23 Things for Archivists

Thing 7: Professional Networking

By Kathryn Otto

Somewhat similar to social networking, LinkedIn® is a professional networking service and is used for different purposes than social networking, both for you personally and for your group. Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn and Paypal has said that “LinkedIn is the office, Facebook is the backyard BBQ.”

LinkedIn, and other professional networking sites like Xing, can be used to 1) brand yourself, and 2) look for potential employers.  The hidden power of LinkedIn is finding people that other people know, and even getting virtual introductions. Unlike FaceBook, the average person on LinkedIn has only 28-38 connections. The quality of the connections is more important than the number.

Facebook now has an app, called BranchOut, for “career networking on Facebook” that you might also want to check out.

Tasks

  1. Set up a LinkedIn account and start networking.
  2. Join the SAA group.
  3. Write a recommendation for someone you know; ask someone to recommend you. (Eventually, you want to aim for at least one recommendation from every place you have worked.)
  4. Put a PowerPoint presentation from your SlideShare account on your LinkedIn profile. Boxed In allows you to upload other types of files, such as PDFs. Ask someone you already know on LinkedIn to “introduce” you to someone else you want to become connected to so you can see how the introductions work.
  5. Optional: Using the “Jobs” tab, look for jobs; see if you can find any that are posted only on LinkedIn. (You may have to look for something other than “archivist” or even “librarian.” If there aren’t any jobs on LinkedIn using those terms, they automatically give you jobs from Simply/Hired.) See if any of your connections are connected to anyone at a place that has a job opening. Groups can be another way to find job postings. Joining your alumni group can be a good way to find connections when you are job searching.
  6. Ongoing: Before you go out there and connect with too many people outside our group, finish your profile—it gives a better impression. You want to strive for 100% completeness, or close to it. Why?—because you will show up higher in search results. Should you include a photograph? YES!  But unlike Facebook or other social networking sites, don’t use something too casual or a picture of your pet! Use a head-and-shoulders shot that makes you look professional. It helps with your personal branding, and it also helps people remember who you are. Then, try to update your status once a week with something you are doing at work or anything outside of work that is “on-brand” and shows your expertise. (Hint: Working on my 23 Things for Archivists assignment for this week and learning all about … would be a good update!)
  7. After your have been on LinkedIn for awhile, check out who has looked at your profile. On your “home” page, on the right-hand side about half way down, look for “Who’s viewed my profile.” They only show you possibilities—unless you pay for an account, in which case you see exactly who viewed your profile—but you can usually figure out who in the list was looking at you.

Blog Prompts

  • How do you find LinkedIn is different than Facebook, or how are you using them differently?
  • Do you have different privacy concerns about sharing your work-related information compared to more personal information that you might put on Facebook?
  • Can you think of an organization you might want to set up a LinkedIn account for and how would you use that, such as advertising events?

Resources

  • LinkedIn Profile Tutorial video on YouTube.
  • LinkedIn For Dummies video on YouTube.
  • With the same name, but not the same thing is an article called “LinkedIn For Dummies”.
  • Ten Ways to Use LinkedIn” posting on the How to Change the World blog.
  • Facebook in a Suit: LinkedIn Launches Applications Platform” article on BusinessWeek.
  • LinkedIn article on Wikipedia.
  • Xing article on Wikipedia.
  • Some archives groups to look for on LinkedIn:
    • Archives Professionals. (“The main purposes are to form an (international) archives network, and to share knowledge on archival matters.”)
    • Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference (MARAC).
    • National Association of Government Archives & Records Administrators (NAGARA).
    • Society of American Archivists (SAA).
  1. […] Thing 4: RSS and RSS Feedreaders Thing 5: Online Presentation Sharing Thing 6: Social Networking Thing 7: Professional/Career Networking Thing 8: Microblogging (Twitter) Thing 9: URL Shorteners Thing 10: […]

  2. […] cover LinkedIn and its ilk in a separate Thing from Facebook et al.? According to Kathryn Otto, the purpose that LinkedIn serves is different […]

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