career. And if you do not have a profile, or better to say, a good profile, then you shall fade in invisibility, dullness and miss on life-changing opportunities.

LinkedIn was founded in 2003 and since then it has been pursuing successfully its goal to connect all of worlds’ professionals. This makes it a unique professional network. LinkedIn has now about 300 million members worldwide and the numbers are growing. Companies start setting up their profiles and they increasingly engage in sharing information not only about themselves but also about issues they are interested in may it be a technology development, or communication tips for professionals. In this way companies show their brand and they also get the chance to advertise new vacancies or search for new talents themselves without having the need to use mostly expensive head-hunters’ services. This is what makes LinkedIn interesting not only for companies but also for individuals, of course. “LinkedIn is definitely very important for my career. I mean, I am still a student but thanks to LinkedIn, I have found a great internship and I am sure nice job will follow,” says Mark van Goozen, a student of Commercial Economics in Amsterdam and a young professional in the field of Online Marketing. Mark’s profile is filled in completely; he has many connections and skills endorsed by quite a bunch of people. “Yes, I receive many messages with job offers from recruiters almost every day.” Mark believes that the key to a good profile is not only the profile picture but also the information. “You really have to mention all experience you have, even if it is a summer job as a cashier at a local supermarket, it all teaches you something, right?” Mark adds that a great profile is sometimes not enough, though. “ You have to be active besides your studies, I think, I for example run my own business and educate myself in Google Analytics.”

Mark van Goozen is not just a lucky individual, who happened to win the attention of a few recruiters. Rather he is a LinkedIn savvy, who knows how the system works and therefore he is sure not to miss any opportunity offered. Without the profile, he claims, the search for an internship and potential clients for his company would have been much more lengthy and difficult.

LinkedIn appears to be an important enhancement of one’s career and it should not be underestimated. Henk Ritmeester, LinkedIn’s strategic Talent Solutions consultant, sees the power of LinkedIn from a very similar perspective. He believes that LinkedIn has a unique power to bring people with vision and potential to jobs of their dreams and to him, a good profile is a start. Aside from a complete profile and a professional profile picture, there are other aspects he mentions as important. According to him, creating a large network is crucial, the more connections, the more opportunities. Furthermore, Mr. Ritmeester suggests LinkedIn users should “join groups, follow companies, participate in discussions, add content, simply become the real collaborators”, because such activities show the recruiter, who we really are as persons – these help us tell the story of our talent and show our potential.

I have very often desperately wondered how it was even possible to make myself visible on LinkedIn when compared to the infinite pool of job seekers. After all, I only have a limited amount of experience and big dream-like hopes for the future. Nevertheless, even in such moments of a pure scare of invisibility, it is important to realize that we all are unique personas with the potential to do great things as Mr. Ritmeester mentioned and LinkedIn is here to help. When asked to send a message about LinkedIn in one sentence, Mr. Ritmeester argued “[r]elationships matter! To get and share knowledge, to help others get a job or to be helped yourself, to give recommendations to others and receive them from others yourself, etc. Sharing is the new multiplier!” I know now, that filling in my profile to the last bit is not enough, but it is a start, a start of an adventurous journey to success with millions of options. Let’s not miss any more chances then, let’s share and connect and climb our way up.

 

 

 

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