One of my little jobs this year is to work with the School of Business at Otago Polytechnic to look at whether LinkedIn could work as an ePortfolio.
For those of you who have never looked at LinkedIn, it is a website that has similar functionality as Facebook, but is used for professional networking and marketing oneself for employment. My understanding is that LinkedIn is highly used in the USA and I saw somewhere (sorry I cannot remember where) that in the USA, having a LinkedIn account increased your chances by 30% of getting a job.
The Otago Polytechnic School of Business is going to require its students to have a LinkedIn account this year. To me, it seems a logical thing to do in view of it being a tool that is used so much in the business field (although I have to admit, I do not know how effective it is in New Zealand as a means of finding work).
We're also looking at ePortfolio, so rather than adding yet another thing for students to do, and incurring additional cost, I am looking at the feasibility of LinkedIn as business tool and ePortfolio.
More than a CV
There's no doubt that LinkedIn is a user-friendly CV tool. You do have the ability to write additional information about your job, education experience etc. I like the way you can connect with others, and really important...that you can join networking groups that explore any number of professional interests. I also like the way you can feed in other applications like SlideShare so people can see evidence of your work.
What LinkedIn lacks in terms of ePortfolio is the ability to extend your thoughts, reflections, goals and aims for life, and other work that does not clearly fit into the "employment" or "education" categories.
What LinkedIn does allow you to do is feed in your blog. So I think the thing to do is keep a blog that records your reflective writings and other activities that do not fit into the current LinkedIn framework. Having said that, when I tried to feed this blog into my LinkedIn account, it didn't work very well for me. So this is something I need to investigate further. I also need to investigate further how easy it is to attach documents like certificates into LinkedIn.
How do you use LinkedIn?
I'd really love to hear from anyone else who uses LinkedIn, especially with students and in the education setting. Do you think LinkedIn can be used as an effective ePortfolio or should it be regarded purely as a CV tool? What do you see as the advantages and disadvantages of LinkedIn as an ePortfolio platform?
Image: 'Panama Business 2'