LinkedIn and Other Perils of the Disconnected

Recently I asked my boss’s boss to write a recommendation of my work that I could post on my LinkedIn profile.  He responded immediately by saying he’d be glad to write the rec, but did this mean I was considering leaving my job? Absolutely not, was my eager and honest reply. This demonstrates a common misperception of the value of social media – that it’s merely a tool for job search.

Here’s my Top 7 Reasons for being on LI every single day:

  1. Portability. It’s easier to keep track of what I’ve loaded onto the cloud than what’s in hard copy. I am a fiend about tidiness and organization.  I do not like clutter. Paper is a necessity only when it’s a necessity. This is my only current resume – my LI profile.
  2. Refresh and Circulate. Keeping my Recommendations fresh and 360 degree is important to me. There’s far greater value in hearing what others have to say about someone than what they say about themselves. Be sure to include recommendations from customers, superiors and teammates.  It’s okay to ask for them.  People like helping others. It helps if you offer to write it for them – go ahead and do that in the recommendation request. They can always edit as needed or start from scratch.
  3. Hone your intro talk. Recommendations are a great way to compose your elevator speech. How others perceive you is key to expressing your greatest value. They are also a great reference when you have a bad day or a moment of self doubt. Once you have them, they are yours to keep.
  4. Own it. Your LI profile is your intellectual property. Don’t make it about your company, nor about your job function.  Make it about you and what you have accomplished.  That’s all anyone wants to know. Be succinct and be quantitative when possible. Metrics speak more tangibly than adjectives. Ditch the adjectives. They sound bush league.
  5. Call a spade a spade.  If your title does not accurately represent your role, nor your value, consider a title that does on your profile.  This isn’t company property.  It’s yours. Call yourself whatever you could comfortably say to a hiring manager without hesitation.
  6. Give to others. Be generous with your recommendations of others. I once heard it said that you get greater value from giving recommendations rather than receiving. The idea is that is sort of elevates you, in a way, if you are recommending someone else’s work. Don’t be insincere. But if someone has earned it, don’t wait for them to ask. Most people never will.  Write it and share it.  They will decide what, if anything, to do with it.
  7. Nip and tuck. Your LI profile should not be a repository of everything you’ve ever done. It should be carefully curated to highlight your expertise in the way that you wish to be perceived. Do we need to know you did some time in retail in between gigs? Do we need 30 years of work history, when you really hit your stride in the last 20? Be strategic. This goes online for perpetuity.

Go forth and be swell.