LinkedIn was not the first social networking site I tried. I got my start with Netflix, then expanded into GoodReads, taking advantage of "sharing" tools so that my friends and I could recommend movies and books to each other. Facebook was a long time coming. In between, I experimented with LinkedIn for professional networking, to see if I could develop a certain type of professional persona.
"Our mission is to connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful. "
I have a number of jobs, have had a number of careers, have an educational background with little direct relationship to anything else on my resume. I saw LinkedIn as a way to focus on one professional area I wished to develop, and which was in serious need of a network. I also believed that if I presented a public profile that said I was a certain kind of journeyman, I could start to believe I was.
I wanted a network that was unrelated to my Millwork, which was for a giant multi-national with thousands of employees and alumni-employees that would take over my page if I let it. I wanted this network to be devoted to my other work.
I record audio books, magazine articles, and generally describe things to people who can not see them. That's a job, you say? Yes it is. As the t-shirts say, "there are just some things a guide dog can't do." I managed to manipulate the resume fields to reflect my descriptive audio experiences, and the education fields to allow me to identify as "classmates" students I had known in my years as a student affairs officer. Two organizations I work for -- Radio Reading Service and Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic -- are national, so listing them as employers allowed me to find "colleagues" at affiliate studios.
"LinkedIn is an interconnected network of experienced professionals from around the world, representing 170 industries and 200 countries. You can find, be introduced to, and collaborate with qualified professionals that you need to work with to accomplish your goals."
LinkedIn will let you know there are new members you have something in common with.
New members of social networks like to build their contacts, and since they were offered, this seems like a good place to start. I would open with a note like this: "Welcome to Linked In. I am an X-yr volunteer living in New England, looking to network with people who do similar work. Please reply if you would like to link networks."
Because they are offered to me as colleagues (we have the same workplace in our profiles), I do not need to know their email addresses to contact them this way. As recipients, they may "Accept," "Ignore," or choose "I don't know this person." Many do not accept, but others have, which has given my network some national breadth.
Here, 600 words later, I will get to my point. If this were 5th grade, my essay would be over already. I always did have that problem.
Recently, I received a "restriction notice" from LinkedIn that I had too many "I don't know this person" replies, which LinkedIn interprets as a complaint. LinkedIn had put me on networking restriction. for networking.
"Searching your email contacts (hotmail.com, gmail.com, yahoo.com, aol.com) is the easiest way to find people who you already know on LinkedIn."
According to my AOL address list, I "already know" Conde Nast, American Airlines and some people who promise they can provide "what she really needs." These are the addresses they would like me to link to, not people in my field I have not yet met.
"[DON'T]...invite people with whom you have no prior relationship to join your network"
I have completely missed the point of networking. This is not how we worked the Fall Mixers. One was supposed to mingle.
So I clicked their "I get it" check box and was hit with a "don't let it happen again" email with the subject line "You have been unrestricted."
"We thank you for agreeing to comply with our policies and know that together we can maintain an outstanding website for all of our members." ("I'm not mad at you, Christina, I am mad at the dirt.")