LinkedIn can be a great tool for job hunting. Anyone can have an account there, but it is more useful if you belong in a certain career type (like office jobs) or if you already have some professional experience – recent graduates may not find much room for self-promotion. Its main appeal lies in the fact that you can have your professional experience neatly organized as the website is structured in such a way that you can enter your details in a very intuitive way.
LinkedIn is a social network, which means that it enables you to connect with people you know – or not. By simply sending a contact request to someone else (muck like the way Facebook works) one can extend his or her network indefinitely – this is sufficient proof that virtual connections are boundless. You can have as many connections as you want – and this is is not just an expression. It is actually a fact.
I myself am heavily dependent on LinkedIn. I use it every day for my job search, even though I can’t quite pinpoint a reason why I keep using it to this day. My level of success with it has been inversely proportionate with the time, effort, and dedication I put into it.
As I mentioned above, LinkedIn makes it possible for you to connect with people you know, but you can also send contact requests to, be contacted by, and connect with professionals you may have never met in person before. Linkedin recommends that you not accept – or invite – people you don´t know. LinkedIn bases this recommendation on mere security concerns, since once someone accepts your invite to connect, that person has absolute access to your e-mail address and other contact information. I would add one more reason why it’s of little use to invite people you have never met. That person may accept your invite but, don’t disappointed if you don’t receive a reply should you want to turn to that person for career advice or information on a job posting. Even though LinkedIn and Facebook are social networking sites, the ultimate goals of both sites are very different. We use Facebook to interact and share stuff we like with friends. With LinkedIn you can post comments and even share articles, but everything is far less intimate because it is a website for professional to network. The sense of community in LinkedIn , hence, becomes a more awkward concept to grasp than in the case of its social counterpart. This is clear but not that obvious.
When I started out on LinkedIn, I assume that everyone was there to cover each other’s back, if needed – meaning that if you had a question regarding a job offer or about the company, everybody would feel compelled to help out. This, unfortunately, is not the case. One could make the argument that, even on Linked we get swept up by the flurry intensity of ”feeling connected” to other people. So we may let other people access our professional network with the same inertia as we ”befriend” people on Facebook we may be only acquainted with. However, LinkedIn makes necessity a virtue. The 15-year old platform is a valuable tool for people to reach out to other professionals from their trade to share information, and when the crucial – and never underestimated- aspect of familiarity is missing, the link that could be established between both parties is irremediably broken. We could, at this point, argue that, in reality, most people would not go out of their way to help strangers unless it is for a Facebook-worthy (pardon the obvious invocation), well-publicized cause. If hundreds of other people are prone to find out about your good deed, yes. But, if it’s something that is going to be entrapped in the obscurity of a communication between two perfect strangers, then most people – note that I put that in bold – would probably choose the comfortable way – to not take action.
So much for the new technologies. It brings us closer to one another – more so than ever before, and that trend will only increase in the years ahead. However, it also seems to make it easier for people to disregard clear signs of help and opportunities of empathy from strangers in a time when online dating (namely, meeting strangers for romantic purposes) is at its peak in the way people approach relationships. This, too, will only increase to the point that it will seamlessly ripple into other areas, other facets of life. Let’s hope that when the bubble bursts – if it does – will not bring about a time period where the only connection that we will have with the outside world will be our ability to touch a screen properly.