LinkedIn: Use It Wisely in Your Career Strategy
I make no secret of the fact that I consider LinkedIn a valuable job search and career management tool. I recommend it strongly to my clients for that reason. However, as with most things, I know there are caveats regarding how and when LinkedIn is used–in other words, how you manage your participation as part of your overall plan. So here are just a few key points to consider when integrating LinkedIn into your career-related activities.
Caveat #1: Confidentiality is a Challenge
As I’ve mentioned before, if you’re conducting a confidential job search and decide it’s time to update or revamp your LinkedIn profile accordingly, you need to be aware that unless you turn off your activity notification feature first, everyone in your network will receive notice that you’ve just updated your profile. Assuming you’d rather not overtly bring that fact to the attention of your employer (including the colleagues you work directly with, as well as your boss), that notification is probably not a good thing. Remember, you can always turn the notification feature back on after you’ve posted your updated profile.
Caveat #2: LinkedIn Keeps Changing Things
I don’t know how often LinkedIn changes how various features work or makes other changes you might want to know about, but I do know it happens–and you won’t necessarily know unless you review your account and related information regularly. One of my colleagues recently posted on an e-list that when she was putting in a client’s new profile information–specifically, populating or repopulating/editing an employment section–there was a check box that had to be UN-clicked to prevent the client’s connections from being notified about the update, even though his activity notification feature had been turned off! She thought it might not be on everyone’s profile–maybe only on the latest/present employment section. However, it does raise a red flag for any LinkedIn user engaged in a confidential job search.
Caveat #3: New Skills “Endorsement” a Time-Suck?
In my professional groups, LinkedIn’s new skills “endorsement” feature is a controversial topic. Many people are viewing it as a time-suck feature with little or no long-term value, while others say the feature is in the early phase of its existence and it’s too soon to decide one way or the other. So far, I haven’t run across anyone who says it’s a great idea. Apparently, its primary purpose is to help recruiters search for people with skills they need, maybe with added value because others have “endorsed” the individual as possessing those skills. However, the endorsement can be done with a knee-jerk click of your mouse, and I’m not sure how much that says about the thought behind the endorsement or the value of it.
Your Needs Determine How to Use LinkedIn
You can’t just put LinkedIn on autopilot and let it run without paying attention. That doesn’t mean you have to go on 5 times a day to see what might have changed, what new action you need to take, etc. It simply means you must evaluate the specific needs of your job search and career management and then make your LinkedIn participation a thoughtful part of that picture.