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
Great points, Steven. I have since changed my stance on Facebook. I see it as great entertainment, a place where you can really be you. In terms of LinkedIn being useful in the job search, given that less than 20% use it on a regular basis–and from informal polling–I don’t see enough job seekers using it to their full advantage. Usually 30%-50% of my attendees are not on LinkedIn, and I’m not sure how many jump on it right after my workshops. I bet very few of them.
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Linkedin is not a dependable platform. They will restrict your account without notice and lock your data. Which means if you update and try to use Linkedin for jobs and background information, it will all disappear. While restricted your profile also disappears from any view. So do not put link on business cards. They have no customer support to speak of. just bots and automated emails. Do not read posts and comment on them. Someone who may not like your reply can report you and whalla you are restricted, with min 3 days to 2 weeks before an answer to appeal. No information is give except automated “violation of user agreement” . There are many scams and scam accounts…..You will get the “You’re handsome, your wife is lucky” script (because they seem to all say the same thing). You report this nothing happens, but all information is deleted (by Linkedin with no way to hold them accountable. But their (scammers)profile will continue. not a dependable platform……….
And yet you’re on LinkedIn. Everyone has a right to their opinion but you’re not making any friends with outbursts like this. Just saying.
Bob: Your posts are always insightful and usually on the mark. I agree with what you have said. I have found an interesting trend that probably extends from your point about people making worthwhile connections. I know of several senior executives that have killed their LI accounts or have asked their assistants to filter and manage requests. So, they really aren’t using the UI because they don’t have the time or are tired of getting numerous requests for jobs, coffee, advice, etc. Maybe the new UI will take care of some of this and those that are truly serious will pay for LI.
And on to the other topic- Facebook job postings. Does this further blur the lines? Does it take away from LI? I am watching this closely.
Sheila, your comment makes me wonder just who benefits from LinkedIn. According to you, many exec level employees don’t utilize it. What about teachers, IT, finance, doctors, lawyers, technicians, etc? Certainly sales and marketing, as well as unemployed and, as a result, recruiters. All of these occupations are represented, but not all of them use it.
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I’m not on LinkedIn because as an introvert, I’m been burned too many times by so-called “ways to build a network”.
No social network ever helped me achieve my goals–I did!
No social network ever helped change a flat tire/loan money/babysit kids and other hands on life tasks.
I think Linkedin works for some people and those people, seeing ONLY through their lens and from their favourable experiences, preach to others that Linkedin is the one true path. What those people don’t consider though, is that we’re not living in a perfect world and people, including employers do judge others by appearance, race etc. When you share your experiences with Linkedin advocates, they often try to tell you that you’re doing something wrong. It’s always you. Now, I took a professional selling course while studying marketing and 40% of the course was studying Linkedin. We had to keep re-doing our profiles according to what Linkedin data says. Finally, after an exhausting several weeks, I had what was considered a perfect Linkedin profile. Each morning like clock work, I visited Linkedin, tried to connect with people and checked stats: tons of views but nada. Reached out to recruiters –– that friends used and found high paying jobs through –– and they thought my résumé/profile was solid and I should keep at it. “Something will turn up. Give it time. Don’t get discouraged”, they said, but none found me work. To keep this as neutral as possible, I’ll spare you some of the double talk and stuttering by recruiters when they called to tell me about a company they wanted recommend me to. Incoherent feedback but I know what they don’t want to say. To prove my point, I made a list of companies who viewed me then I turned off my profile and I applied to positions at those places through their website. Whadya know? I got calls from each one, had an amazing phone interviews then decided not to follow through with in-person interviews. Why? On their site they can’t see what I look like. On the phone, I’m well spoken but if I show up in a suit they can see me & it’s over right there. With Linkedin they can see your picture/race, reject you instantly and not have to explain. Btw, Linkedin recommends using a Photo. I liken it to the dating app syndrome. People will make UNCONSCIOUS judgements about others and swipe left. Employer biases are often unconscious too and will reject a candidate even if they meet or exceed job requirements. It boils down to whether they see themselves being able to look at you or work with you everyday. It’s about whether you’re a “fit”. Bottom line is, 10 different people will tell you 10 different things. Some will even gaslight you. Linkedin networks never worked for me either. It’s like a large friends list with little to no interaction. I’ve networked to the point of exhaustion & wasted a lot of money but that’s another story. I’m not saying that your 9 points aren’t valid. I’m saying that everything ain for everybody