Note: LinkedIn’s Reading List no longer exists, much to the chagrin of me and other.
In Meg Guiseppi’s comprehensive blog entry, 29 Biggest LinkedIn Mistakes (expanded from 20), she alludes to the importance of utilizing Applications. She specifically mentions Box.net Files (#3) and later on talks about using the others (#28) but doesn’t elaborate on which of the others to use. Granted Box.net Files is a great way to post your document files and further brand yourself, I must confess I’m particularly fond of one application that others seem to overlook…Reading List by Amazon.
Currently there are 20 applications that you can use from your LinkedIn Profile or Home Page. Some you might be familiar with are WordPress, Google Presentations, Events, Box.net Files, Polls, to name a few. So why am I enamored with Reading List? There are three major reasons that come to mind.
It aids you in your networking. You can tell a lot about a person based on his/her choice of books. Someone who reads any book by Malcolm Gladwell—The Tipping Point, Outliers, What the Dog Saw, Blink—will immediately get my attention and prompt me to invite him/her to be part of my network. As well, anyone who has a penchant for Martin Yate, gets my nod. On the other hand, if the Twilight series is someone’s choice of good literature, I will pass on this person. (I must confess my hypocrisy; I’ve read all of the Twilight saga. But I wouldn’t include them on my list.)
Your reading list can reveal your expertise. I once asked the LinkedIn community what types of books they include on their Reading List. The majority said job-related books are what populate their list, with perhaps some pleasure reading thrown into the mix. This seems to make good sense. Books on management, finance, the job search, or marketing and sales, should dominate a person’s reading list based on their occupation. Some of the books that dominate my reading list are from some of the best known authors in the career development industry. I’ve learned a lot from them and have forged some relationships through networking.
Your Reading List can help in your personal branding. Meg is an expert on branding, so I wonder if she agrees with this assertion. If you consistently read books on a particular topic, one could assume that you are honing your knowledge to become a reckoning force in your industry. Someone who reads countless number of books on gardening or photography, for example, shows an obvious love for these subjects and, most likely, has read enough to become an expert. This leads back to keeping your Reading List professional, as well as writing comprehensive recommendations that demonstrate your understanding of your occupation and industry.
Reading List by Amazon is LinkedIn’s effort to bring people with similar interests together. Call it a virtual reading club. You may not see the value I obviously see in the Reading List application, but at least take note of what others are reading and see if their choice in literature jives with yours, gives you an understanding of their knowledge, and makes you see some potential for branding. If you engage in this application, tell people about it…open a window to your personality.