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How to get the most from your business network on LinkedIn

How to get the most from your business network on LinkedIn

The financial crisis is causing concern around job security and future prospects amongst professionals according to the latest LinkedIn survey, which has seen the site grow by 17 per cent in user numbers in the past two weeks.

A recent LinkedIn poll, which was run in conjunction with news partner CNBC, found that 42 per cent of members felt that the current economic climate made their jobs less secure.

Kevin Eyres, managing director of LinkedIn, Europe, said, “The results reveal an overwhelmingly strong concern amongst professionals for the safety of their jobs within the current economic climate.

“However, with sites such as LinkedIn easily accessible to professionals in every industry, executives are in a better position to take matters into their own hands and manage their career, reputation and business prospects online.”

In the past two weeks LinkedIn, the largest online knowledge network for professionals, surpassed the 28 million users mark with business executives worldwide using the site to get ahead in business and research new opportunities.  

The financial sector has seen the most dramatic increases with members joining from the investment banking sector doubling over the past seven weeks.

The site has also seen a 14 per cent rise in recommendation over the past two weeks as well as a 21 per cent increase in the number of connections made.

Executives from every Fortune 500 and FTSE 100 company are currently represented by the site.
Here are Kevin Eyres’ top tips for getting the most from your business network:
Find the perfect job
Use LinkedIn’s job search to find out more about who’s hiring currently.  Tens of thousands of businesses currently use LinkedIn to post job advertisements and search for the best talent.

Promote your brand
LinkedIn is all about connecting an exchanging knowledge. Think of your profile as a way to promote your brand online – a fixed point on the web to promote your skills, your knowledge, your personality.

Gain recommendations from colleagues and employers
Ask colleagues and past employers to publicly endorse your work and business acumen. Publicising your experience and credentials is a great way of attracting recruiters and companies.

Position yourself as an expert
Over 600 questions and 1,000 answers are posted on LinkedIn every day - earn credibility amongst your peers and potential recruiters by answering these questions.

Make your interview go smoother
You can use LinkedIn to find the people that you’re meeting. Knowing that you went to the same school, that they play hockey, or you share acquaintances is a lot better than an awkward silence after, “I’m doing fine, thank you.”

Gain insight
LinkedIn is a rich directory of experts that you can tap into when you’re looking for a critical skill set or need to perform market research. By using the advanced search page you can find a specialist on almost every topic, industry or company. LinkedIn’s inMail messaging system allows members to contact with them directly.

Gauge the health of a company
Perform an advanced search for company name and uncheck the ‘Current Companies Only’ box. This will enable you to scrutinise the rate of turnover and whether key people are abandoning ship. Former employees usually give more candid opinions about a company’s prospects than someone who’s still on board.

Gauge the health of an industry
If you’re thinking of investing or working in a sector, use LinkedIn to find people who worked for competitors – or even better, companies who failed. For example, suppose you wanted to build a next generation online pet store, you’d probably learn a lot from speaking with former or WebVan employees.

Gather competitive intelligence
Contacting former employees of a company is a great way to conduct competitive research and gain valuable insight into the current market condition and outlook.

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