The many worlds in LinkedIn

Let’s start with a quick “tour of the tabs” in typical “what the linguist sees…” style, exploring the interactional sociolinguistic work which is being done on LinkedIn

And there is much to talk about!

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Here is where you see your newsfeed, updates that members of your network and companies that you follow have posted.  For jobseekers, probably the most worthy of note are the things that organizations of interest are saying.  Information is principally shared in the form of “updates” which are short posts, (much like Tweets) about current projects, announcements, events, or resources, which then appear in the “newsfeeds” of individuals who “follow” the organization, or if it is posted by an individual, by people who are connected to that individual.  A great way to join the conversation is simply to comment on and share those updates which you find to be particularly useful or thought-provoking or applicable.

In crafting one’s profile, the linguist brings a heightened awareness of tools at her disposal in crafting an identity, not the least of which is a familiarity with audience design. My advice here is to imagine your dream employer (whoever that may be) as your audience. What would you want him/her to know about you? Showcase your enthusiasm. Speak his or her language. And how do you do this? You may already be anticipating my answer…..

Get into the world of LinkedIn by connecting with folks who you already know IRL who are “in” there. What language do they use to describe their skills, interests, experience and accomplishments? Do these resonate with you? Identify keywords that speak to your background?

It goes without saying that this is why many of us are on LinkedIn. I have read many a statistic that many jobs are posted on LinkedIn and nowhere else.  That said, many jobs are only posted as updates or directly on a company page, which may be foudn in

So you want to be as well connected as you can and following any and all organizations that speak to you.

Never before did applicants have access to insider information about an organization of interest like this. Take advantage of it. So here’s an example. LinkedIn just suggested Applied Storytelling to me as an organization of interest. Now, if I want to begin doing a virtual ethnography of this organization, I can look at the “official story” on their website and then compare to the version I get on their LinkedIn Company Page.  What can I learn by looking here? There are at least three sources of information (and please add to this list, I would love to hear from you all how it is that you use the site:

1. Who is following this organization? Whose radar screens have they pinged on? What does this tell you about their reach? How they connect with the public?
2. Who are their employees? How long have they been working there? What backgrounds and training do they bring with them? When they leave the organization, where do they go?
3. How many of them are on LinkedIn? What do their profiles look like? (to me this says something about the company’s attention to language) If you are actively wanting to network your way into the organization, see what groups they are a part of, what events they are attending.

Joining groups is important for many reasons. Being a part of groups is an organic way to find people with shared interests. The set-up provides you with the conversational fodder for networking, and it also helps in professional self-presentation. A quick look at the groups you are involved with can tell a visitor to your profile a great deal about you and what you care about.

How are you using LinkedIn?  share your stories with me on Twitter @CareerLinguist

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