I would hope that most professionals these days understand the importance that LinkedIn has become in social media, Internet presence, and career advancement. From having the ability to network with colleagues around the world to having an on-line biography for potential employers and recruiters to see, it is one of today’s “must have” tools for job seekers and professionals alike. RELATED: 7 Tips To Best Utilize LinkedIn To my surprise, last year I received an e-mail from the folks at LinkedIn congratulating me for having one of the top 1% most viewed LinkedIn profiles of the 200 million members in 2012. There are a couple of things you have to know about me to understand why this was such a surprise and then I would like to share what I have learned to better utilize LinkedIn. First, I come from a field where being anonymous was a key piece of staying successful (no, I am not a hacker), but have been in the law enforcement/security/intelligence field for over 30 years. People in my field generally do not want to be or are not allowed to be publicly identified for a variety of reason. But for me, the tragic incidents of September 11th changed that when I had Public Relations people tell me that the general public wants to know whether they are safe and what people in my field were doing to ensure it – so I did my first media interview. Second, as you may have guessed from above, being in my field for over 30-years makes me 1) a subject matter expert 2) a middle-aged person who didn’t grow up with the Internet and social media. In fact, not more than 10 years ago I swore I would never be on twitter or LinkedIn (thus the surprise at how far I had come) – it is a generational thing. So, as I began to do media interviews, lecture, and write for numerous blogs and publications, I began to see the benefits of social media, especially LinkedIn. In fact, many people from the media told me that before they contacted me for an interview they looked at my LinkedIn profile. I currently have over 1,100 connections on LinkedIn, and whether you think this is high or low, my profile is still constantly being viewed and there are some things I have learned about being successful on LinkedIn if you wish for it to help advance your career or land a job.
Jeffrey A. Hawkins is a senior public safety/security professional with over 30-years of diverse experience working for profit, not-for-profit and government organizations on a local, regional, and global level. Hawkins is a frequent speaker and media authority working with Fox News, CNN, Associated Press, USA Today, Time Magazine and hundreds of print, radio and TV stations across the country on the topic of security and public safety across the country.