Should I Bother with LinkedIn?
We have seen plenty of fashions come and go over the years within the career development landscape, each one promising to change job-seeking forever in the way one presents themself. Through all of these developments however, the CV has shown remarkable resilience. Technology has changed how it’s saved, displayed and submitted, but it remains the fundamental document for marketing your skills to potential employers or clients. Therefore, if you invest serious resources in building a powerful CV, why would you need to do the same with your LinkedIn profile? Is it just a fad? We seem to be asked such questions every day now. People often lump LinkedIn into the same category as Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms, deeming it as yet another online device with which to chat, browse, upload pictures and generally kill spare time. However, there is a distinct difference in that LinkedIn is all about your professional presence and image. You don’t need to be a social media junkie (logging in and pruning your profile continually) to benefit from existence on LinkedIn.
The first advantage is one of scale – now with 150+million members, it’s a vast and massively growing network. Secondly, core purpose is important here – unlike Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn is specifically aimed at allowing people to interact and become visible to each other for business purposes. As a professional in today’s connected world, if you ignore opportunities to be noticed or find others who could matter to you, it could be at your detriment.
Consider what might happen if someone becomes interested in you, having read your terrific new CV. The next step many employers take in vetting at management/senior level is to Google your name. Such a search generating a bare or unpolished profile could do your image, and crucially your chances, serious harm. If this person cuts corners or lacks presentation in such a visible way, what does that say about them?
Taking the time and effort to optimise your LinkedIn profile completes the picture in the eyes of many recruiters nowadays; if you do so at the same time as your CV is redeveloped, it’s all the easier to synchronise the two. Firstly, this means you have covered all bases in your visible presence, and secondly you will become better connected. Once you have a watertight profile in place, the opportunities for using LinkedIn as the basis for serious networking (should you wish to) are great and growing. Joining relevant professional groups (there are thousands) and posting to them using your expertise will help draw attention to your skills and knowledge. Providing recommendations to past/present colleagues, vendors and others can generate both goodwill and reciprocal endorsements, thus enhancing your credibility. In fact, once your online networking gathers momentum in this way, the possibilities are endless…