Sunday, July 24, 2011

Our LinkedIn group grows, and I eat a little crow

First, I'm thrilled to say our Aggie Journalists group on LinkedIn is growing every week, and just passed 300 members. Members have posted job info, queries to the group at large, A&M memories. Come jump in the pool at http://bit.ly/AJlinkedin!

Also, my apologies to LinkedIn, because up until recently people would ask me "How is joining LinkedIn useful?" and I would say something like, "Well, for us it's great because you can go in our group and see all the different places A&M journalism grads* have gotten to, but other than that, um..."

I hereby eat my words. Here are some very useful things to do with LinkedIn, and please add comments or send me more that you know of:
  • For job-hunters: If there is a particular company or companies you want to work at, you can search the entire LinkedIn directory by company and see if you are connected to anyone there -- your friends, and your friends' friends, show up first in search results. The Advanced Search options make it pretty powerful. (Although the person you know might not have influence over hiring, often they can tell you vital stuff like what working there is like, whether the company's in trouble or doing well, what openings might be likely in the future...)
  • For job-hunters: Or, work it the other way -- see where your old colleagues have gone. If they're at a company that's in your field, your friend's inside knowledge might give you a better shot at a job there. Are they hiring? What kind of qualifications do they want?
  • My favorite things about LinkedIn spring from the fact that people maintain their own listings. Instead of having to update your Rolodex when a comrade changes corporations, now your entire roster of contacts is constantly updated without you having to do a thing. I ran a roster of A&M jour grads for a while, and just keeping that current would be a full-time job. No more! Plus it vastly increases your contacts: People you might have lost touch with after a couple moves are still reachable.

There. Three cool things about LinkedIn. Tell us more!

* I say "A&M journalism grads," but the group is open to anybody who:
  • studied, or is currently studying, jour or ag jour at A&M
  • worked, or is currently working, at the Batt or Aggieland
  • came from A&M and wound up taking a job in a journalism- or PR-related field
  • "friends" -- which to me means anyone who'd like to help the cause of journalism education at A&M
Pretty much the only people I don't approve are people who appear to be interested in using our group as an email list for spamming press releases, promotions or other profiteering. I am adamant about not letting our group and contacts be used.