To Be or Not to Be #LinkedIn

By Philip J.W. Smith

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To be or not to be LinkedIn. That is the question.

It is a question that I’ve been trying to see both sides of since reading an article on Forbes.com entitled, “Recruiters Say: Avoid LinkedIn at Your Peril”. Contributer, Allison Cheston, makes good arguments as to why some avoid and why others embrace the professional social media platform.

To be honest, after attending the LinkedIn Toronto event on Tuesday, May 15th, 2012 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, I’d have a hard time justifying one’s choice to avoid developing a LinkedIn profile. Here are some facts and statistics presented at the event which left an impression on me as a recruiter personally:

If you’re still not convinced of the value of a LinkedIn profile, let’s weigh the pro’s and con’s, shall we?!

Pros:

  1. Take advantage of a dominant North American user-base. Consider this - LinkedIn has over 143 million registered users worldwide, of which 43% are in the United States and 5 million are in Canada.
  2. Quickly and effectively expand your professional network.
  3. Discover useful and vital information about potential clients before a business meeting.
  4. Publicly document your career successes in real-time by updating your skills, promotions, certifications, and projects as they happen.
  5. Easily find and be found by executive search recruiters, so when the day comes in which you are actively searching for a new role, you’re not wasting time trying to get noticed.
  6. Maintain business and even personal relationships easily through one major platform.
  7. Be discovered by recruiters as a passive candidate through referral connections. After all, you may not be considering a transition, but you may greatly benefit from one!

Cons:

  1. Without taking the time to consistently build connections and develop a thorough profile on LinkedIn, it’ll be a detriment to the career opportunities to which you apply.
  2. The avoidance of a LinkedIn profile sends the message to business professionals, recruiters, and your own network alike that you are not qualified for roles that are client-facing or involve maintaining vital interpersonal relationships within a company or organization.
  3. Less likely to be considered for a promotion or an executive role considering there is a strong correlation between LinkedIn usage and personal income.

Cheston does address and respond to the most popular argument for not having a LinkedIn profile, saying:

When might it not be a good idea to have a LinkedIn profile? I frequently hear the concern from employed job seekers that having a LinkedIn profile is an automatic tip-off to an employer that you’re looking. Kedem’s advice on this is: “Everyone should have an existing LinkedIn profile, but if you update it, especially if you’re connected to co-workers, it will be noticed. My advice is to be thoughtful when you create your profile—don’t tinker too much. Make all the substantive changes at once so it’s not a tip-off. Adding connections is a different story—that shows that you’re a good networker, which is a positive thing.”

With all of that said, would appreciate hearing your LinkedIn stories. Comment below. 

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