David Rains,
Commercial Finance Consultants

Five years ago, if you said, “I am on LinkedIn,” people would not have understood what you meant. Today, if you tell people you’re not on LinkedIn, they think there must be something wrong with you. It seems like everyone has a profile now, and is even in a race to see how many connections they can make. A profile on this popular site is like a professional website; If you don’t have one, some would question if you are legitimate. LinkedIn depends on both individuals and companies to create profiles, thus leading to a more extensive network.

Why is LinkedIn the best professional networking site? The first reason is its popularity. While this doesn’t sound like a good answer, this is a crucial element of its success. Clients use the site to see who you are and obtain business references. Employers use it for hiring, to build general goodwill for the company, and when touting their employees’ promotions and accomplishments. The individual gets to share their experience, their title, their charities, what they do for a living, and almost anything else. This combination creates an online resume for all to view; becoming to business what Facebook is to personal, social networking.  

Another great aspect of LinkedIn is its versatility. It allows companies to post job openings, and will even notify qualified candidates who might be interested when a new opportunity becomes available. Individuals can share their resumes and apply for jobs directly through the site. People all across the globe can network, exchange ideas, and share different perspectives. The privacy controls are flexible, allowing individuals to choose what information they show the public. The site is also free, but offers paid memberships for those who want extra features. These, coupled with the user-friendly interface, are among the many reasons LinkedIn is the top site for professional networking.

In recruiting, LinkedIn is a great tool to find new talent.  With the paid subscriptions, there are numerous ways to perform searches such as keywords, specific job titles, or even proximity searches. You can examine each profile, and narrow down the selection to the most qualified individuals. Once you have identified the talent, it is easy to reach out to those individuals. LinkedIn doesn’t always provide a phone number or an email address, as this is something an individual can choose to show, the website does allow direct messaging, which will trigger a communication to their email.

LinkedIn also allows you to connect with people you might have recently met or worked with in the past. It’s the perfect way to stay in touch and maintain a professional relationship. This type of networking is always a good idea. You never know when your organization might need someone who you are connected to, or, vice versa, one of your connections might have an opportunity for you to consider. It’s much easier to reach out in those special situations if you’ve spent that time building a relationship with them, even if it is only on LinkedIn. In addition, once you connect with someone, you may also be able to get to know their contacts, expanding your network even further.

Of course, LinkedIn is only as accurate as people choose to make it. Some profiles are set up and never touched again. While this can be a problem, it is like all databases, it requires some due diligence to ascertain if the profile on this popular business networking site is accurate. That being said, no matter what area of the business you are responsible for, be it  HR, procurement, sales or operations, LinkedIn has become an essential tool on every level of business.

Author: David Rains is the Founder and President of Commercial Finance Consultants and FactorHelp. In the past 20 years, CFC has place over 14% of the ABL and Factoring industry while FactorHelp has been instrumental in helping over 50 start-ups enter the industry.  David’s contact info is dar@searchcf.com or his office is 469-402-4000.

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