Q. You always mention the importance of being on LinkedIn. Give me three good reasons why I should spend time on my profile. We all got by without LinkedIn for years. Why is it now so important?
A. I’ve used LinkedIn for several years. Here’s why I think it’s valuable:
■ It is a networking tool for professionals. You have probably read that networking is key to landing a new job. LinkedIn is not a replacement for in-person networking, but it is a good shortcut to building a network of contacts. There are many ways to build your network and LinkedIn is one of them.
■ It is easy to find passive job seekers on Linkedin. Say you are working long hours and completely devoted to a looming deadline. You barely have time for lunch. You are arriving to work super-early. You check your personal e-mail and there is a message from a recruiter asking if you have interest in a new career opportunity. The role looks ideal for your background and career interests.
You review the e-mail more closely after work. At lunch, you e-mail the recruiter back with a quick note expressing interest and explaining that you can talk, but only after hours. In short, you were not actively looking for a new job but you are open to exploring opportunities.
■ It is an effective way to find people with similar professional interests. LinkedIn offers the opportunity to join groups of professionals related to your career interests. It’s not only an avenue for building contacts for an eventual job search, but also a way to keep current with your industry or field.
In short, technology has changed the job-hunting process, providing another tool that can help you get ahead.Patricia Hunt Sinacole is president of First Beacon Group, a human resources consulting firm in Hopkinton.