Why should you as a ministry professional want to be on LinkedIn? What is LinkedIn anyway? Let me begin to answer by asking another question. Have you ever benefitted from the expertise and experience of peers and colleagues? I know that I have. More than once another professional has given me insights into resources, next steps, and experts that I may not have found on my own. They have recommended books that opened my mind to new ideas; they have suggested approaches that I never would have thought of. They have given me recommendations for outside contractors that saved me hours of research and got the needed job done. They have also recommended me to people looking for my expertise and experience and I am grateful that they did.
In the past, we saved business cards, put contact information on our rolodex or in our address book. Now we can save and grow our professional network on the Internet—on the professional networking website called “LinkedIn.”
One important way that LinkedIn differs from social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter is that it does not require constant work to be effective. “The key is to set up your online identity, build your network, and steadily take advantage of the opportunities that most affect you or greatly interest you.” (LinkedIn for Dummies by Joel Elad, MBA, p.7)
Basic LinkedIn is free and has many features. There are paid versions with more extensive features, but you can do a lot with the free version. LinkedIn provides you with your own already formatted professional web page where you can list your education and experience, your accomplishments, your work history, your interests (to the extent that you want).
You can upload your resume. You may not be looking for a job today, but you may be looking for one in the future. Or someone interested in your skills and expertise—may find you first. If you make your profile public (and you define to what extent it is)—it gets indexed in both Google and Yahoo! search databases. You become accessible through LinkedIn. And you will bring greater exposure to your organization or company and any projects or causes that you are working on by including them in your profile.
You can create your own LinkedIn URL. Mine is http://www.linkedin.com/in/srsusan. Check it out as an example and consider how LinkedIn can help strengthen your professional network and advance your mission and career.
Please share your LinkedIn questions, comments, and experiences below. Thank you.
Here is a free ebook about LinkedIn that you may find userful: The Nitty Gritty Guide to LinkedIn by Karim Gargum.