LinkedIn is a social networking site, just like MySpace. The big difference is that Linked In is focusing on professional networks, and is often described as a career-network for grown-ups.
LinkedIn is located in Palo Alto, California, and is funded by Greylock and Sequoia Capital, the venture capital firms behind Google, Yahoo!, Cisco, and Apple. LinkedIn’s CEO Reid Hoffman was formerly Executive Vice President of PayPal.
The philosophy behind LinkedIn is that you are more likely to conduct business with people you trust, and that you are more likely to trust people you know, or people you are connected to via somebody. This means that if you are looking for a good writer, and you one who is a friend of a friend, you can ask to get introduced, and then initiate a business arrangement.
The site lets you create a profile for yourself, which includes as much or as little detail as you wish. In effect, you are building up a complete online Curriculum Vitae, but as others are doing the same, your CV becomes a ‘keep in touch with people who worked at the same company’, ‘share experience’ and ‘stay tuned for job opportunities’ site.
The founder of Linked In explains: “Your professional relationships are key to your professional success, and our mission is to help you be more effective in your daily work and open doors to opportunities using the professional relationships you already have.”
If you work for a big company, Linked In is a nifty way to get to know new people in the company, and a little bit about their background. If you’re a freelancer, it’s a great way to build up publicly viewable referrals, and an interesting way to find work.
Finding which of your contacts is already on Linked In is easy: You can update a Comma separated list (CSV) export from most major address book programmes, and Linked In will check which ones are already active on Linked In. In addition, you can check a box for the ones you wish to invite, and then introduce them to Linked In as well.
Currently, LinkedIn has more than 7.5 million profiles from all over the world, representing more than 130 industries. Chances are, then, that you’ll meet with some of the people that are important to you, and odds are that at some time in the future, the list of contacts you’re building up is going to come in handy, for finding suppliers, finding freelancers, or perhaps for finding an employer or employee.
Success stories of LinkedIn are many, and include salespeople who discovered they have a connection to key people inside a company they are trying to sell to, and clinched the deal because of an 1-step connection between them and the customer. By getting formally introduced by a high-standing member of another company, who both the seller and the client had in high regard, the basis of trust was built, which ultimately led to a major contract.
LinkedIn is free to join, and offers paid accounts that give you more tools for finding and reaching the right people, whether or not they are in your network.
Do you know me and want to link in with me? Go to Linked In, and search for my full name.