Do I Need a LinkedIn Profile?

by Evil HR Lady on July 9, 2010

Dear Evil HR Lady,

I have a middle-managerial position in a big international IT company and I am considering changing companies. Does not having a LinkedIn profile In makes me less attractive for HR personnel? I really have a strong education, expertise in my realm, a long and successful career and can provide good references from top managers of all the companies. I mean i have nothing to hide and I consider myself to be quite competitive but i do not have that LinkedIn profile.

Reasons: I personally find Linkedin to be a very biased tool. From my practice the worse the employee is, the more connections and recommendations they have in Linkedin – that’s just frustrating for me. i personally know some very low-performers who were in fact fired after working less than a year. However they all have very shiny profiles in linkedin with LOTS of buzz words, connections and even recommendations, which are granted by the similar people (i also happen to know them personally). That makes Linkedin for me a very poor tool for reflecting real persons’ qualities and i have abandoned *my* profile a long time ago after i noticed how many connection/recommendation requests I got regularly from either non-performers or even complete strangers – people just seem to hunt for them nowadays. Similarly i do not have any accounts in social networks like Facebook or Twitter – it’s just against my nature to spend time on such activities…

But on the other hand – literally everyone now seem to have Linkedin profile so i ponder whether being “not in the same boat” actually makes *me* look worse or suspicious for my potential new employer? Could you enlighten me on perception of social networks’ public profiles by HR specialists nowadays?

Do I need a LinkedIn Profile?

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Dave Ferguson July 9, 2010 at 12:20 pm

Nearly everyone has a resume, too, and an awful lot of those are just plain bad. That's no reason not to have one yourself. If you're going to have one (a resume or a LinkedIn profile), then be mindful of it.

Clay Shirky says that we don't have information overload, we have filtering problems. That applies to the ocean of information on LinkedIn. Yes, some people join every possible group, reach out and try to make contacts of the contacts of their contacts. But you're not required to accept.

One approach might be to check the LinkedIn profiles of peope you know (or know of) and respect. What do those look like? Do they periodically update or expand the profile? Do they participate in industry- or profession-related groups within LinkedIn? Do they contribute worthwhile answers to the Q&A section?

Like the best resumes, the best LinkedIn profiles aren't static. You adapt them over time and you pay attention to them. The profile isn't a brochure to leave on LinkedIn's virtual shelf.

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Anonymous July 9, 2010 at 2:38 pm

Not having a LinkedIn profile is not a big deal, in my opinion. If you have an impressive resume, it should speak for itself. The best benefit of a LinkedIn profile is you may have a contact with contacts to your targeted company.
Now about that high horse of yours…

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Erica July 11, 2010 at 5:22 pm

The key here is that the writer is in IT. In the technology world, recruiters use Linkedin to find candidates for open positions, some of which are never advertised. This person may really be at a disadvantage without a Linkedin profile.

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Anonymous July 11, 2010 at 10:36 pm

I think that this person is someone that could not get recommendations and is covering for this by saying only the "bad" employees get glowing reviews on Linked In – I say he or she is weak!

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Surya July 12, 2010 at 5:24 pm

He is in IT and doesnt have facebook or twitter or LinkedIn? Many of us who recruit – yes, work in HR in Fortune 500 market leader sw related company – use LinkedIn as a tool to find people with technical skills.

Currently, many technical roles involve working with developer ecosystems and opensource forums and such. Do you have any online footprints – blogs, open codes attributed to you, developer forum contributions etc? If not, have you given talks and is a respected software practitioner of repute? IEEE recognitions? ( this means not just people whom you have worked with, but people who have heard of you.) Many HR people and hiring managers are not going to consider you.

You being in IT in a middle management position, it is not good enough that you do what you are paid for well. We want to see if you can learn fast, adapt to new things etc. And even though you think you are great, there are truly many more equally qualified people out there with respected presence in internet and social media and your lack of social media ( btw, reddit is a social media site too, if you use it) / internet presence can be used as a filter against you.

Simply put, no links in the resume means you are out, at least in the circles I work. ( of course exceptions are made for the really and truly great ones, the ones that get the average geek pi** in our pants)

Yup, not what you wanted to hear, but hope this helps you to understand what you may be missing out.

Good point Erica!

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Dana Hagenbuch July 19, 2010 at 2:02 pm

For professionals interested in the nonprofit sector, LinkedIn is an essential tool. At Commongood Careers, we regularly advise jobseekers to leverage LinkedIn in two ways: 1) build a network and 2) promote your personal brand. In the nonprofit sector, where open positions are not always advertised on job boards, it's often a case of "who you know."

For IT positions in particular, we also advise jobseekers to join groups on LinkedIn, such as NTEN, to connect with like-minded professionals and to begin to cultivate relationships that could results in a job.

For more information about how jobseekers can take advantage of networking tools like LinkedIn, i invite your readers to read this Commongood Careers article: http://www.cgcareers.org/articles/detail/its-who-you-know-networking-for-jobseekers/

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Dennis Ritchie, Jr. August 13, 2012 at 10:32 pm

To anyone who says you need linkedin is crazy. Linkedin and social media sites who goes public are stealing huge amounts of money from the pubic. These are immoral companies. There is nothing odd about anyone who opposes and boycotts these sites.

Would you sign up and be a member of any evil corporations? I would find it sad if you do.

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Dennis Ritchie, Jr. August 13, 2012 at 10:33 pm

And what if someone have worked for or building a competitive site against linkedin? Having a linkedin account is a huge negative for me.

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