In talking to some parents at the school my kids go to, I realised that LinkedIn is not a social network that many of them seem to be familiar with; but it should be, as it can really help with finding a job (or building your own business).
Many parents I know absolutely love Facebook, which can be a lifeline when they are stuck at home with the kids, particularly if they live far away from friends and family support.
On Facebook, they can share small victories, look for support, get a good giggle and keep in contact with the people they love.
Many creative mums have also picked up on the highly visual social networks such as Pinterest and Instagram, sharing everything from their baking prowess to family shots and interior design inspiration.
Here are a few reasons why I think parents should check out LinkedIn:
1. Get yourself a job
As a parent you may have been out of the workforce for some time raising kids.
If you are ready to re-enter it, you would already know the adage ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.’
LinkedIn is a social network for professionals, so even long before you are thinking of returning to work and without even leaving the house, you can start connecting with people who might be in a position to offer you a job in the future or who might know someone looking.
On LinkedIn, you can, for instance, search for people by location or industry, and you could check out their profile before you shoot them off a connection request.
Therefore, even if you are seeking a career change from what you were doing pre-kids, you may be able to achieve that through LinkedIn.
2. Get your children a job
If you have a teenager at home and you want to get them some part-time work for the never-ending requests for money and high-ticket items, LinkedIn is also worth checking out.
The legal age to start a LinkedIn profile used to be 18 years, however recently it has been lowered to 13 years.
This enables them to start building their online resume and network young. If your child meets this requirement, encourage them to set up their very own LinkedIn profile. They can then start to connect with potential employers – even if it is just work experience or an internship to start with.
As an employer, I am never that impressed if the mum or dad does the legwork for the child. This does not display any kind of initiative, and to me it suggests a domineering parent. I am therefore less likely to give them a shot.
I would much rather the child have the get up and go to get in touch, and I am quite prepared to overlook the nerves and lack of skills if I can see a good attitude and initiative that I can harness as an employer.
3. Promote your business
If you have a home-based business, helping your partner to run one, or seeking to promote services or products to other business – LinkedIn is definitely the place you want to be in.
I meet a lot of people who think Facebook is the ‘be-all-and-end-all’.
Facebook is generally a good place to target consumers, while LinkedIn is generally a good place for targeting businesses.
Apart from setting up a profile for yourself (and, if relevant, your partner), definitely also look at LinkedIn to set up a free company page too, and then do some training on it so you know all the functions and features to start reaping business benefits from it.
4. Get yourself a confidence boost
As a parent, the focus can be so much on your kids and not yourself; it is easy to forget who you are and what you are good at.
If you need a confidence boost for the day, I encourage you to go onto LinkedIn and seek recommendations from previous employers that will not only make your LinkedIn profile look great, but that will also hopefully give you a spring in your step too.
5. Get your message through
Whilst email is well and good, statistics show that people are two to three times more likely to open a message sent via LinkedIn.
There are a number of reasons for this, but the main one is that people on LinkedIn will generally only accept connections that they are really willing to connect and engage with, thus making it very difficult for people to spam you.
If you were seeking a result that you were not getting from emailing people – for instance you may be looking for a great speaker for an event you are organising for the school, maybe you are trying to find a good doctor or specialist for your family, or some other expert on another topic – you could turn to LinkedIn.
You’ll find it much easier to find people on LinkedIn than on Google searches, and you’ll have a much higher chance of a direct message response.
If you have been surprised by some of the practical examples that LinkedIn can do – and believe that it might suit you – I encourage you to check it out!
If you’d like more training, we’d love to see you at one of our LinkedIn training courses! Do you use Linkedin? Do your kids? Has it helped you? Has this article made you consider looking at it? Why not leave a comment below.