I'm on LinkedIn - Now What??? A Guide to Getting the Most out of LinkedIn
By Jason Alba
Happy About, 124 pages, $19.95
A few years ago I began receiving e-mail from people I knew, people I barely knew and people I didn't know, asking me to become their "friend" or join one of various social networks. I ignored them all, mainly because a while back, I received a profusion of requests from a variety of acquaintances to update my personal information through a Web site that I later learned used it for nefarious marketing purposes. Not me. No thanks. I'd managed to mostly avoid the whole online social networking thing. (In the interest of full disclosure, this summer I became an editor and content provider for Moli.com, a site that combines networking with other functions.) Several months ago, as I sought new employment opportunities, I was urged by various people to take a look at LinkedIn, a business networking Web site. My only knowledge of it had come through those annoying invitations. But signing up was easy enough, so I did it. Then I picked up a copy of this little book, and though I haven't fully implemented his advice, author Alba does a fine job of explaining how to use the site and the services it provides as a facilitator for networking. Taking the perspective of a job seeker rather than an expert or company representative, he takes readers through each step of building a profile and reaching out to others, explaining things clearly and in a "what's in it for me?" (or "why bother?") manner, which I appreciate. Alba emphasizes that LinkedIn is, essentially, only as good as you make it, so you are obligated to complete your profile and include as much information as possible. This is where I get a little nervous. But in order to leverage LinkedIn's networking capabilities, you have to get over these inhibitions. Though this book provides a very good introduction to LinkedIn, it is, Alba admits, not comprehensive. But it's still worthwhile and quite useful.