Linking in

Man oh man, networking is hard.

A few nights ago, having driven myself crazy with my inability to find meaningful work for myself this summer, I decided to act on a recommendation a friend made several weeks ago; I made an account on LinkedIn.

According to a quick Wikipedia search, LinkedIn launched all the way back in 2003, though I imagine it didn’t pick up steam until a few years after that, much like Facebook. Although LinkedIn isn’t nearly as populated; as of January 2013 LinkedIn reported to have over 200 million users, which is a lot, but a drop in the bucket compared to the over a billion people using Facebook.

But then again, LinkedIn is a very different site. When I first heard about the website several years ago, I wasn’t convinced that I would actually ever need to use it. However, I’ve definitely had an about-face on that opinion.

Last month, I noticed that my friend Imran had posted about making a LinkedIn account, although he wasn’t sure why. A week or two later, when I met up with him and a few other friends at a show, he told me how he was initially skeptical about joining, but he’s convinced now since he got two job interviews from the site alone (and presumably one of those interviews actually turned into an actual job for him).

So on Sunday night I took the plunge and created an account. Except I kind of chickened out of doing anything past the initial “insert username/password” thing. Then last night I figured I shouldn’t just leave the account as half-assed as I did, so I got to work.

And boy oh boy does LinkedIn have quite the learning curve. There are all kinds of things you have to consider when you’re putting a profile together; which of your email contacts are actually worth making connections with, for instance? Who should you follow? Which groups will you join? Will that picture you put up look unprofessional to people who are viewing your profile for the first time?

And that’s not even the half of it. I had to then start figuring out how to make myself sound as attractive (to potential employers) as possible. Last night I thought I had put everything together well but then this morning I realized I wasn’t even close.

I’m now kind of happy with my profile, though I recognize that I’ll probably never be totally satisfied. I suppose if I start getting flooded with job offers I might be a little more confident, but for the time being I’m happy.

But anyways, just going through the motions of setting up, essentially, an internet resume made me realize that it’s not easy to build a network of people you know. Partially this is because you cannot (usually) build real rapport with someone until you meet them in person.

Take the people I know through Grayowl Point, for instance. There are all kinds of musicians I’m on good terms with, but I’m on even better terms with those musicians I’ve seen live and talked with after.

Put simply, there’s no substitute for going out and meeting people. Get on good enough terms with them and vast new possibilities can open up for you.

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