Is LinkedIn still relevant?

I have a LinkedIn account and profile – here it is:

I think it’s OK – nothing special, nothing outstanding. I’ve put a little effort into making it what it is, making sure it’s up to date, professional, and that I have appropriate and relevant connections. I am fully aware of how this ‘shop window’ into my work can work for or against me at any time, even when I’ve been ignoring it for months on end.

Those who know me will know that I moved from Bournemouth University to the University of Leicester in 2012, and again on to the University of Warwick in 2014. I am certain that online professional persona was used as part of the interview/hiring process (let’s face it, they’d have missed a trick if they didn’t use them!) as well as my CV and application forms – my Twitter feed, my LinkedIn profile, my (under-used) Google+ stream, SlideShare presentations, published books, etc.

This is why it’s important to spend a little time keeping your profile up to date, trim the connections (or not accept those you don’t know in some way), post updates and projects, etc.

This LinkedIn Snakes and Ladders from Sue Beckingham is just perfect for anyone who has a LinkedIn profile, student or staff. Sue makes important suggestions on what will help or hinder your profile, like adding projects, publications, and a professional photo (help) or sharing trivia, posting insensitive or unprofessional updates (hinder).

LinkedIn snakes or ladders? from Sue Beckingham

My question is, do we still need LinkedIn? Are those of use who are active elsewhere (Twitter, FaceBook, Google, blogs, etc.) doing enough already, or do we need this ‘amalgamator’ that is LinkedIn to pull our work together? Do you use LinkedIn to find out about people you encounter?

Note: I don’t use the LinkedIn Premium. Does anyone?

Image source: Patrick Feller (CC BY 2.0)

  • I think LinkedIn is relevant, particularly to find someone with particular experience or expertise. In fact, if someone doesn’t have a decent profile (with a photo) – or indeed, no profile – then I question their experience and expertise. That’s not to say that many experienced experts aren’t on LinkedIn… I just question it.

    This does not withstand nonsensical elements of LinkedIn, such as the essentially meaningless endorsements, the lack of integration with open badges, the perennial inability to search your own connections, and the constant Premium spam.

    Nonetheless, I find LinkedIn to be a useful professional network, as opposed to the social Facebook and the esoteric Twitter.

    • Ahh, I was going to see how long before the LinkedIn Premium was mentioned … ;-) Yes, connections are good. Yes, having a single-site showcase / CV is good, but the rest of it is just, well, meh!

  • N Miller

    I think LinkedIn is relevant depending on what career field you are a part of. I am an elementary school teacher, and I never felt that LinkedIn was very helpful for me. I live in the northeastern US, and while it is helpful to know people who work in schools, I don’t believe that it significantly helps in obtaining a job because of how much competition there is. I do think that LinkedIn is quite relevant for other professions that are more business-oriented. My fiance receives inquiries regularly from companies similar to the one at which he currently works.

    • Indeed, LinkedIn (and pretty much any social network) is only going to be as good as the connections you can make on it. Is there a better option for you, based on either your profession or region?

    • I agree that it isn’t as useful for teachers looking for jobs. Principals and other administrators don’t seem to use it for reviewing candidates, although I can’t really see why not. My brother is a chef, and his field is still all about offline networking rather than online networking. I wonder if it’s a difference in which fields regularly use recruiters. As an instructional designer, I probably get one or two contacts from recruiters a month, even though I haven’t been job hunting for over 4 years. My brother gets nothing, because restaurants don’t use recruiters to hire chefs.

      David, your idea of a regional network is an interesting one though. I don’t think there’s anything for teachers, per se, but local networks do exist. It feels like schools too often exist in their own world though.

  • I used to get tons of value from LinkedIn groups. I really had a lot of valuable conversations, and it was one of my primary professional development tools. Once LinkedIn decided to quit sending emails about discussions I was following or groups I subscribed to, it became much less so. I still moderate one group, where we cull the spam pretty heavily, and I still have some discussion participation. The value has gone down quite dramatically though, as nearly all groups are seeing lower participation now since LinkedIn’s changes last October.

    LinkedIn is one of the places prospective clients find me, and in that respect it is useful. It doesn’t take too many paid contracts to justify the time I spend on it. There is value in being on the professional network where clients are looking.

    I also see some value in their publishing platform, especially for people who are less technical and intimidated by the thought of starting their own blog. Even I, with my own WordPress blog and website, have republished some of my posts on LinkedIn Pulse. I’ve gotten a surprising amount of engagement; one post generated at least 15 comments and a passionate discussion. When I’m getting substantive comments and not just likes, that tells me something is working.

    Like Ryan, I value having a network that isn’t Facebook or Twitter. I use Facebook for primarily personal connections, and I want to maintain that separation.

    • Hi Christy. Totally agree about the separation between networks and purposes. I’ve written before on the boundaries I have between places like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc. and how some contacts I made professionally are now firm friends, and I’m beginning to see the networks merging.

  • I believe LinkedIn is important and it helps HR department, mainly to search someone with exacting experience and skill set. In fact, if somebody doesn’t maintain a profile properly then you can directly question about their skill set and professional experience.

    • It sounds like you’re saying that it is only useful for those seeking an interview or inrterviewee? What about connections, networks, collaborations, communication, etc.? Does that have a place?

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