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4 Mad Men Reasons to Plug Into LinkedIn

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Photo source: Wikipedia

By Susan Barens

LinkedIn’s most recent report is that 414 million people are LinkedIn members with 107 million residing in the United States. That is unless you are my friend, Mel.

An over-giving and compassionate doctor, Mel is well known by her patients as being innovative-in medicine only. She recently asked for my help in mapping her career strategy, and my first question was “How is your LinkedIn profile?” The blank stare said it all. She didn’t have one and admitted her fear of social networking.

I couldn’t help but think of Mad Men -the drama series based on the golden age of Madison Avenue advertising firms—in which the show’s main character, Don Draper, says, “Change is neither good or bad. It simply is.” Thankfully, my clients at Wake Forest University Charlotte Center get it. They know that 21st-century business communication is as dependent on social networking as the last century relied on the fax machine.

Vastly different from Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn is the social networking platform for professionals. Whether you are a student, professional, or company, here are four Mad Men reasons why LinkedIn is the way to build and promote yourself.

  1. Networking

“Here I am. What can I do for you?” Don Draper, (S3; E6)

Networking is about leveraging one another’s talents to reach a common goal. LinkedIn’s social features not only make it easier to Dig Your Well before You’re Thirsty, but second- and third-degree connections expand on those relationships.

Still struggling with the fact that networking is a verb? LinkedIn offers a networking tip sheet for university students and TechPartnership offers a guide for entrepreneurs.  Members can even join special interest groups/forums, upload their address books/contacts, and receive automated suggestions of people to connect with based on your profile and search algorithms.

  1. Job Search

“I have a life, and it only goes in one direction: forward.” – Don Draper, (S3; E6)

Job or not, with more than three million active job postings and 94 percent of recruiters using it, LinkedIn is critical to your career strategy.

Whether you are the seeker or hunter, treat your job search as a business. You must go where your customers are and leverage that community. In our book “Leveraging LinkedIn for Job Search Success,” Fred Coon and I outline powerful job search secrets and tactics.

Like it or not, there is only one winner in the contest. Adjust your mindset to “game on.”

  1. Brand

“You are the product.” Don Draper, (S2;E1)

Getting the 411 of someone’s online presence is a click away. Joining the standardized livestock is one thing; differentiating yourself is another. “Success is related to standing out, not fitting in.”

Adopting some Mad Men approaches that spotlight your character, passions, strengths, and value are essential.

Struggling to build your persona? LinkedIn’s online learning site, Lynda.com, offers personal branding webinars and CIO’s website offers eight great tips.

  1. Reputation Building & News Feeds

“If you don’t like what is being said, then change the conversation.” – Don Draper, (S3;E2)

Your online presence doesn’t stop with a branding statement. Building and maintaining your brand is easy with LinkedIn Groups, LinkedIn Answers, LinkedIn Today, and blog posting capabilities.

Starting discussions or contributing your expertise demonstrates your ability to communicate and influence. But be careful. Don’t post anything in haste. Trolling or attacking others will label you as mad-and not in the creative sense.

Like it or not, social networking is the new sales model. Even Don Draper—a paradox himself—embraced the future for clients rather than for himself. But in the end, like anti-social networkers, he forced himself to walk through a psychedelic doorway to live his own mantra that “Technology is a glittering lure.”

The time has come for you to do the same.

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