Is LinkedIn for losers?
Nah. It’s just lame.
Granted, LI is a decent place to park your resume info. And it’s not a bad place to manage contact info. LI is also easy to use, and it’s free. But that’s about it.
Let’s face it — the typical LI profile tells you little about the person — only about the credentials. It’s an online resume that poorly structured. It’s your “image” dressed in Sunday-go-to-meetin’ clothes, and I can’t believe anyone is impressed by it.
What do most LI profiles tell us? Not much.
I thought I was the only one hating on LinkedIn until I heard Peter Shankman express similar thoughts last week at Cleveland PRSA. Does anyone really buy the “endorsements” on a LinkedIn profile? Geez, I hope not. LI endorsements are solicited from supporters, so you’ll never read a bad one. They’re about as valuable as a note from my mom saying, “Billy is a nice boy.”
Now, let’s compare LI to Facebook, as Shankman did in his Cleveland talk. Your FB page, used as directed, tells me a good bit about YOU. I learn about the music you like, the books you read, the hobbies you pursue. I might even see a few photos from your vacation trip, adding a human touch. Point is, I see a semi-real person, not a LinkedIn “suit.”
As more of the 30+ crowd begins using FB as a professional networking tool, those profiles will become a lot more tame than in past years, and people will allow broader access to them. On Facebook, it’s easy to be authentic. You can write a story that showcases your talents along with your personal attributes. Just don’t get carried away, OK? Example: I don’t list my NRA membership in online profiles, as it tends to scare people (and at times embarrass me). Same goes for dead deer pictures from hunting trips, which I do post on occasion — just to scare people.
Qualifications being equal, employers hire people they like. Facebook can help you paint a likable portrait. No so on LinkedIn. The LI format isn’t visual enough, and the membership, well, they take themselves way too seriously.
Your LI or FB profile alone still won’t get you a job offer. But raising your online presence can help. Here are some other ways you can do that:
Launch a blog and post regularly. Write on topics that interest you or topics tied to your business niche. Place a link on your FB and LinkedIn pages, add the URL to your business card and resume; promote your new posts on Twitter. A blog let’s you showcase your knowledge, your writing and your persona.
Use Twitter strategically. Forget “What are you doing now?” Set goals and define your audience. Then follow them and join their discussions. I’ve watched more than a few young professionals insert themselves into conversations with senior-level people and forge new connections. Again echoing Shankman, Twitter keeps you top-of-mind. Use it.
Create a digital portfolio. Too many job seekers, including some of my own students, don’t have online portfolios. Lots of people, now out of work or soon to be, simply haven’t taken this simple step. While I can’t cite links for you today, I’ve reviewed a few portfolio sites that a monkey could use — all for about $10 a month.
BTW, I have a LinkedIn account, but my profile has a Facebook attitude. I’m probably setting a bad example for my students, but what the hell. I have a job. For now.