MAD Perspectives Blog

 Learning about LinkedIn

Peggy Dau - Tuesday, March 05, 2013

I taught an introductory LinkedIn class last night for my local Continuing Education program. My audience represented LinkedIn's core user base, adults ages 35-55. My goal was to help them better understand how LinkedIn can hep them achieve their business goals, whether that is getting a new job or generating more business. It was also an educational experience for me - a huge fan of LinkedIn.

i learned the following:

     - Writing a good summary is intimidating for most users. I'm not completely surprised by this. My summary has been developed over time, based on my own investigations on how to best optimize LinkedIn. While we all understand that LinkedIn is complementary to a resume/CV, it is often difficult to find the words that best reflect our professional journey, how we interact with clients or the value we provide as professionals.

     - LinkedIn Groups may be the most underestimated benefit of the social network. I'm a fan of groups as I generally find them to be great sources of information. Yes, there can be a lot of spam in groups as unscrupulous individuals post random content regarding crazy business opportunities or promotion of irrelevant topics. However, the power of engaging with the group is exemplified through the engagement between and the support amongst members. There is no such thing as a "silly question" - groups typically provide good insights and guidance to fellow members. Groups are a great opportunity to expand your knowledge and your network.

     - LinkedIn is best used by business professionals. I suppose this obvious, yet there we several educators present last night. One was an administrator, the other a former teacher. Both were seeking options to expand their networks to gather information and understand non-education sector opportunities. Sadly, we could not find any groups that could offer them tangible value, unless they wanted to pursue corporate training as a career. LinkedIn is doing a great job creating options that will attract students. Perhaps there is also room to develop solutions that will help those in the education sector.

As always, no single social network is the be all end all. It often takes a combination of networks or tools to achieve your goals. These options could include the primary social networks, plus online tools like The value LinkedIn does provide is a mechanism to manage all of your contacts. Whether we network online or in person, maintaining the connection can be difficult. LinkedIn provides a framework for managing relationships for the long term, regardless of changes in the roles or the employers of each user.

I look forward to additional opportunities to engage with LinkedIn users. The top industries reflected on LinkedIn are currently high tech (no surprise), retail & consumer, professional services and oil & energy. Financial services is emerging. What's next?

What's your perspective?