For a long time I’ve considered it my mission to recruit people to join LinkedIn, like a college recruiter goes after blue chip basketball players. But after having a discussion a few days ago with someone in my workshop, it finally dawned on me that my persuasive style of exciting people to join LinkedIn might be too strong for some people.
After a workshop, where I spoke about LinkedIn like it’s the solution to finding a job, a very nice woman approached me and said she just wasn’t ready for LinkedIn. She cited many reasons for this, including not understanding a word I said (not my fault, she assured me), not sure if she can master the mechanics of LinkedIn, being more of an oral communicator, etc.
As she spoke, nearly in tears, I remembered some of the statements I made, “To increase your chances of getting a job, you must be on LinkedIn.”
Oh my gosh, I thought, as this woman was pouring out her soul to me, I created despair in her. It occurred to me that a few people like her are not ready to be on LinkedIn, never will be. Because I am active—to a fault—on LinkedIn, doesn’t mean everyone must be active or even a member.
I can’t tell people they must be on LinkedIn. In fact, in a moment of honesty, I have told my customers in other workshops that, “LinkedIn isn’t for everyone. If you’re not ready for LinkedIn, you will only be frustrated.” Perhaps I need to lay off the hard sell, because LinkedIn isn’t for everyone for the following reasons:
1. You’re afraid of being on the Internet
End of the discussion right here. If you’re afraid of being on the Internet, concerned your personal identity will be violated, your financial information will be at risk; there’s no convincing you that you’re safe on LinkedIn. No one is completely safe.
As long as I’ve been on LinkedIn, I’ve known of one breach. It was minor, required me to change my password. LinkedIn even suggests you provide your telephone number for added security. Still, if you’re afraid of being on the Internet. This is a moot point.
2. You want to socialize with friends
Guess what I’m going to say. That’s right, take your socializing to Facebook. Earlier I said I had no time for Facebook and no interest. Well recently I joined Facebook, and I love it. Facebook is where I can post photos of a snowstorm in April. Proudly post photos of my family and bobbleheads.
LinkedIn is no place for politics, religion, or women clad in bikinis. There have been many shared updates that were inappropriate for LinkedIn, and they continue to come. If you feel the need to post garbage like this, open Facebook or Twitter accounts.
3. You’re satisfied with a poor profile
The one and done attitude just ain’t gonna cut it. It’s not enough to simply copy and paste your résumé to your profile and leave it at that. People who are content doing this will hurt themselves not only by displaying a poor profile that fails to brand them, but also reducing the number of keywords necessary to be found.
Your LinkedIn profile is a networking document; it is proactive. Your résumé is a document you send in response to an job posting. Your résumé is reactive.
4. You don’t want to connect with others
This is a show stopper. If you’re unwilling to connect with people you don’t know on LinkedIn, this is akin to going to a networking event and not speaking to a single soul. “Oh, but I connect to the people I know, like my former supervisor.”
That’s a pretty limited list of connections. Very carefully chose quality connections. If you’re not embracing meeting and learning about new people on LinkedIn, you are wasting your time For a better understanding of who you should connect with, read my article.
5. You’re not willing to put in the time
My advice to LinkedIn members is that they have to dedicate at least four days (4) a week to LinkedIn; and spend half an hour a day posting updates, commenting on updates, and, if willing, write LinkedIn long posts.
Ideally one will spend an average of once a day a week. If you’re not willing to put in the time, your excellent profile and healthy number of connections will all be for naught. Many of my workshop attendees balk at this, but I tell them this is the time to show your grit.
6. You don’t understand its purpose
For those of you who are thinking, Bob, aren’t you being a little judgmental? Aren’t you being a little harsh? I don’t think I am. Too many people have opened accounts many years ago, simply to have never visited them until they need it…when they’re unemployed.
LinkedIn is a networking application for when you’re employed and unemployed. In other words, it was developed to help businesses create partnerships, developed soft leads, reach a broader channel. These are the people who are using it correctly.
Job seekers who use it only when they need a job are missing the boat. Their opportunity to network is when they’re working. It’s a full-time endeavor until you retire, or until something better comes along. What more can be said?
7. You’re not embracing change
LinkedIn is going through constant change. It’s akin to keeping up with the plot of Game of Thrones. With the new user interface (UI), people are at their wits end understanding the new look and finding features which were once easily found.
If you take the time to play with LinkedIn’s UI, you’ll find it’s not too difficult to understand. LI’s goal was to streamline the platform, make it lighter and quicker to use. Yes, it has done away with features that were once on the basic plan. Yes, we now have to pay for advance search and tagging and unlimited searches, but so be it.
You must also download the LinkedIn phone app to better understand it. This will help you to better understand the new UI; as they are almost identical. Embrace change, people. If you’re not willing to embrace all this change, LinkedIn isn’t for you.
8. You’re not looking for a job
I presented how to use LinkedIn for business to a local credit union. When I asked my opening question, “Why would you want to use LinkedIn?” someone said, “To find a job.” Laughter ensued. But this is how many people think, they only need LinkedIn when they’re out of work.
That’s a misconception people have; when they’re working, they no longer have to use LinkedIn. In this post, 10 reasons why you should use LinkedIn after you’ve landed a job, I give as one reason which is you never know when you’ll have to contact the people in your network. LinkedIn is insurance.
Did you know that LinkedIn was originally developed as a sales tool, not a job search application. Sales, marketing, and business development continue to use LinkedIn to build relationships. If you’re in a role similar to these, or any role for that matter, it’s important to represent you company with a strong profile.
9. One more
Another reason I hear from people who resist LinkedIn is their lack of desire to be an exhibitionist. While I find this a bit silly, I also wonder if by exposing my thoughts and feelings, I’m a bit of an exhibitionist.
Perhaps the word, “exhibitionist” is a strong word, but I sometimes wonder why I spend so much time on LinkedIn. Why do I share updates so often? Why do I distribute my and others’ posts? Why do I read posts to gather information. Shall we call it networking?
Photo: Flickr, Murel Merivee
Photo: Flickr, Brenda Valmont