Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Leveraging LinkedIn to Contribute to the DBA Community & Attract Opportunities with Internationally-Oriented Organisations

LinkedIn has matured over the past decade and I can sincerely say it is well worth the time setting up your profile and actually completing it. It is pretty much the ultimate business networking tool-until replaced by a competitor of course! Much of facebooks’ features have been mimicked into the site also, which helps evaluate shared topic interests.

The prerequisite to fully take advantage of LinkedIn, would be completing one’s profile to the 100% level and obtaining as many recommendations as possible, although now with Endorsements (from LinkedIn contacts) the written recommendations have been fully taken over by the latter. Pre-MVP award, I had made efforts to request recommendations, or exchange them, to grow over the ten person threshold, since, at the time, I believed establishing credibility by means of online references is a significant prerequisite to mastering LinkedIn’s networking potential. If you recommend someone online, they are taking a leap of faith in you; since it is something they are willing to state in front of the entire world basically how that individual feels about your workplace conduct (i.e. playing nice in the sandbox). However, once the option of endorsements for specific skills became available, the ease of it simply opened the flood to hundreds of endorsements (if you are publicly contributing by blogs or writing, this has been my experience, at least, as you can see below).
LinkedIn endorsements, accumulated after five years of blogging, writing, speaking, etc.

You’ll be pleasantly surprised also, that if you describe the way you prefer to work exactly (e.g. personally, I described following Brad McGehee’s Exceptional DBA guide), or the methodology you follow, it will allow you to bring in qualified clients/opportunities and provide the chance to filter out unwanted mandates.  My current job in Montreal was found through recruitment agencies working ironically, in another province, although my current and former colleagues play hockey together!

LinkedIn also provides opportunities for diversity of work, which contributes to experience on a whole, proves invaluable and maintains the profession of being a DBA across platforms (or DBA polyglot as I have pushed), even if only minimal tasks executed over a few days here and there accumulate into a personal body of knowledge which bloggers can benefit from themselves, as well as the contribution to community.   Inside organisations, I encourage DBAs to post blogs to demystify our profession and approach, as well as help educate Developers and elude some pretty foul code.

Further, it should be treated as a longer than usual Curriculum Vitæ or Résumé in North America (unless you are in MX, or the province of QC) but in accordance to the format obviously, because perhaps if you place details in the wrong portion of your profile, an opportunity could easily be missed.  I love the way a mate here in Montreal (Martin Arvisais) describes it as a great place ‘pour vendre ta salade’ (cute local way of saying to sell your stuff in French). Now you can upload word documents to your LinkedIn profile directly for those who would like to see the traditional format. 

The other improvement, although not that recent, is that LinkedIn is much like a blog platform too, since you can share almost anything. It is method to make a pillar of the all-important (in this net-oriented generation), Online Persona.

Another good reason to do it is, to be quite forthright, showing how you can contribute to your professional community, and thus leveraging your contacts within this tool.  There are several SQL Server related groups in LinkedIn, my contributions through the LinkedIn groups are part of the reason why Canada’s MVP Lead approached me back in 2009 for a nomination (also, thanks to a referral from‘s Scott Stauffer, and frequent speaker, a SQL DBA based in Vancouver) – therefore, what more motivation could one implore to Link themselves In.

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