Career Guide

It’s How You Use the Tool that Counts

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A hammer is just a paperweight until it’s put into the hands of a person who intends to build something of value. Millions of people belong to LinkedIn. Millions have gone through the process of creating a profile and posting some information about their careers. Millions have sent out LinkedIn invites to their co-workers, clients, friends, family members, and college friends. But the reality is, through my informal polling, many of those LinkedIn profiles lay dormant. Until…that moment comes when all of a sudden you realize that you hate your current job, or you need to move across the country, or your company has announced a round of layoffs to “right-size” the company.

While LinkedIn makes it incredibly easy to store all of those contacts, what many people fail to understand is that it’s just a tool. It’s not your actual network. Your network is the relationships with those you value. And, who value you. LinkedIn makes it incredibly easy to build those relationships, as well as to nurture their potential and help you connect with others with whom you may find of value, and who may value what you offer. But, if you don’t use it, you may never realize its potential to help you write the next sentence in your career story. So, how can you leverage the potential of LinkedIn? Start by asking.

When you send an invite to someone, or when you receive an invite from another person, don’t stop at “Accept Invitation.” Consider taking the initiative. Reach out to your new LinkedIn connection and start a dialogue. Look carefully at your new connection’s profile to see what you have in common.

Ask a question: “Hey, what do you think about this? Or that?”

Send an invitation to get together for a cup of coffee.

Look at their connections to see who you have in common.

Find out if they’re going to go to an upcoming industry conference or seminar.

Share with your new connection a problem that you’re trying to solve.

Ask what challenges they’re facing.

The power of LinkedIn lies not within the technology itself, but the power that the technology can unleash – mutually beneficial business relationships built on trust and value.

Stephen Dupont, APR, vice president of public relations and branded content, Pocket Hercules

Photo of Stephen Dupont, APRStephen Dupont, APR, is vice president of public relations and content marketing at Pocket Hercules, a Minneapolis-based full-service advertising/public relations/digital branding firm. Dupont has more than 25 years’ experience in representing Fortune 500 corporations, leading nonprofits and start-up ventures, providing services in the area of marketing communications, crisis communications, branding, content marketing, and media strategy and buying. He is a frequent contributor to PRSA publications, The Strategist and Public Relations Tactics. He has led three Silver Anvil-winning campaigns, and has served as the president of the Minnesota Chapter of PRSA. To learn more about Stephen Dupont, visit his LinkedIn page at, his blog at, or


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Stephen Dupont

1 Comment

  • Dear Stephen,

    I am curious to know if you have any positive remarks regarding LinkedIn? I agree to an extent that it can be minimally utilized tool. How do you think that LinkedIn can be more utilized?


    Emily Phillips

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