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How to benefit from LinkedIn without wasting time

How to benefit from LinkedIn without wasting time


THERE ARE over 673 million users on LinkedIn, but “most people have an account because they’ve been told they should or need to have one—then they never use it or update it,” said Andrew Selepak, Ph.D., director of the graduate program in social media at University of Florida.

The site can also encourage posturing. It’s disingenuous to accept every request to connect and then brag about your vast business networks when those networks actually yield little activity and few interactions. “Most people rarely have any professional content to share—we only change jobs so often or appear in national publications or earn new degrees,” said Mr. Selepak. That’s likely why users only spend about 17 minutes a month on LinkedIn compared with 35 minutes a day on Facebook, he added.

LinkedIn can be a great place to find email addresses or, if you’re hiring, scour resumes with little effort, but people tend to let their profiles atrophy, said Mr. Selepak. Plus: There’s always the risk they’ll be notified you’re stalking them on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn lets people connect with others in their industry; it’s a living, digital resume you can send to potential employers and a tool used by recruiters to find better candidates. It’s also a personal branding platform where you can distinguish yourself as a thought leader within your industry, said Aliza Licht, a digital consultant and author of “Leave Your Mark,” a career guide for the social media era.

Having a profile isn’t enough, though. “Being present on LinkedIn is essential,” said Ms. Licht. You should regularly post content relevant to your career—innovations by your employer, job openings you’ve heard of, industry shifts you’ve observed—on its home-page feed as you would on Facebook. “It’s a great way to get eyeballs on your point of view, your values and your accomplishments,” she said, which raises the likelihood of making connections and finding opportunities.

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Harvey Yan


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