One of the incredible blessings of belonging to the Life Together community is becoming part of a wider network of more than fifteen years of Life Together fellows and alumni. Each year at Love Matters we celebrate those connections and the incredible work they’ve brought into being.
But what if you live outside of the Boston area? In the past couple of years, Life Together has been exploring social media as a means to connect with Life Together alumni, donors, and friends from all across the country. We’re experimenting with the kinds of storytelling and image-sharing that can strengthen meaningful bonds over the internet.
This year, we are hoping to explore the potential of using LinkedIn to map the connections that already exist between alumni and fellows. You can participate by listing Life Together as a previous employer on your profile.
What is LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is a professional networking website where users can post and view each other’s public resumes. It’s particularly intriguing to our work because it allows people to request connections from alumni from Life Together or other fellowships from cohort years. It can be a jumping off point for new links in our community, even across distance.
While LinkedIn is an essential tool for recruiters and job-seekers, LinkedIn is a valuable resource even if you aren’t currently looking for a job. It can be a helpful tool for community organizing and professional networking for your organization’s goals.
Top 5 Reasons to Use LinkedIn:
1. Visualize connections
We’ve learned through our community organizing training that reaching out to “weak ties,” or those people who fall just outside of your close relationships, is the most effective to bring in new resource to a campaign or ministry. Weak ties can be friends of friends or colleagues of colleagues (or perhaps alumni of Micah Internship/Life Together). Career advisers will also tell you that most jobs acquired through networking come from those “weak” ties. With their connection tool, LinkedIn allows users to map out the connections between their strong ties and other people just beyond their networks (second or third connections). LinkedIn also makes it easy to introduce two of your connections or to request a connection from a former employee of your company.
2. Maintain Boundaries
In the online world, personal and professional boundaries can become blurred. Maintaining boundaries around our personal lives can be particularly difficult for clergy and others in helping professions. Because LinkedIn is a purely professional platform, messages and connections made through the site are clearly for professional intents and purposes. This also makes it more comfortable to accept a connection from someone you only know in a professional capacity.
3. Vocational Discernment
LinkedIn acts as a public, updatable resume. This allows users to explore other people’s professional journeys. As our fellows start discerning their next steps after their service year, we’ll be encouraging them to research what other alumni have done with their Life Together experience. We want them to see for themselves the wide diversity of paths before them!
4. Privacy and Control
What comes up when someone searches your name on Google? With a LinkedIn profile, you have greater control of what appears as the search results. LinkedIn acts as a public resume and a professional face to your online identity, and it's often one of the first results that will pop up when someone searches your name. LinkedIn’s privacy settings also allow you to set who can see what information about you. Unlike a Facebook timeline, your profile only displays information you want others to see.
5. It's free!
If you have any questions about setting up a LinkedIn profile, feel free to email Mia firstname.lastname@example.org.