My dad is a C.P.A. who worked for the same accounting firm for 35 years. He had a typical career path: He started at a low-level manager position, worked hard and eventually became partner.
These days, that’s anything but typical. The average employee stays at a company for about two years. Climbing the corporate ladder is now acceptably done by frequently switching jobs.
In essence, there’s no loyalty anymore between employees and their companies — and vice versa — which is a shame. Business continuity, team spirit and other vital relationship ingredients that can provide a positive effect on businesses are all but lost. But businesses are better served by nurturing long-term employees.
Building Your Personal Rolodex
I recently read that the goal of business today is about adding new and influential contacts daily to your sphere of influence — i.e., building your networking Rolodex.
Stir in our current economy, with its impersonal, almost random, premature “because we can!” layoffs, and the need for business networking becomes more evident daily.
Which is why business networking Web sites, especially LinkedIn, are becoming the way of the future. LinkedIn is an amazing tool, and if you’re not currently a user, I suggest you join (it’s free). Right now, you can probably find 70 percent of the businesspeople you know using it. Over the next few weeks, I’ll delve into some of the basic and power user features of LinkedIn to help you prepare your network.
Where to Start (Even if You’re Already a User)
Consider this: There are people who are on LinkedIn (they’re listed), and then there those who are proactive in taking advantage of its many powerful features. Regardless of which type of user you may or may not be, I suggest you do four things immediately:
1. Contact everyone you’ve worked with in the past (who is already linked to you) — as well as present — and request to be endorsed.
2. Join as many LinkedIn groups as you can. You’re allowed to join up to 50.
3. And if you haven’t done so already, add “link” requests to all your contacts in all of your address books (and ones who you have worked with, ask them to endorse you).
4. Add your linked in URL to al of your outbound emails, both personal and business.
You also can link to me at www.linkedin.com/in/jimwgilbert. And if you aren’t a LinkedIn member already, by all means spend a few minutes to join.
Check back next week for tips on how to become a LinkedIn power user.
Jim Gilbert is president of Gilbert Direct Marketing, a full-service catalog and direct marketing agency. His LinkedIn profile can be viewed at www.linkedin.com/in/jimwgilbert or you can post a comment here or e-mail him at email@example.com.