do I really need to be on LinkedIn?

A reader writes:

I was told recently by a recruiter that not having a LinkedIn profile in the modern age of job applications is like being invisible, as that’s the first place recruiters and HR managers look to research interesting applicants beyond their cover letters and resumes.

While I admit that I somewhat resent the notion that it’s a “must have,” I’ll also admit that my current job searches sans profile have proven to be somewhat less than fruitful. Though that could be for any number of other reasons as well.

Is there any legitimacy to her claim? Are people applying to jobs while not on LinkedIn essentially ghosts? I’d very much appreciate your insights. I attempted to browse your article history but didn’t find much luck on this particular line of inquiry. Perhaps I didn’t go back far enough.

I can’t imagine rejecting an applicant because she wasn’t on LinkedIn, unless the position I was hiring for included social media, in which case it might raise my eyebrows. I think that recruiter really overstated this to you.

That said, it’s true that the vast majority of applicants for professional jobs these days do have LinkedIn profiles, and if I notice that someone doesn’t, it does feel a little off. Not like “this person is horribly flawed,” but more like, “huh, I wonder if she’s less keyed into professional trends.”

It’s not going to stop me from hiring someone … but there’s also no reason not to just throw together a profile and have some reasonable presence there. Being on LinkedIn doesn’t really require more than setting up a profile; you don’t need to be constantly logging on or anything like that.

I’d think of this kind of like sending a thank-you note: Neither is likely to be a deciding factor on your candidacy, but both take minimal time and make you look more polished, so it’s hard to find a compelling reason not to do it.

{ 349 comments… read them below }

    1. NJ Anon*

      Same here. I got a job without being on LinkedIn or anywhere else in the social media universe. I think its over-rated.

      1. Katie the Fed*

        I think in some fields it’s probably more common. I don’t know many people who use it though.

        1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

          Yeah, I bet it’s pretty different in the government sector than others.

    2. QAT Contractor*

      Ditto. I only created a Facebook page back in 2004 because I was hoping to find an easier way to meet others while I was at college. It was still pretty rare that I used it much, but after it went public I have basically done nothing with it.

      LinkedIn I am about the same. My company suggested that we should setup accounts (personal emails, not company) so our clients could look us up. But that’s pretty much all I have done. I hate the idea that social media would be a deciding factor for many jobs. Specific jobs fine, but the vast majority don’t make sense.

    3. Elizabeth West*

      Me either. I have an account, but I can’t even remember the last time I logged into it. I probably need to do it soon, so I can turn off the constant notifications I don’t read.

      Can you turn those off? :\

      1. potato battery*

        Elizabeth – yes, you can! If you log into your account, somewhere in there is a “notifications” section where you can set what sorts of emails you get (and maybe how often, too).

    4. Stachington*

      I am also a federal employee, and have never used it nor heard about it being used in the federal hiring process.

    5. Jennifer*

      Like every other social media thing (all of it bores me greatly), I made a page because you “have” to make a page and I haven’t updated it for like three or four years or something. God, I don’t care.

      1. Melissa*

        This describes me, too. I hate most social media and I “have” a LinkedIn page that is basically useless because it hasn’t been updated any time soon. I suppose I will update it in August before I go on the job market just in case academics use it, but I bet they don’t.

    6. Schuyler*

      I agree, so I’m hoping that in higher ed people don’t hold this view (I think I’m safe, because a lot my colleagues and co-workers are not part of LinkedIn.

      Unrelated to the fact that it doesn’t interest me a ton… I try to keep a really, really low profile online, so try to stay off social media when possible unless it’s something I can create a fake name for. I created the pseudonym I use now only in the last few years because I’ve had brief experience with stalking, and though I haven’t heard from that person in a few years, it’s something I worry about almost daily. I fear opening a LinkedIn account and coming back on his radar, either because his account is set up to find anyone in his contact list, or because he specifically looks for me. Not everyone who’s not on social media has reasons like mine, but I hope that future employers will consider there may be real reasons for it.

    7. David*

      Deactivated my Fakebook and LinkedIn accounts. While there may be some networking value there, I value my privacy more. Lots of incidences of information being taken out of context or personal information being used against people. No thanks.

  1. Twig*

    I’m curious about this as well.

    I have a linked in profile that I set up in order to post positions (I work at a university and frequently coordinate administrative faculty searches)

    However, I don’t know what to do with it. (the linked in account, I mean)

    What should a standard worker-bee linked in account look like? Is there essential information that should be included?
    I swear, I’m only 38, but I feel like such and old fart when it comes to social media.

    1. Judy*

      Mine looks much like my resume.

      My use of it is mostly as a way to keep track of people from past jobs. When I’ve job searched, I will research companies and see if I know anyone who works there.

      1. Shannon Terry*

        I’ll chime in briefly on this one as a Resume Writer who also writes LinkedIn profiles for my clients.

        I actually felt sorta ‘Meh’ about LI myself for longer than I should admit, given what I do!

        It really can enhance your overall candidate profile, though (let alone be a source of finding job leads, too)

        In the interest of more brevity than not, I”ll give my two cents on how to use BOTH resumes and LI well:

        First, a resume is more focused on the facts, using ‘resume lingo’ style concise phrases (ie, not really written in proper English entirely!)

        LinkedIn profiles are best utilized to compliment, not copy your resume – you can write in a 1st person, narrative form, and share a few appropriate details about your background.

        Resume tell the data. LinkedIn can connect the facts WITH the personal story that illustrates the how’s & why’s of your career journey.

        The combination of the two piques interest in your past story, your success, and how they pave the path to your future.

        A strong candidate gives a glimpse into both the facts and the story behind them, leaving the reader wanting to hear more, in person.

        I agree (as per usual!) with Alison/AAM that outside of a job that requires social media expertise, not having a LI profile won’t ruin or even limit your chances – but why not use the tool to y our advantage by offering a bit more in depth info that MIGHT make a positive difference in your job search! Eh? :)

        Hope that helps a bit, folks!

        1. Noone By That Name Here*

          It’s a great way for you to give away your business contacts, and overexpose them to the people who do USE linkedin; those who have no boundaries, blabber too much, etc. I’ve had and done away with LinkedIn twice now. … Once because it was a meat market. Second time because it was useless. It’s useless and I haven’t died for not having it, and I don’t want it. I especially would rather not piss off my present clients who have non-disclosure agreements with me. … Sooo, can’t say much and won’t or else I will be hungry and might die. Now, if I submit a resume, I can sell my highlighted skills and projects. LinkedIn pigeon-holes me, and it sells MY information. Yeah, no, you can keep it.

          1. Not LinkedIn*

            Thank you for posting this comment. I had the very concerns you addressed in your post and your response highlights how the site offers little in exchange for the risk assumed by the user.

      1. Merry and Bright*

        It is amazing how many people use beach photos, party photos, group shots and so on. Even senior people you would think would be more professional.

        1. Shannon Terry*

          AMAZING, HORRIFYING, yep, shocking lack of professionalism & awareness of the standards/norms …. and it’s just like the email addresses I sometimes see on resumes (“ or partygurrl69 …you get the idea)

          That people put these casual emails on resumes always astounds me (as a resume writer and on former hiring committees). It doesn’t happen as much anymore, people have realized they need to get their for job searching nowadays, mostly ….)

          So the NEW common shocker is the LI photos ….the bikini or gym rat photo, the cleavage shot or fuzzy picnic pics in a t-shirt with the kids I sometimes see on LI — no no NO!

          And yes, baseballfan, YES! PROFESSIONAL LOOKING HEADSHOTS are a MUST.

          NO pic is better than INAPPROPRIATE pic (but not by as much as you might think!)

            1. Noone By That Name Here*

              Workplaces are like a bunch of 8-year olds at birthday parties anymore. Under-dressed and poorly behaved in many cases. So, yup, those photos actually say a lot, don’t they? I used to think that people should dress however they want and that boy, wouldn’t it be cool to be at such an office. Nope. … However, that said, is it discriminatory to toss someone based upon a Linkedin photo? Hmm. ….

    2. HigherEd Admin*

      I find value in LinkedIn as a job seeker, but not so much when I’m content with my current role. As a job seeker, I use it to research companies, the people with whom I’m interviewing, search for jobs, find people in my expanded network to connect with (example: I used the “alumni” section and found that one of my old classmates works at a company I’m interested in — so I was able to reach out to her to get some information and she passed along my resume to the hiring manager), and stuff like that.

    3. Cherry Scary*

      I’m 23, and don’t really get LinkedIn. I have a profile, but I don’t like using the site at all. There’s so much info they ask for, its really easy to get bogged down.

      I’d stick to basic work history, photo (please, put up a photo), and list out some major projects/accomplishments.

      1. DMC*

        I have a linked in without a photo, on purpose. Not because I’m hideous, or anything (well, at least I hope I’m not), but because it’s not relevant, and as an HR person in general, if I’m looking at someone’s photo, I now have a lot more information about their race, age, etc. Why do I need that information?

        1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

          The photo’s purpose (for me) is to identify if I have the right person that I’m searching for. That guy that I met at the Independent Sector conference, his name was John Adams and I think he worked in the arts, maybe on the West Coast? I’d love to get in touch to learn more about that leadership program he participated in – that’s hard to track down. Much easier if he’s on LinkedIn, and I can confirm with a photo that it’s the right John Adams.

          1. Beezus*

            Mine doesn’t contain a photo, either. I like putting faces and names together, but I’d rather do it in person than have someone finding my photo online. The people I’m interested in connecting with are ones I have a close enough real life connection to that they could identify me by the other details in my profile (geo location, industry, company, alma mater, etc.) My name isn’t uncommon, but it’s not soooo common that it makes me difficult to find – there are 18 people on LinkedIn in the US with my name, and of those, the nearest one lives a five hour drive from me.

        2. Meesh*

          somewhat relevant– i took my graduation year off my resume (and maybe my linkedin?? not sure) because i wanted to be considered for roles that were not entry level. LOL

        3. Koko*

          When I find an account without a photo I usually conclude the person isn’t an active user, may not know/remember that they created an account, or may not be the person they say they are. It never occurred to me someone might be an active user who just doesn’t provide a photo.

          1. Jenny*

            That has always been exactly my response! I take no photo to mean not an active user and normally won’t even click through to the profile (also because unless there’s identifying info in the headline, I don’t even know who it is). But a friend told me that in her industry, nobody has a picture on LinkedIn and that’s very much the norm. But hers is also not a networking-heavy industry. Maybe it depends on the field?

            1. Cherry Scary*

              I guess for my industry its generally expected (communications.) Many of us are expected to be social media savvy, so lack of photo might not reflect well.

        4. Tris Prior*

          +1. I look much older than I am (and I’m over 40). I can’t imagine how a photo would NOT be a detriment in job hunting. I guess I could put up a photo from 10 or more years ago? Or photoshop out the wrinkles and eye bags?

          1. Connie-Lynne*

            I have a photo on LinkedIn because anyone Googling me will end up finding it anyway. But I worry on the opposite side — I look younger than I am and I was in my 30s when I got my degrees, so I’m concerned that people will think I’m less senior than I am.

          2. PoorDecisions101*

            There are some heavily (and poorly) photo shopped pictures on LinkedIn. I find them amusing. I don’t hire much, but if there was a candidate who did this, I’d be at least a little bit judgey.

            1. Stephanie*

              Uh, guilty as charged. I mean, I didn’t photoshop out wrinkles or anything, but I just don’t have a professional headshot handy. I had a decent photo on my computer and tried to remove the background and replaced it with a neutral one. But the discrimination thing (I’m black) had also crossed my mind to be honest.

    4. Spooky*

      Mine is a more detailed version of my resume, with info about internships and short-term work experience (like 2-day contracting jobs) that weren’t worth taking up space on my resume, but might be of interest to employers. I’ve also got links to my portfolio, expanded education info, and I think I may have an endorsement or two from employers (though I don’t think anybody puts much stock in solicited endorsements.)

      1. Phlox*

        I’m the same, lots of details though more for my own sake to have a master resume that has everything. The bonus being potential employers being able to get a broader sense of my work history.

  2. De Minimis*

    I had an account and cancelled it. I probably should open another one, but I’m worried about privacy and about certain people not knowing where I live. I’d guess if I were to make the profile too private that would limit the ability for everyone else to see it. I’m going to look into it, though, because I’m moving to an area where there may be more importance placed on things like that.

    1. Dynamic Beige*

      “I’m worried about privacy and about certain people not knowing where I live.”

      –> I just checked and it doesn’t seem like I need to have an address. I have my company listed as my last place of employment, but it says “add location” next to it, so I must’ve skipped that step. For where I live, it says {City} area, not my actual address.

      It’s kind of like a business version of Facebook, in that people send you invitations and you can choose to not answer them. I can see that the biggest problem might be that someone goes searching for you specifically on the site. One of the things I hate about it is it scoops my e-mail accounts and so I routinely get “these are all the e-mails we’ve scooped from you, add them to your connections!” Uh, no. If I wanted to be connected to them, I would have done so already, and stop asking me to do this. If I could turn that off, I would.

      There’s this thing now called “social proof”. It’s like you can’t prove you’re alive (or worth knowing) if you don’t have all these social media profiles where you have lots of friends/connections/shares/tweets/whatevers — and I can see how some people might be sucked into this idea and dismiss job seekers who don’t fit that.

      1. TCO*

        Did you give LI access to your e-mail, or could it be that your connections gave LI access to their own e-mail account, and that’s how LI knows you two are affiliated? I really hate how LI’s layout essentially tricks people into allowing LI access to their e-mail or other social media accounts. It feels invasive because you have to be really savvy to avoid accidentally opting in to granting them that access.

        1. De Minimis*

          Should have clarified, when I say “where I live” I mean city and state, not a specific address. Going to be hard to use it and show myself to be a local candidate. I will probably just roll the dice and not use it. Even if I fudged with the city that could mess me up with employers because commutes are tough here and a lot of postings will specify that people have to live within a certain number of miles [saw one the other day where you had to be within 15 miles of the employer.]

          1. Treena Kravm*

            You can actually change your general location to anywhere you want. So even though your last job will say “St. Louis, MO” the location under your name (and how it appears in searching) can say “Chicago, IL area” despite there not being any other connection to Chicago on your profile. In your case, I think this would be beneficial to you, as it indicates you’re already/willing to be within the geographical region.

            1. Anon1234*

              But presumably they could figure out where you work from the name of your company (esp if your company is specific to one location)?

              1. De Minimis*

                As a government employee it’s easier because I just put the parent agency as my employer, even though I work for a specific operating division. Now I’m probably looking at smaller employers so yeah, that can be an issue. Just going to try things without it for a while. I’m not really looking at jobs where I’m expected to bring in business so I’m hoping it won’t be an issue.

          2. Merry and Bright*

            I usually work in London and in February I was turned down in an interview because the interviewer told me she was really looking for someone who lived in walking distance from the office. I could only live in that postcode if I won the lotto rollover.

              1. Elizabeth West*


                I’m laughing because this: “X thing? Oh, it’s just a few blocks down that way.”
                A FEW BLOCKS
                Forty minutes later…..I’m still walking.

          3. Soharaz*

            When I was relocating and looking for jobs in a new area, I updated my header to read something like ‘Marketing professional relocating to CITY in Spring 2014’

        2. QAT Contractor*

          Sadly, the invasiveness is because they are trying to make it as simple as possible for anyone to quickly rack up a lot of contacts. And in most cases people just want to get their profile up and be done so they blindly (or semi-blindly) click through without reading everything.

          As for Dynamic Beige’s comment on Social Proof, I totally agree. The trend does appear to be that a person needs to have facebook, twitter, linked in, (add nausium)… I guess I’m just “too old” to understand why hashtags matter, or having 10,000 contacts is a good thing (in most cases) when most of the time you know maybe 20 closely, 100 secondairly and the rest are just added to be added.

          1. TNTT*

            I think the end of your second paragraph definitely does indicate a misunderstanding, to your detriment. This has nothing to do with hashtags or amassing contacts. It has to do with demonstrating an understanding of what is (like it or not) becoming a professional norm.

            1. Dynamic Beige*

              I first learned about this concept in online dating. It is apparently pretty common to Google the name of someone you’ve just exchanged e-mails/texts with. From what I was told, people who came back with Facebook profiles full of parties, friends, fun stuff rose in “value” compared to those who didn’t have profiles, or those profiles were full of less extroverted and “valuable” social currency. For men especially, it could remove a lot of the “creepy stalker basement dweller” stigma that can attach by showing they had an actual life. Your online dating ad was just that, an ad. Your social media hits showed that the ad wasn’t just full of hot air.

              I’m all old and stuff. People who ran around getting photos of themselves and constantly sharing what they were doing when I was a kid were considered to be full of themselves or narcissists. Now, it’s just normal somehow.

              1. Jenny*

                LinkedIn really is not about throwing up a quick profile to amass contacts or use hashtags, or taking photos of yourself. It’s to present your professional background and capabilities and to network in your field.

                1. KH*

                  Absolutely. I think a lot of people are misunderstanding the value of LinkedIn. A properly completed profile can sometimes mean that your “resume” is working for you even when you are not actively jobseeking.
                  And half-baked profiles (no picture, unprofessional picture, incomplete job or personal details) are almost worse than no profile at all. It looks like the person is not professional and has no eye for detail.

  3. BRR*

    I also think if you set up a profile, while it doesn’t need to be that extensive, it looks incomplete to me if it doesn’t have a picture and basic work history. Not sure how everyone else feels about this.

    I don’t get bothered if someone doesn’t have anything in the description part for the job or skills listed (in fact I enjoy not having skills listed so nobody can endorse me). But if it doesn’t have at least some work history and a picture I feel like it’s sloppy.

    That being said I looked at my own and need to update a few thing (oops).

    1. BRR*

      And I don’t think my point came across at all. I don’t mind if someone doesn’t have one but if they do it needs to be a certain level of completed.

    2. Dynamic Beige*

      “(in fact I enjoy not having skills listed so nobody can endorse me)”

      OK, I’ve got a question about this endorsing thing: every so often, I get a “Theon Greyjoy has endorsed you!” e-mail alert. And I go “What? I haven’t worked with him in 10 years. I haven’t even seen him in 10 years, why on earth is he endorsing my navigating abilities since he hasn’t seen me pilot a ship in a decade?” Honestly, they are so random and unexpected that I think they can’t be real endorsements.

      And frankly, I don’t know what to do with that. Am I supposed to go and endorse him for something back? Is it a real endorsement, or is it something the system does and no one knows about? Am I supposed to thank him?

      Also, when I finally get around to getting that professional portrait done, I guess I’m going to have to add it to LinkedIn, too. *sigh* I need to buy a book on business etiquette for the new millennium, there is so much that I just don’t know.

      1. JMegan*

        That’s because Theon Greyjoy has logged in to his profile, and LI helpfully asked “Does Dynamic Beige know about navigation?” And all Theon had to do was click “yes”, and ta-da! You’re endorsed!

        So it’s pretty meaningless, I think. LI asks a user to click “yes” or “skip”, and they can endorse you for skills they know nothing about, and which you may or may nor possess. I suppose there’s some value in the aggregate – if you look at your endorsed skill set *as a whole* hopefully it’ll be at least reasonably accurate. But on the other hand, I assume that info would be in your profile already, so I’m really kind of meh on the whole endorsement thing.

        1. Spiky Plant*

          Yeah, I don’t put much stock into endorsements, but if I see that someone has 50 endorsements in like 3 related areas that happen to be what they’ve worked in, I put a little more stock into it in aggregate. It makes me feel more confident that the people around them don’t think they’re BAD at what they do.

        2. Elizabeth West*

          Me too, unless the person adds a note, like “Elizabeth did Z and Y very well–she kept X running,” blah blah blah. Just an LI endorsement doesn’t mean anything by itself.

      2. John*

        I ignore endorsements when I receive them (am i supposed to accept them??? I don’t know or care). I think you’re right — the convention is to reciprocate, which doesn’t seem the point. People sometimes endorse me for skills I don’t really think are my strengths! Say, what???

        No one takes endorsements seriously. When I see people who have lots of them all it tells me is they’ve put a lot of time into the social stuff…likely handing out endorsements like candy to everyone they know.

        1. De Minimis*

          Yeah I had a bunch of these from former coworkers that never actually worked directly with me to where they would even know…

          1. Chelsea B.*

            You can actually turn them off so that they don’t show on your LI profile as well. I found that I was getting endorsements from people who would have no idea if I had those skills, so I opted to not have them appear at all on my profile.

      3. QAT Contractor*

        Endorsements are a joke. I could add you to my contacts and endorse all of your skills without ever having worked with you or met you. Anyone who puts stock in endorsements on LinkedIn needs a wakeup call.

        As I recall though, you should be able to turn endorsements off somehow, but I haven’t logged in to LinkedIn for at least 6 months.

      4. BananaPants*

        LinkedIn endorsements are useless. A marketing professor from 9 years ago has endorsed me for around 10 engineering skills, none of which he ever saw me exemplify.

        I don’t include a picture although I increasingly see professional headshots. I don’t have a suit that fits me (still hanging on to most of the baby weight nearly 2 years later, although I’m working on it) nor do I have the money to go get them taken.

        1. baseballfan*

          It doesn’t have to be a professional (expensive) headshot, just a professional looking headshot. My LI picture is actually the picture on my badge in the office. Incredibly, the picture turned out so nice that I asked them to send me a soft copy of it and I use it as a headshot. I’m not wearing a suit, but what I am wearing has a nice professional looking neckline, the background is neutral and my hair and facial expression look good.

          1. Dynamic Beige*

            I would like to aim for this… but as someone who intensely hates being photographed, the idea of buying a selfie stick or using the timer on my camera for what would probably be a very long day to get an image of myself I could stand… it’s probably better to go to a pro, if only because they would hopefully have tips and techniques to make it as painless as possible (better lighting!) and there would be a time limit on the whole production. Ugh. Just thinking about it. Awful.

      5. BRR*

        Honestly I felt embarrassed having skills up there with a hodge podge of endorsements. If I was in a profession that had certifications I would throw those in the bio section but I don’t think listing “chocolate teapot making” as a skill matters. Especially because you should be able to get that from my work experience.

      6. Snargulfuss*

        I’m convinced that the endorsements are only for the benefit of the “recuiter” type of accounts. Recruiters can buy a special type of LinkedIn subscription that allows them to search LinkedIn profiles. My bet is that the search algorithms pick up on endorsements and push people with a high numbers of endorsements for a certain skill to the top of the search results.

        If you want to go through the effort of getting someone to write a recommendation on your LinkedIn profile, that’s something that will have a lot more of an impact on real people that the endorsements section.

        1. Dynamic Beige*

          Hm… interesting. Not long after I joined (and bizarrely enough I was invited to join when it was still pretty new) I had someone e-mail me that they had endorsed me — and they wanted me to go in and endorse them back. Yes, they asked for it in those words. And I, not having worked with them in years did not have the slightest clue what to say or do about it so I did nothing. Which was probably a huge faux pas on my account :/

          Social Proof. More like Social Distortion but without as much of a beat and you can’t dance to it.

    3. KH*

      These days, recruiters use LinkedIn to scan for potential candidates who have not directly applied for their job. They will skip over any incomplete or half-baked profiles. An incomplete profile is one less potential opportunity.

  4. Joey*

    Ugh. At the other end of the spectrum I hate hate hate folks that go to the nth degree to show their LinkedIn presence. I don’t get the connecting with everyone you’ve ever met, posting articles, and seeing those dumb coworker/friend endorsements. I use it only to mine the material I see on resumes.

    1. Selkie*

      I’m one of those, but mainly because all the networking and support groups for my main database are linkedin-based. It’s definitely in my interest to make my presence a noticeable one – nonprofit database management is a small world.

    2. Erin*

      Or the people who respond to every post with “HIRE ME I AM LOOKING FOR A JOB” even when the post is sharing industry news or something of that nature. I have a few recruiters I’ve worked with on my LI and they definitely get it the worst – one might post a link to an article about how well chocolate teapots are selling overseas and will have 30 comments underneath that post with “HIRE ME RESUME IN PROFILE.” What the fuuuuck.

      Also, I have constant LI connection requests from people I do not know, who are not in my network at all. How do they find me???

  5. The Toxic Avenger*

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but I think LinkedIn has gone downhill. It used to be a solid professional networking site. Now, it’s full of people posting memes of pithy quotes, puzzles to solve to prove you are smart, and other distracting stuff. Ugh. Not pro.

        1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

          Is it possible to make that go away? I actually love the “congrats” notices for people in new jobs – they deserve congratulations and it’s a nice way to have a low-level contact with someone. But good lord, do we need congrats for having lasted a year at a job?

          1. AW*

            Oh my goodness, it makes me feel so much better to know that other people think that’s silly too. I’ve been ‘liking’ those because I was worried I would appear rude in ignoring them.

    1. KimmieSue*

      YES! While I’m a daily user – the whole strangers endorsing me thing stinks!!!! HATE it.

    2. baseballfan*

      I haven’t had this observation. Maybe it’s my connections, but the articles I see are generally of interest.

      The biggest compliant I have about LinkedIn, in terms of irrelevancy, is the “Domo” or whatever it is, the sponsored posts about this supposed spreadsheet alternative.

    3. NickelandDime*

      My issues with LinkedIn: 1. The ability to view profiles anonymously. I have someone that views my page anonymously two or three times a week, and has done so for YEARS. It was unnerving, but I just ignore it now. It happens way too often for it to be various people. 2. Strangers asking to connect that aren’t in your industry, sector or geographical location. If you stuff cereal boxes in Michigan, and I make teapots in Arizona, oh and we’ve never met, why do we need to connect? 3. The declining professionalism. A lot of people are using it like Facebook and it isn’t.

      1. HigherEd Admin*

        I’m not sure why you think the anonymous profile would be the same person? So, so many people set up their LinkedIn so that they can browse anonymously. I would say 80% of my profile views come from anonymous profiles.

        1. NickelandDime*

          I would say most of my views aren’t anonymous. Also, this happens several times a week. And, why do people need to browse anonymously? If I need to be that secretive, I probably shouldn’t be on LinkedIn.

            1. Jen RO*

              Or that old coworker you hate and wonder if he was able to not get fired this time around.

            2. CupcakesAbound*

              Ha! For some reason, I’ve had an abundance of old boyfriends/guys I used to date reach out to via LinkedIn. It’s one of the (many, many) reasons I deactivated my account.

            3. mskyle*

              It’s recruiters and HR people, mostly, who are willing to pony up the cash for anonymous viewing.

                1. mskyle*

                  Oh I think I’m thinking of a setting where you can see the people who’ve visited your page but they can’t see that you’ve visited their page. Which may or may not exist currently.

              1. Jerry Vandesic*

                Anyone can set their profile to show anonymous when the view someone else’s profile. Just go and edit your profile.

                1. Judy*

                  And then when you edit it back, it shows that you viewed it.

                  But anyone can log out of LI and then view a profile.

          1. Merry and Bright*

            It can be useful if you are trying to find an ex-co worker for example but there are 25 people with the same name in that region or field. You might have to look up most of these before you find the right one, if at all. You might not want all those random strangers wondering who you are.

          2. Koko*

            I browse anonymously because where I browse is nobody’s business but my own. I hate technology that tries to satisfy people’s desire to be creepy/socially awkward stalkers. So-and-so looked at your page! So-and-so- read your message! Now spend time obsessing about why, and why they didn’t send you a message!

            If I wanted to make contact with someone, I will contact them. There’s no reason they need to know I looked at their page. I also don’t care at all who’s been viewing my page, because without an actual communication from them there’s nothing for me to do with that information – I don’t care to spend my time speculating about why people do the things they do without any evidence to support my conjecture. So my account is permanently set to browse anonymously.

          3. KH*

            Recruiters will browse anonymously. If you look attractive to them, they may reach out for you about a potential job opening.

          1. HigherEd Admin*

            Go into your settings, and under the profile tab, there’s a column that reads “Privacy Controls.” Under that, there’s an item labeled “Select what others see when you’ve viewed their profile.” Click there and choose one of the two anonymous options.

      2. Stephanie*

        I hate that you need the premium account to send messages. That just seems so basic. I don’t want to pay $200/year to be able to send someone a private message.

        1. Treena Kravm*

          Isn’t that just for people who aren’t already contacts though? I swear I just private messaged an old friend from college on there because she doesn’t have Facebook.

      3. John*

        2. is my pet peeve. Well, really any stranger trying to connect without giving me a reason. It’s simple: “I see that we’re in the same industry” or “I’m working to build a career in your field” or whatever…that I would understand. Instead, I get those “Please add my to your network” emails or whatever the default message is. If I don’t know you from Adam, that doesn’t tell me anything. Give me a reason. What are you trying to accomplish?

        I usually assume they are targeting me as a prospect for something I won’t want to buy (consulting services for my work? real estate?) and ignore them.

            1. I'm a Little Teapot*

              I think there’s a Tumblr corollary to Rule 34. If it exists, there is a Tumblr of it.

  6. KimmieSue*

    I’m on the camp of the recruiters advice and feel it’s a must have. I recruit in technology. I wouldn’t say that it’s a full deal breaker, but I would likely move onto other folks with a LI presence. You can certainly limit who you connect too and the amount of time and energy you spend on it (limit it to 5-10 minutes every other day or so). I actively recruit on LI all day, every day. It’s possible that you may be missing out on opportunities because recruiters are not viewing your profile and soliciting you for jobs. If you are actively searching for a new role – why not do everything you could to make yourself seen?

    1. ElCee*

      I know someone who got cold-called on LI (despite having the most bare-bones of pages) for an interview for a great high-paying job. I mean, it sounds like the content of a spam e-mail (New Job making Six Figure$ with minimal Effort!) but it actually happened.
      That said, how common is this–recruiters combing LI for possible candidates? How do they/you know, from looking at a profile, whether that person is job searching? I see people with the title “Teapot Designer at Chocolate Teapots Ltd./Open to Opportunities” and….I don’t know about that.

      1. KimmieSue*

        I can’t answer for other recruiters but I’d guess that about half of the people I solicit do not appear to be actively searching for jobs. Yes, I do get responses at times where people are angry and view it as spam, but usually if they are not interested they just ignore or say “no thanks”.

        Also, my solicitations are typically not all that flashy and don’t say “high paying” or “work from home” kinds of tags.

        1. ElCee*

          Oh, I didn’t mean recruiters like you were spamming–just that whenever I tell the story of that person getting her new job through LinkedIn, people never believe me because it sounds too good to be true! But it worked out really well for her.
          I must say though, I have never gotten cold-called by a recruiter. My profile is pretty dull I guess!

      2. Jen RO*

        I’m not in the US, but I get recruiters reaching out to me on LI once every few months (and I am not job searching). It’s pretty cool to feel wanted!

      3. PlainJane*

        I get contacted by recruiters on LinkedIn once or twice a year – and I’m not actively looking for work. It’s flattering, and sometimes I’m able to recommend a colleague for their position.

      4. VintageLydia USA*

        Pretty much all the viable jobs my husband got recruited for were thanks to LI, but he works in a very very niche field in IT (as in, he’ll be across the country in an different office at a different company and all the shop talk is about the same two dozen people.)

      5. Xay*

        I get cold called on LinkedIn a couple of times a year and I am not actively looking for work. I work in public health and there is a growing public health / health consulting community on LinkedIn.

      6. Malissa*

        I actually got contacted about a possible job through my LI profile. Unfortunately for them I was moving out of state the next week. Otherwise I really would have considered going for an interview.

      7. Spooky*

        I’ve been contacted through LI from recruiters as well! My company is known for having a miserable culture and very high turnover (though I’m lucky enough to have a really good manager,) so lots of recruiters reach out to anyone listed with the company. I ended up deciding I wasn’t interested in the offers, though I did interview for one – it would have been a solid option, had I been looking for something in that direction. That said, I’ve also been contacted by spammers. The good with the bad, I guess!

        1. TheSockMonkey*

          My husband got his job through LinkedIn, and several other interview offers too. His profile is a shortened version of his resume, plus certifications and a picture.

      8. KH*

        I found my current role through a LinkedIn cold call. It came just in the nick of time after months of job searching and the layoff severance package from my former employer had just run out.

      9. Erin*

        In my experience they don’t know. I totally got cold-called by a recruiter for my current job and there was no indication from my LI profile that I was looking (because I wasn’t).

    2. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*


      Some may feel a LinkedIn profile doesn’t help. It sure as hell won’t hurt, as long as you are careful about what you post — and, it affords you the opportunity to post on things you’re knowledgeable about.

    3. SCMill*

      Also in tech. I tend to view it as… odd when someone is not on LI. The first thing I do when I get a resume is go look the person up to see who they are connected to that I might know. That gives me optional references.

      Like others have said, just post a good pic and basic work history and then connect with your co-workers (current and former) and associates.

    4. twig*

      What would one do on linked in for 5-10 minutes every other day if one is not job-searching? I thought it was more of a set it up and forget it kind of thing otherwise?

      I’m such a social media dunce

      1. AW*

        Just checking in on people in your network. You don’t need to say “Hi” to everyone every single day but it’s good to acknowledge when someone got a new job or help someone out if they’re looking for work or have a work thing you can help them solve.

        You don’t want to completely disappear off of people radar for a couple of years and then only show up when you need something from them.

    5. Graciosa*

      If you’re looking for a job, I completely agree that you should have a profile.

      The last time I was looking, I found a job because of a recruiter viewing my LinkedIn page. I’m still at the same company (not the same role – promotions!) and I would not have known about this opportunity without LinkedIn.

      I admit that I don’t maintain it well now that I am employed, but even the laborious profile-creation process was worth it to get my job – which makes me wonder how serious the OP is about wanting to find one.

      Not because LinkedIn is “required” or because I check applicant profiles (I don’t unless it’s noted on a resume, and probably won’t even if it is) but just because I would expect someone looking for a job to want to use every available tool to find one.

    6. Koko*

      The other really big asset is once you’ve built up your network, later on when you get a job interview you can go on LI and see if anyone in your network knows anyone who works at the company where you’re interviewing and could put in a good word for you.

      I don’t actively use LI, but I keep my resume updated (about once every six months I probably check to see if my current job description needs an update and maybe change my photo), and I log in about 1-2 times a month to accept connection requests that have come in from people I recognize and browse the “People You May Know” suggestions to make sure I’m not missing anyone obvious.

      This bare-bones level of investment has been very helpful for knowing who in my network to talk to who might know more about a company or employer, and it’s also been enough that I do get head-hunted by recruiters several times a year.

  7. Concertina*

    I have this exact question too. I know the argument “why not?” but I just…really don’t want to be on LinkedIn. I have several people who I don’t want to give any info on me, I don’t like having my photo publicly posted, and I don’t want to manage the politics of connection requests from inappropriate people (of which I already get lots, without even having a page). I, too, see more of an argument for not doing something if you won’t do it well. I’m still conflicted and holding out for now.

    1. AW*

      For a long time I didn’t have a photo up there and that seems to bother some people more than not having a presence there at all.

    2. AndersonDarling*

      I’m with you. I’m not job searching, and I really, REALLY don’t want to be connected with my previous employer. I don’t like the cuteness of sending connection requests, receiving loads of sales pitches, and wondering what people are thinking of my profile. So far, there isn’t an upside to having an account.
      But some people make it sound like you are a lame-o and will never get another job unless you have an account with a bunch of contacts. *sigh*

    3. So Very Anonymous*

      This is about where I am, too. I had a LI account and canceled it — didn’t like the email spamming (sorry, Mom, clicked the wrong button, no, you really don’t have to create an account to talk to me…), was tired of random connection requests from people I barely knew (or had had in one class and never talked with), had several connections turn awkward due to excessive Facebookiness. I didn’t mind the idea of it being a placeholder for short version of resume, but just didn’t want to manage the connections requests/endorsements stuff.

    4. Florida*

      I’m with you. Recruiters will tell you to be on it because it makes their job easier. (They used to spend more time cold calling.)

      I have a fake account so that I can look at other people’s accounts. The name of the account is not Mickey Mouse, but it is that obvious. The job description says I’m an investigative sleuth. I can’t tell you how many people have tried to connect with me. They don’t even know me, and I’m using a fake account!

      When people tell me that I need to get a LinkedIn account, I always ask why and I tell them about my fake account. They say that if I get an account, I will be able to see all kinds of things about people. I tell them I can do that with my fake account without exposing myself to the world.

      Like you, I’m continuing to hold out.

    5. Hlyssande*

      Yeah, I’m also seriously uncomfortable putting that information out for everyone to see. I don’t link myself with my company in any social media and never mention it anywhere I post online. I really don’t want to start doing that and I won’t be able to avoid it on LI.

      That said, I still get connection requests – I really, truly hate that it sends connection requests as if you already have an account when you don’t. It’d be one thing if the message was ‘so and so invited you to join linked in!’ but it’s not. It always worries me that someone opened an account in my name.

    6. Jennifer*

      I look like I am 12 years old. It is NO benefit to me to put my smiling picture on a work website. Also, in general I suspect it is not the world’s best idea for a female to put her picture online. I’m not going to make it easier to discriminate against me on my looks.

  8. Sophia*

    If I notice you don’t have one, I am really left wondering why you don’t. Some of the things that go through my mind are:
    -do you lack technical know-how?
    -as Alison said, are you less keyed into professional trends?
    -are you just too lazy?
    -do you have such a small amount of work history/involvement that you found it useless?

    I agree with Alison that it would never make me not hire someone. I know some people just aren’t into being online. But the above does flit through my mind.

    On the other hand, when I see someone who has really utilized LinkedIn to it’s fullest, I just feel that much more impressed. I love it when I see:

    -A great summary that isn’t too cheesy but tells me a bit more about you
    -A fully fleshed out work history – perhaps beyond what there was space for on a resume
    -I know endorsements are worthless but if I at least see some recommendations or endorsements, I know you can get along with co-workers well enough for them to add you on Linkedin and say something nice about you
    -Involvement in LinkedIn groups related to your field – this shows that you really want to stay aware of the latest information

    1. AndersonDarling*

      This is what scares me. I don’t like social media. I don’t like people begging for my attention, and I don’t want to get addicted to faux attention. (That’s just my opinion, I totally get that many people use social media healthily and it is their connection to their family and friends.)
      It scares me that a recruiter will label me as a looser for not having an online presence. Social media is a preference, some like it, some love it, and the rest just don’t get it.
      (BTW-If a recruiter would google my name, all they would find is a picture of me fighting a bear.)

      1. Florida*

        I believe recruiters have an ulterior motive for encouraging people to use LinkedIn. Back in the day, recruiters had to spend all of their time making cold calls. Today, they can do a lot of their work on LinkedIn. They can do a search for Teapot Makers in Topeka, Kansas and instantly have ten prospects for the position they have to fill. Instead of making ten phone calls, they can send one email. They want you to join LinkedIn because it makes their job easier.

        1. Graciosa*

          Well, yeah, it does make recruiters’ jobs easier.

          Why is that a negative?

          Recruiters are trying to find people to fill jobs.

          For someone who wants a job (like the OP), this is a classic win-win.

      2. I'm a Little Teapot*

        -> (BTW-If a recruiter would google my name, all they would find is a picture of me fighting a bear.)

        That is great. And no doubt has a story behind it.

      3. Hlyssande*

        If a recruiter would google my name, all they would find is a picture of me fighting a bear.


    2. Mike C.*

      I have an account, and I can’t say I’ve ever benefited from it. It feels like a giant waste of my time to be perfectly honest.

      And this is coming from someone who had invitation only accounts to GMail and “The Facebook”.

    3. TheSockMonkey*

      I have an account, but it isn’t totally updated. I don’t want all of my current coworkers (who I am connected to) to see my substantial updates as that would signal to them that I want a new job.

      What are people’s thoughts on this?

      1. oaktown*

        you can change your settings so that no one is notified that you are maknig updates to your profile. Then the only way they would see them is if they are specifically navigating to your profile and keepign track of what it used to say. Don’t overthink it. Just go on there and update things that you think would help you get the job you want. Take care of you, not your coworkers hypothetical thoughts.

          1. MinB*

            If anyone asks, you can always say you got a connection request email and it made you realize your profile was out of date, but most likely no one will ask. Keeping your social media updated is normal and common.

      2. Koko*

        Turn off the notifications to your network, and make updates regularly (every few to several months, not every week or month) so that it’s not a sudden change in behavior for you to be curating your profile. Kinda like the advice to occasionally dress up at work for no reason so that the day you come in dressed nicely for an interview on your lunch hour nobody suspects anything.

  9. TCO*

    I finally joined LinkedIn for my job search last year and I find it terrifically boring. But it serves two main functions in my life:
    1) Having my resume and skills available for all of my work connections to see. Most colleagues don’t really know all of the skills, job history, and experience you have. Why not make that available for them? It’s a marketing tool, and that’s valuable even if you hate “personal branding” and all of that stuff. You can make it a passive tool (for people who come looking) without having to put yourself out there.
    2) A phone book, of sorts, to help me keep in touch with people as we change jobs. It’s one of the things I like best about social media: I can stay in contact with people and know the basic outline of what they’re up to without having to keep track of e-mail addresses, phone numbers, etc. that frequently change.

    In the average week I probably spend fewer than 10 minutes on LinkedIn. I log in 1-2 times a week just to skim my newsfeed for major news about others’ jobs, make sure I don’t have new messages or connections, and that’s about it.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        It’s a good place to connect with coworkers–I don’t add people I work with on Facebook unless one or both of us have left that job. In fact, I noticed last night I had a friend request from a coworker–aaaaah. If she asks about it, I’ll just suggest she add me on LinkedIn.

    1. Long Time Reader First Time Poster*

      Yep, I always refer to LI as the 21st century Rolodex. The best part about it is that the contact info is almost always current — I don’t lose track of people as they change jobs or names or addresses. I never know when I’m going to want to reach out to a professional contact from years ago. LinkedIn is perfect for that.

  10. PizzaSquared*

    I’ve never NOT hired someone because they don’t have a LinkedIn profile. But have absolutely, definitely, without a doubt decided to call or interview someone because of something I saw on their profile that I didn’t see on their resume. And I’ve also had really interesting, fruitful conversations (that helped their candidacy) with people based on stuff I saw on their LinkedIn (especially common acquaintances, organizations, etc.).

    I honestly can’t fathom why someone would not want to go to the minimal effort of setting this up. Even if it only helps 1/1000 times, it’s free, and that one time is worth something.

  11. NickelandDime*

    I used to think it was important…But now I don’t think it matters. I have a LinkedIn account and I ensure I keep it updated, etc. But I’m in an industry where it’s expected for me to have one. It would look strange if I didn’t have one. I do know awesome professionals that don’t have one. They have their reasons, and I understand. It hasn’t hurt them.

    If you are going to do a profile, however, please keep it updated and please include a photo. It WILL make you look bad if your profile is half-baked or you don’t include a photo. And use your full name. Also, you don’t have to post frequently, but if you do, keep it professional.

  12. Loupalooza*

    I’ve been less internet savvy since I was a teenager so I didn’t realise it was such a thing. Employers have never mentioned a Linkedin profile to me but have said they have searched for me on Facebook.

    1. A. D. Kay*

      Employers have searched for you on FACEBOOK? Yikes! My first instinct would be to run the other direction.

      1. Koko*

        I’ve done this when I’m interviewing someone and I’d reckon it’s pretty common. If I have to work with this person every day I’m going to seek out any readily available insights into who they are. A Facebook search is quick and easy and gives you some nice bits of humanizing info that turn the candidate from a work history into a 3-dimensional person with a hometown and a cover photo they like and interests, likes, etc. I’m also often curious if we have any mutual friends who could give me an informal reference or a clue as to what kind of social scene the person move in. I once interviewed by someone who was friends with one of my former roommates and she mentioned it in our interview and we chatted about it for a minute.

  13. harryv*

    I think there is real value in having a linkedin profile even if you are not in an Internet / social media / advertising type company. Linkedin gives recruiters and other professionals a glimpse beyond your resume. It shows how connected you are in the industry and I have been recruited via linkedin by a legit company to have a chat with an executive VP on potential opportunities at their companies. There would’ve been zero chance their in house recruiter would have been able to find me had I not have a profile on Linkedin.

    1. Mike C.*

      But most of these recruiters are complete idiots or spambots. Before aerospace, i used to work in a food safety/laboratory setting. Now I have all these morons spamming me about fast food openings.

  14. Relly*

    I have a Linkedin profile, but I haven’t touched it in months. They’re pretty low maintenance to maintain and I don’t think it hurts to have. I occasionally get an invitation to interview with companies who find my profile, but otherwise I just leave it up and forget about it. Unless you have privacy/stalker concerns, there’s not much of a reason not to have an account.

  15. Mandi*

    I stayed off Linked In for the longest time until I had an interviewer GRILL me as to why I wasn’t on it. Being that I was laid off/unemployed at the time, I decided to make a profile based on her reaction – what could it hurt, right? The reason why I wasn’t on there is that I just thought it was too much information to have ‘out there’ online. I’m on there now and I actually do like the site, as I’m now a part of some industry specific groups.

    1. grilled you?*

      Anyone who would grill someone about not being on LinkedIn is a poser professional and a lemming of a cliff. You managed to get the interview with that person while you weren’t on LinkedIn. If you feel you need to be on LinkedIn, then you’ll join LinkedIn. If you don’t think you need it, they you won’t join. Only a jackass pretends not to know there are legitimate reasons adults have for not being on a social media site.

  16. Not The Joneses*

    Really interested to hear everyone’s responses. I struggle with the right answer. I too think Linked In has gone downhill, however, I feel compelled to play in order to avoid being judged harshly ( and wrongly) by HR people since I am interested in making a career move. For privacy reasons, I have a profile that contains only a generic summary. Employers, locations, dates of employment, etc. are mostly not included (and if they are, are deliberately misleading) . I have not (and likely never will) included a photo as I think my demographic background would be more of a hindrance than a help- or even neutral( sad, but true).

    I do wonder if I am doing myself more harm than good because if you looked at my profile, it obviously an accurate summary but with a profile that deliberately obscures specific details.

    1. HigherEd Admin*

      This would confuse me as a potential employer. If you applied for a job and I searched for you on LinkedIn and saw that your online profile and the resume you sent me weren’t the same, I’d be so confused.

      1. Liz*

        I agree. I’d probably also not call. Far better to have accurate info and just not release it to people outside your network (or anyone).

      2. Meg Murry*

        Yes – if your Linked In profile doesn’t match your resume, I would think you are lying on one of them, and I wouldn’t want to bother digging any further. Either make them line up, or don’t bother.

        The only trick I think is ok is an example one of my colleagues gave me – his official title is something like “Teapot Design Director” – that’s what it says on his email signature, business cards, official HR paperwork, etc. On Linked In, he listed it as “Director of Teapot Design”- essentially the same job description, just flipped around. That way, if he gets random people who track down his name and work email address or number, he knows that they got his info from Linked In and he doesn’t actually know them (he has a lot of this).

        But otherwise – make it match, or at least line up closely – if you don’t want to list your actual employer’s name (and I don’t see why not, unless you are in Witness Protection or something, in which case you shouldn’t even be on Linked In) at least list “Chocolate Teapot Manufacturer” not a fake or misleading name.

      3. Not The Joneses*

        Just clarifying- the linked in profile is not different from the resume. The linked in profile just does not yield meaningful specific info. I tried to edit the profile to omit dates and places entirely but the linked in tool would not permit that change.
        I do have stalker/privacy concerns and like Alexia, below, Linked In ( and other companies) have not satisfactorily answered the mail for me on privacy concerns.

        1. Jen RO*

          I would find an “anonymized” profile very weird. It probably wouldn’t stop me from interviewing you, but it would make me wary. If you’re unwilling to even include employer names and job title, I don’t see the point of having the profile at all.

          1. Not The Joneses*

            At this point it is really only useful as a mechanism to be in contact with former work colleagues who reach out to me. I do not use it as a job searching tool.

            I would hope that any potential employer in my industry ( who found me through other means) would ask why I was linked-in weird ( if they cared) since I have an entirely appropriate business related reason for not having an open internet life.

          2. V.V.*

            Because I trust you Jen RO to give me the straight skinny…

            Your opinions please. The fate of my Linked in page hangs in the balance…

            Better to have an out-of- doors photo or none at all?
            Better to have an LI profile without a photo, or have no LI profile at all?

            Some of the posters above seem upset if they think a person’s profile picture is “unprofessional”, and a few seem to think no LI page is better than a profile that doesn’t have a photo. I agree with the majority of the things you post here, so what do you think?

    2. MaryMary*

      I don’t think it’s strange to have slightly different details on LinkedIn than your resume. My LinkedIn profile is a little broader and has more details about positions early in my work history. We all tailor our resumes. I might not mention that I have experience with financial forecasting if it’s not relevant to the job I’m applying for, or highlight that I started out doing quality assurance. Depending on the hiring manager, though, they might count it as a bonus that I’m comfortable with financials, or take it as proof that I’m detail oriented if I used to do QA.

  17. Jenny*

    I’ve been told the same thing – recruiters who won’t consider applicants if they’re not on LinkedIn. I think it’s part of the belief that “if you’re not online, you don’t exist.” Yeah it’s silly, but not being on LinkedIn raises a question of why you haven’t taken the time to create a profile/why you don’t want to take advantage of an easy way to network, and it suggests that you’re not “up” on things. And when there’s dozens of applicants for one job, it’s an easy way to cut people from consideration. You can use LinkedIn to your benefit too, by expanding on what’s on your resume since there’s no page limit, highlighting certain skills, linking to publications/projects, etc.

    1. Anonymous Coward*

      For sure – Linked In is helpful as kind of a master resume, while specific job experience and accomplishments are tailored to the job listing and have to fit on a single page. I also find recommendations (not endorsements) really personalize my profile. I ask for them after a big project concludes, or when a coworker/professional contact or I move on from the shared workplace. Much more likely to get a solid reference while I’m still fresh in their mind than a couple years down the line when I’m looking for a new job – and if I’m in touch with them still and want to ask them to stand as a phone reference, I can point them at what they wrote as a brush-up.

    2. Florida*

      There are many reasons people are not on LinkedIn. Maybe the person is a victim of domestic violence, a victim of stalking, or part of the witness protection program. There are a lot of reasons to not be on LinkedIn that have nothing to do with not being up on things or not taking the time.

      Yes, for some people, it is that they are not up on things or haven’t taken the time, but I wouldn’t assume that right away any more than I would assume that a person with LinkedIn is technologically savvy and capable of being our social media manager.

      If someone eliminated me from consideration solely because I was not a member of a specific website, I would consider it a dodged bullet. In my opinion, that is someone who uses trivial items to make decisions and views the world as black and white. That is not someone I want to work for.

      I agree with you that there are people who use it as a basis for hiring. I also agree that people take shortcuts when narrowing down the dozens of applicants. But I have never used it in hiring (I have their resume, which is usually easier to read and more complete), nor would I want to work for anyone who used someone’s lack of a profile as an indication of their lack of tech savvy.

  18. Elizabeth*

    I’ve mostly found it useful for staying in contact with colleagues/managers once leaving a job without having to add them all on Facebook, etc. but I never, ever used it as a recruitment tool back when I was hiring. The information was usually a duplicate of what was in the resume, and on the off chance that we had some connections, they were always too far removed to be of any value.

    I also have privacy concerns re: posting photos in public places on the internet, and so the idea that it’s unprofessional to not include one strikes me as not terribly understanding of the many reasons people (especially women) choose not to post photos.

    1. NickelandDime*

      I understand what you are saying regarding privacy and photos, but it does look out of place on a professional networking tool like LinkedIn when there is no photo. The women I know that have the very issues you speak of aren’t on there. And I totally get it.

      1. twig*

        Why should one have a photo on linked in?

        How is that different than attaching a photo to your resume? (I realize that in some non-us countries that this is standard) If someone is perusing my linked in profile for my professional abilities and experiences, why do they need to know what I look like?

        1. NickelandDime*

          Scroll the comments for various takes on not having a photo on a LinkedIn profile.

        2. Spiky Plant*

          Having a photo makes your profile much more likely to be clicked in the first place. Whether it’s reasonable or not, I tend to assume that people who don’t have pictures up on LinkedIn aren’t very active on their profile/don’t really care about it, so I am less likely to look at it. If something else strikes me, I’ll still click, but yeah, it’s going to reduce the number of people who look in the first place.

      1. V.V.*

        I would like to use a symbol or picture representing what I do, (a guy I know runs a private kindergarten and his photo is one of his students drawings of him) but there seems to be some steadfast unwritten rule that it must be a personal photo. What do you think Case of the Mondays? Do you think anyone holds it against your friend that he only has an EMT sign on his?

  19. Anonymous Educator*

    I’ve found LinkedIn sort of useful. For example, when I was applying for my last job, I searched on LinkedIn to see which of my contacts had any associations with that place. I found one, and I contacted her to ask some questions about the organization. I’d definitely be open the other way (to answering my LinkedIn contacts’ questions about any org/company/school I’d been a part of).

    1. jmkenrick*

      I’ve used it similarly. If you take 30-45 minutes to set-up a robust profile once, connect with people whom you would actually consider to be your network and then manage the e-mail settings so they’re not blasting you with weekly updates…all you need to do is check in occasionally (every few weeks or so? less?) and it can be a valuable tool. It stores lots of info, many online applications sync with it so you dont’ have to fill as much out, and if you’re applying for a job at X company, you can search and see if any of your contacts works there, or knows someone who does.

      If privacy is a deterrent, I can understand that, I suppose…but if it’s time or effort holding someone back, I would encourage them to set it up. It really takes very little maintenance.

  20. Alexia*

    I actually choose not to use LinkedIn because of its terrible history at handling people’s privacy.

    It’s also not the best tool at maintaining professional relationships. Their InMail seems to be broken and competes for attention with employers’ regular inboxes. (Considering that that first inbox for employers will often have 300+ emails per day, that second inbox is unlikely to be seen at all.) Their search engine is so-so as well. The groups for my field seem to be full of non-local candidates, which makes it hard to find actual local employees for informational interviews.

    A personal website is a much better option than LinkedIn for direct contact with employers.

    Recruiters love LinkedIn because it’s a quick cheap search for them with easily downloadable details. If you want to deal with a recruiter, your best bet is LinkedIn.

    1. Ruthan*

      “If you want to deal with a recruiter, your best bet is LinkedIn.”

      Or possibly “dozens of recruiters”, depending on your field.

      LinkedIn is free for employees and expensive for recruiters because, as with FB, you aren’t the consumer, you’re the product.

      1. Jack the treacle eater*

        I think this hits the nail on the head. On all these ostensibly free sites, and with companies like Google, you are the product. That’s what leads the LinkedIns of this world to play fast and loose with your personal information. Their interest is not your privacy, it’s making as much information as possible as readily available as possible so they can sell it to people. That in turns leads to the spamming, contacts by random unconnected people and so on, all of which devalue the brand and make LI less professional.

  21. JMegan*

    To add on to this question, assuming you have a LinkedIn profile, how important is it to actually link to it on your resume?

    I have an unusual name, and if you google it based on my resume, you’ll find my LI profile in about 0.01 seconds. Do recruiters care if I make them take the effort to google, versus handing them the link to my profile?

    I imagine this is probably not a dealbreaker, in the same way that having or not having the profile in the first place is not a dealbreaker. But on the other hand, it’s easy enough to include, if it will prevent someone from going “huh, that’s weird that she has a profile but didn’t list it!”

    1. Armchair Analyst*

      I don’t have my home address on my resumee anymore, but I have my LinkedIn profile on my resumee!

      1. NickelandDime*

        I did the same on my resume! I also do this when I help friends, etc., with their resume. I don’t see the need to waste space on a resume with my home address. I have my name, email, phone number and LinkedIn address.

    2. MaryMary*

      I regularly google applicants, and what I hope to find is a LinkedIn profile, professional, charitable, or community associations, and maybe a random innocuous mention in local media. So I don’t think it’s a problem not to have a link on your resume.

      1. Terra C*

        Because of LinkeIn’s notorious major problems handling peoples’ privacy, as an earlier poster noted, as well as their dubious uses of data, etc., I am far from alone in going out of my way to avoid the site. And yet, I use many other forms of social media (and relates to my specialization.) I can control them much easier and be much more decisive about what I want to share.

        In a professional setting, I’m happy to share anything with someone I’d like to hire me, but I certainly wouldn’t want strangers to know anything about where I live or work. If you have ever worked in the public sector, in media, etc.—especially if you are a woman—sharing anything on LinkedIn is a great way to give trolls and stalkers access to you that they wouldn’t otherwise get.
        I cannot tell you how much harassment colleagues and friends have experiences when suddenly that creep who threatened them on their blog suddenly accesses their info and stalks them via work colleagues.

        If you, as a hiring manager, expect applicants to put themselves at rish you’re being grossly unfair and probably losing out on great people.

        1. MaryMary*

          I didn’t say that I reject applicants if they don’t have a LinkedIn profile, I don’t. I don’t reject applicants if google doesn’t turn up chartiable or community work either. I do google job candidates on a regular basis, and I hope they have some some sort of positive internet presence (as opposed to wild party pics or a poorly written blog, or something really troubling like hate speech). If they have no internet presence, I don’t discount their candidacy, but I’d probably do a little extra checking into their references to make sure everything is on the up and up. I’m more concerned about a candidate who had unprofessional content online than one who wanted to keep her privacy.

          1. Terra C*

            I’m glad to hear that, and surely hope that holds true for others. In my case, I have a great online presence in other areas, so when Googled, a hiring manager would see those things I really care for others to know.

          2. Terra C*

            This may seem counterintuitive, but I actually find Facebook to be useful to know who I have in common with colleagues I like, respect and have worked with. Of course I don’t *use* it for professional interactions, but since I only ever add people (current/former colleagues) I actually know, like and respect… well, a quick scan to see who may know someone I might work with (to hire or be hired by) tells me who in my network I can reach out to for more info, if need be—and probably lets me relax a bit when I see that (if) we share many similar minded or similarly educated friends and colleagues. That would tell me something useful, too, in terms of how I might fit in with a certain workplace culture – or how an applicant might fit into mine.

    3. S*

      I put my profile link in my resume, in the header. And I’m not going to lie, the number of responses I get to application materials has gone way up since I started doing that… I’m not going to say that’s the reason why, but it’s something I noticed.

  22. cardiganed librarian*

    I always think it’s funny that North Americans find it horrifying to think of adding headshots to a resume, yet we voluntarily do it on LinkedIn. I realize that my lack of a photo might be holding me back, but I can’t help but feel that if I don’t include a photo, then employers can still picture me as glamorous until they meet me.

    1. "Find yourself a cup; the teapot is behind you. Now tell me about hundreds of things."*

      I often read that photos on resumes are a European thing, but in the UK they are usually a big NO unless you work in some of the entertainment industries. They are something that some of the dubious advice sites advise though “to make you stand out! – e.g. sending CV/resume by post(!), sending same on coloured paper, setting up a video CV etc, etc. Thankfully, I never did that even before I discovered AAM.

      I did eventually add a photo to my profile after being pulled up by an interviewer for not having one, (He took it as a sign of my grand old age making me unfamiliar with technology and social media).

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Or it could be that someone doesn’t have a recent photo. I know people who are never in any holiday pictures because they’re too busy taking them. No one ever takes their pictures!

    2. Jen RO*

      I’m in Eastern Europe and including a photo is not the norm, but it’s not uncommon. I personally don’t include my photo on my resume (I don’t see how it’s relevant to someone who doesn’t know me), but I do include it on LinkedIn because I want my contacts to be able to recognize me (and I have a very common name). To me, the difference is between strangers (at companies I apply to) and acquaintances/friends (whom I connect with).

    3. Marcela*

      This. In my country photos in the resume are pretty much mandatory and that creates a lot of problems with age and race discrimination. I truly don’t get that having the protection of not being forced to put your photo in your resume, not only yo do it in LI, but you actually assume something negative of the people who refuses to do it!

  23. Armchair Analyst*

    Someone my age (35ish) or slightly younger was telling me that he didn’t like the social media aspect, he liked to do things face-to-face, and I was encouraging him to get on LinkedIn, at least, and my line was, what, do you coordinate by telegram? I mean, it’s seen as the bare minimum at this point, you don’t have to tweet or be on Twitter or Instagram or whatever, but I do think LinkedIn is the way to let people know that you’re a professional in most fields.

  24. Amber Rose*

    I only have one because I manage our company account, which can only be done through a personal account.

    I have some info up but not much, not even a picture. It just hasn’t ever mattered.

  25. Nicky*

    I think in the UK, LinkedIn use is catching up to what it is the US. You certainly wouldn’t be thought of as woefully out of touch if you didn’t have one, but if you’re in sales or marketing related roles, it’s regarded as a useful tool (and if you’ve got the job of updating your company’s page, you need to have a profile to access it, I think). And maybe it’s just because I live in Scotland, but I found it didn’t take long for me to be able to play Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon while job-hunting!

    For me, it’s been a great way to keep in touch with previous colleagues that I don’t know well enough to connect with on Facebook. When job-hunting, I did like that I could see when potential employers viewed my profile, even if it didn’t lead to an interview – at least I knew my applications were being read! I’m a designer, so it wasn’t weird to include the link on my portfolio website – however if your career isn’t very media/tech oriented, I can see how it would feel a bit random to include it in a job application or CV.

    LinkedIn endorsements, however, are admittedly pointless but occasionally hilarious. I do go on a spree from time to time, endorsing my friends for some of the more surreal options on offer. “Does [Vet] know about Animals?” is one of my favourites.

    1. Selkie*

      The six degrees in Scotland can be incredible. Turns out I once interviewed with someone who now works directly under my old musical theatre director – who is now a comms director at a major international charity. It’s so fun at times.

      1. Nicky*

        Based on the snippets you just posted in that comment, there is a worrying likelihood that we have people in common, particularly if you have connections in Glasgow (heck, we may be 3rd degree connections on LinkedIn already)!

        I’d wager that LinkedIn is probably a bit more intriguing in Scotland because it is such a small country and if, like me, you ended up with an extended social network thanks to uni and musical theatre (cough!), you start to get surprised when you find someone on LinkedIn whose not even a 5th or 6th degree connection to you. Best not even touch the ‘people you may know’ feature on Facebook – it’s just got way too uncanny for me.

  26. MaryMary*

    I applied for my current job through a LinkedIn job posting. My profile is nothing special, basically an electronic resume. I later found out that my current organization isn’t heavily into LinkedIn either, it was more of a “we’re having a hard time filling this role, so let’s try it” thing. But part of the reason my organization had a hard time filling the role is that they hadn’t used many other job boards. I don’t think I would have found the position if I wasn’t on LinkedIn.

  27. grasshopper*

    If you are looking for a job, then you should be on linked because they have a job postings section.

    I have seen some positions that are posted on LinkedIn that aren’t posted on other sites, aren’t posted on company websites etc. You could be missing out on opportunities because you’re not looking for postings there, especially since you’re saying that your search up to this point hasn’t been fruitful.

    1. NickelandDime*

      Yes. I like the function of applying to a position by just clicking a button and sending your profile for consideration for a position. Another good reason to have a complete profile. Isn’t applying for jobs enough work as is?

    2. Alternative*

      Agree – I have found LinkedIn to be by far the best place to search for job openings. I don’t even check Indeed or other sites anymore, they’ve gone the way of monster and other sites that are overrun by spammy listings and shady recruiters.

      1. KH*

        I just came off a stressful job search. Monster and Indeed were terrible. Glassdoor was fairly good. I actually got my current role from an unsolicited recruiter contact on LinkedIn. He described the job and asked if I knew anyone who might be interested. I said “well actually, I would be interested” and I ended up getting the job.
        Moral: You never know where your next job might come from, so don’t write off LinkedIn.

  28. Nerdling*

    In my experience, whether or not to be on LinkedIn varies by field. In my line of work, people tend to avoid it for personal security/OPSEC reasons. When your chief security officer uses the biggest boss in the office as a bad example for having a LinkedIn page that lists his current employment with you, not having an account at all looks pretty safe. :D

    1. Mike C.*

      So a related question. Given the nature of “need to know” policies, how does someone in that industry have a resume in the first place? Normally, folks can talk about previous employers, titles, projects worked on and so on.

      Also, references?

      1. Nerdling*

        You can often talk in generalities about what your position was and what you’ve done. It’s when you get into specifics that you tend to run into problems. So you can say that you spent X amount of time working a particular target or general topic or area, and then you focus on at least one major project you were involved in. Talk about the skills you employed and techniques you use or worked with. If you headed up a project, you can focus on your leadership skills and how you got everyone organized to achieve your goals.

        So your resume is going to list agency, position, years worked, and bullets for particular skills. It’s actually not all that different from any other resume, in my experience. And a lot of folks who move on from us go to other government agencies, which means less resume work and more writing to KSAs.

      2. AnotherFed*

        In lots of cases (at least in my corner of the weird government world), you probably already have a 6-degrees type connection, and just explaining who the connection is will let people know roughly what you worked on. For example, if I work on harbor defenses and you tell me you worked for Theon Greyjoy, then even though I don’t know what you specifically did, I have a good idea of what types of things you’re involved in.

        Also, almost every position has a description clean enough that you can tell it to your mother. That doesn’t mean your mother has any idea what it was or what it did, but combining what seniority level, what agency/department/location, what series it is, and the extra skills (like languages) on your resume at least lets people know that you were an electrical engineer working at the Army’s main missile facility and that they shouldn’t interview you for an analyst position focusing on east Africa.

  29. Jady*

    Ughhhh. I deleted mine quite awhile ago. I don’t care if it’s a barrier to a recruiter. If you’re that petty, I’m not interested in working for you.

    I started looking for a job, had clear personal contact information in my resume. First off I got a massive amount of spam, which was annoying in and of itself. But then I had recruiters STALKING me. I got phone calls at my current job, which I did not give out that information. They literally took my LinkedIn info, searched for the directory of my company, and found me on their directory. That is SUPER CREEPY to me. Are they going to be ringing up my coworkers next? No thank you. Massive violation of boundaries to me.

    I’m in general a private person to begin with, but that pushed it way over the edge. No more.

  30. E.R*

    I like Linkedin for keeping up with all my old co-workers and bosses and seeing what everyone is up to professionally. It’s a good thing to have when potential employers google you, as well (ie. controlling your online image). It’s also a great way keep in contact with interesting people you meet at conferences or volunteering, etc., who you wouldn’t want to add to Facebook. I do find it a much more helpful tool now that I’m about 7 years into my career, vs when I was much newer.

    I don’t like the articles on Linkedin at all, though. I find that they have compelling headlines with really pithy content.

  31. Stephanie*

    I think it depends on your industry. I’ve never had much come from it aside from some underwhelming recruiters (no, I don’t want to meet you at the Starbucks next to my office during work hours), but supposedly some people and industries find it more useful.

    Luckily, you don’t need to be constantly on it or updating it to maintain a sufficient presence.

  32. Name*

    I find it odd that people seem to be hung up on including a photo in your profile. Isn’t that essentially the same as including a photo with your resume which last I checked, is an unpopular idea? I’m not on LinkedIn, but I’ve been spammed like crazy through friends with invite requests. I heard they got sued for all the spamming, but that alone put me off from wanting to be associated with it. Neither of these things seem professional to me.

  33. Meg Murry*

    I got my current job in part because of Linked In. My now-boss was searching through resumes on Monster, and came up with an old one of mine (required to post it there when I was unemployed). He thought I sounded familiar and knew he had done work with one of the companies I had worked for. So he looked me up on Linked In (we were 2nd or 3rd degree connections). I had given more detail about some of the projects I had worked on there than I had room for on my resume – and he saw the project we had worked on together, when he had been the lead at the supplier (his former job) and I had been the vendor (2 jobs ago for me), and he remembered our interaction. Based on that, he called me in for an interview, and when that went well he contacted some of our mutual connections on LinkedIn who’s opinions he trusted for a references/opinions, and since he liked what he heard and our previous interactions I got the job – before he even interviewed anyone else.

    The project we had worked on together was 8 years ago, but networking paid off in the long term – and LinkedIn helped with that. So I’m in the “it can’t hurt and it definitely can help” category.

    As another “can’t hurt and can help” part – at this new position I contact people in offices all around the country. Being able to look up their picture on LinkedIn helps me put a face to a name, so when I see them once a year I know who it is I’m talking to right away.

  34. A. D. Kay*

    I was surprised to discover that LinkedIn’s greatest value to me has been the various user groups. For example, I’ve gotten some great tips and feedback from other members about software tools and best practices. It’s pretty much a given in my industry that you have to have a LinkedIn profile, but then again, I work in tech.

    1. grasshopper*

      I’m not in tech, but the professional groups are great. There’s tons of information sharing going in the discussion areas.

  35. Blue Dog*

    I don’t think it is a deal killer, but it does seem a bit odd to me. I get the same sort of visceral feeling when I see that someone has an “AOL” email account or a line on their resume that says “References available upon request.”

  36. zecrefru*

    This is best for passive job seekers. As has been mentioned on this blog previously, rightly or wrongly, people who are happily employed are most attractive to some employers, so my LinkedIn profile definitely conveys this. I’ve been contacted about some really interesting opportunities I would have never known about if I hadn’t been found on LinkedIn.

  37. "Find yourself a cup; the teapot is behind you. Now tell me about hundreds of things."*

    I mainly use it to connect with colleagues and it has been useful to be back in touch with them. Some of them go back in my worklife before emails etc were so routine and keeping in touch was less easy. Somehow LinkedIn etc makes it all smoother and more natural. I can just drop someone a line over the web whereas once I would have had to phone someone up which could be more problematic.

    Some of the careers articles give advice which is the exact opposite of AAM and is a good 10-20 years out of date.

    On the whole I find LinkedIn a useful tool although I take some of it with a pinch of salt.

  38. Kristin*

    I’ve found LinkedIn to be really useful in discovering connections. For example, when I was applying for a job a few years ago, I was able to search for the hiring manager and found that we had a few mutual connections that I could ask about their experience with that person and organization. I’ll connect with just about anyone I meet at networking events, and have found it to be a useful tool to follow up with new professional connections. I’m not logged in all the time (more like once a week, max), but I get emails whenever I get messages.

    I’m in nonprofit fundraising and also find it very useful for corporate prospect research – I usually don’t connect with these corporate contacts, but it’s a great tool to learn more about them in preparation for a meeting (they are ALL on LinkedIn). I have the settings where I can’t see who’s viewing my profile, and other people can’t see that I’m viewing theirs (so it’s not creepy).

  39. Spiky Plant*

    As someone who has hired in the past, I’ll tell you that the main value I find in candidates having an LI presence is before they’re candidates. If I have an opening I think you /might/ be suited for, but I can’t remember off the top of my head what your background is exactly, I’ll look at your LI to either confirm you might be a match (and contact you directly) or confirm that, wait, I thought you had more X than you did, so you wouldn’t be well suited to this gig after all. It allows me to keep caught up with people’s backgrounds and work interests without asking for updated resumes or keeping track of everyone internally (which I might attempt to do if I were a full-time recruiter, but it’s just not worth the time right now).

  40. Lizzie*

    I don’t have a LinkedIn. I have a lot of concerns, privacy-wise, about their site. For some context, I’m in my 20s. My boyfriend (also in his 20s) does not have a LinkedIn site–and he’s a techie in Silicon Valley with a doctorate in computer science. He also abstains due to privacy concerns. On the other hand, my mother–in her 60s–has over 1k connections on LinkedIn, and this is after culling her profile of fake connections. So I don’t think it’s an age thing.

    I would have a real problem with this being a mark against a candidate for an employer. Like Facebook, being on LinkedIn is a conscious choice. Most people in the U.S. (and around the world) have heard of LinkedIn and what it does, so I think that employers should realize that some candidates are actively not signing up for LinkedIn–not out of laziness, but out of their own opinion of the company.

    1. Marcela*

      Lizzie, I’m in the SF area, trying to find a job in software development, and I truly doubt about having a LinkedIn profile. I don’t want one for privacy reasons, plus most of my connections are not exactly in my area, as I’ve worked only in academia as the only developer in researcher groups, so I guess they are be kind of useless. In your boyfriend experience, has he found that not having a LinkedIn is detrimental for his job search?

      1. Lizzie*

        Hi Marcela-

        No, he did not. I think the general assumption is that if you’re in tech, you are aware enough to be concerned about privacy and make informed decisions on what personal details you release to the world.

        I work in a non-tech field in the Bay Area, and didn’t find it a detriment to my job search–not once did it come up. Personally, I think people are shifting away from it. Most people my age either don’t have it or are very reluctant in having a LinkedIn profile, leading to resentment towards LinkedIn (this is my anecdotal experience).

  41. Steve*

    I worked in reputation management and LinkedIn was a key foothold for people. People are searching for you online, and you need to exist. Bottom line.

    My current position was found by a recruiter finding me through LinkedIn and my optimized profile.

    Also, a photo is essential on LinkedIn. Think about it this way. If the profile isn’t complete, it looks unfinished and a photo is a piece of that.

    Statistics show that 80% of recruiters will Google you before they meet with you, be present online.

  42. Accountant*

    In my field, pretty much everyone has a linkedin. When we hear someone new has been hired, we go to their linked in right away to try to get a good idea of what kind of experience and education they have, and (if I’m going to be honest) make predictions of their longevity at our firm based on their profile pic.

    It definitely stands out in a negative way is if the picture is unprofessional. It probably varies from industry to industry, but in the fairly conservative professional world of public accounting, the people who have more “out there” profile pictures tend not to fit in as well. The latest hire, who lasted all of three months, had a photo of herself with her head tossed back and her mouth wide open like she was singing some kind of operatic aria. Another questionable hire was a man pictured wearing a tank top and gold chains. I’m sure this is not how it works in all industries, but if you’re going into a conservative field, where your linkedin is basically a second resume, it makes sense to have a conservative photo.

    1. Merry and Bright*

      Yep. The photo may well be the first impression you give. Last year I looked up a director who was going to interview me in a government department. His picture? A group of drunk men in a bar. The right image to give? I couldn’t even tell which p-head was him.

      I’m not saying professional studio portraits or nothing. Far from it. But LinkedIn is a business networking site. It is not all office professionals but if people see you in your swimwear, your wedding clothes or see you downing a pint (I’ve seen all this stuff plenty of times) will business contacts and recruiters take you so seriously? Some won’t mind but do you want that risk?

  43. Ed*

    I have what I call a passive LinkedIn account. I keep it up-to-date with my job history, new certifications, etc. but don’t into detail on anything more than job title and company. I initiate connections with co-workers (especially those that are resigning) and people from outside companies if we do business or work on a project together. I only accept requests from people I know professionally and recruiters not located in India. Other than that, I never give it a thought unless I’m looking for work.

    It’s a great way to stay in touch with people you only know professionally. I would typically never exchange contact info with a co-worker but now I can contact any previous co-worker. You never know when you will be moving across the country to the same town a previous co-worker relocated to years before. And I will occasionally have previous co-workers reach out to me about work which is fine. I’ve also had previous managers offer me positions when they switch jobs which is great. But I could care less about all the crap people post on a daily basis.

    I don’t judge people for not having an account but like AAM, I do notice. I also notice when they have a few abandoned accounts floating around. I assume those accounts were linked to a previous job’s email address so they can’t recover the password. I would suggest never using your work email for anything not work-related. As a sys admin, I could tell some real horror stories about people who got laid off with no notice and lost extremely important personal emails. I just shake my head when work email addresses are used for things like banking, communication with doctors/lawyers, online dating, etc.

    I can see how LI would be an extremely valuable tool for recruiters though. I get calls and emails from recruiters 2-3 times a month and I always take them, even though I’m happy right now. I can remember vividly how much it sucked being out of work for months so I make a point to keep those relationships active. Plus, I think most people will subconsciously work harder for a person that doesn’t ignore you until they need something from you.

  44. Kat*

    Would be great if you could do a tutorial on putting together a strong LinkedIn profile. Mine is a little sparse, but I’m not sure what I need to be adding to it.

  45. Observer*

    I pretty much agree with everyone else who said that LinkedIn is probably not vital, but can’t hurt. What I am curious about is why you resent the idea? That seems like a fairly strong reaction to something that seems like a fairly small deal.

    1. CrazyCatLady*

      I can’t speak for anyone else but being “forced” into having an online presence (especially if you have privacy concerns, like a stalker ex or something else) could cause resentment.

      1. Alex*

        I can agree with this train of thought. I have closed all social media accounts except LI, and I scour privacy settings on my email and LI accounts regularly. I hate that I have to use this tool (LI is SO INVASIVE even with the security settings – seriously, you can’t opt out of it scanning to find people in your network. I looked into it and it scans other users on your wifi, vpn, or internet connection to find you new suggested connections. All the sudden the dude on the coffee shop wifi will show up in your suggested contacts. It also allows you to opt out of it mining your email contacts, however it somehow still pulls people I’ve emailed with years and years ago and have never shared any other connections with… it’s very fishy, and I hate it. But it is a requirement for my line of work (sales).

        1. Alex*

          And if you turn off your profile visibility, it defeats the whole purpose of having an account.

        2. V.V.*

          “(LI is SO INVASIVE even with the security settings – seriously, you can’t opt out of it scanning to find people in your network. I looked into it and it scans other users on your wifi, vpn, or internet connection to find you new suggested connections.”

          WHAT the Hell? Please link a reference to this. I know these guys are shady, but I would like to know just how, before I fall deeper in the rabbit hole.

          1. Alex*

            I can’t find the original article I read that from, but I did find this one which I thought was really interesting, especially the comments:

            I’ve also tried to create a fake profile, with a totally different name than mine and a spoof email address, from a cleared cookies/cached browser, and it would immediately suggest people to me that were the same connections on my real profile… The only way this could have been possible is if they kept my cookies, used IP address history, or something!? I have no idea. When I connected to my VPN, it then suggested a bunch of my work colleagues in the Atlanta office, and when I switched to our other VPN location out of Ohio, I got more Ohio suggestions from my company. MESSED UP.

            I loathe LinkedIn, but I’ve come to accept it. I feel the same way about Google, but I haven’t put any time into researching a less invasive email supplier. I really hate this current tech trend of “eco system”. It makes is so tedious and difficult to keep track of all the privacy settings.

  46. S*

    Having a LinkedIn profile and using it has been crucial to my job duties. I do a lot of cold emails–LinkedIn will tell me if a prospect is a fellow alum of my school, if we have connections in common that could make an introduction, anything at all that can help me make that initial email a little less cold and more likely to get a response.

    I have my company headshot as a profile picture, a complete work history with 2 short (3 sentences or less) paragraphs about each job, and a carefully written summary. Nothing unprofessional, and I do not share personal photos or updates unless they are truly work-related (I think I posted a photo from our all-staff retreat a few weeks ago). Now that I’m looking for a job, I’ve noticed that I’m getting many more responses to my application materials, and have also been contacted by recruiters without needing to send out applications first.

    (As you can tell, I’m firmly in the ‘use LinkedIn wisely and often’ camp…)

  47. Julie*

    I like to control what people see about me in Google searches. I’ve been mentioned in context of giving statements for a past employer but I have my own career and want to make that the front and center of search results. I made a good LinkedIn page (professional photo, qualified connections, profile about matches my resume) and made sure to use SEO so it’s one of the first results in all search engines. I did the same for my brother too, because there are two Wakeen Williams in the world and one is a meth head with many arrests and the other is my brother. He certainly didn’t want to be confused.

    I don’t do much with my profile beyond that. It is mostly a visible resume with confidential information removed. I use the groups on LinkedIn to stay ahead of some industry trends but otherwise I treat it as a static change, updating maybe once or twice a year so it won’t be obvious I’ve made changes if I am looking for work.

    1. AnotherFed*

      I like to control what people see about me in Google searches, too, but in my case (and probably many of my colleagues), my preferred result is a big, fat Nothing. I don’t mean to say that no one should have a LI account, just that there people who actively work to make sure that their internet presence is hard to find or nonexistent and that’s a valid, informed choice that’s probably harder to keep up with.

    2. JC*

      Yep, this is exactly why I made my linkedin account google-able and added my picture. I used to like to keep my social media off of google. But there is precisely one other person with my name, and while all of the professional hits you’d get googling me were me (I’m a researcher, so a lot of papers and presentations), all of the social media hits and pictures were of her. And some included costumes and lots of boob. So people who knew of me professionally but had never met in real life would google me and think I was costume boob-girl. So now if you google me, you get costume boob-girl’s stuff but also my linkedin and picture, and also google+ picture (that I had previously removed). Glad that it’s clear to the googling public that there are two of us.

  48. Spooky*

    It depends on your field and location, but I actually think Alison’s advice for both this and the thank-you notes isn’t right anymore. It WILL be a deciding factor. Recently my office was hiring for two positions, and I got to hear the interview process from the other side. No matter how qualified the candidates were, they were automatically disqualified for the position if they did not send a thank-you note by close of business the day of the interview. This wasn’t just one person saying that – it was the accepted norm, and everyone on the hiring team agreed that it went without question. I had always heard that it wasn’t a make-or-break deal, like Alison said, so I asked around to some other people in the area (NYC) and everyone agreed without even pausing to think. If you don’t send thank-yous before the end of the day, everyone said that it showed you were either rude or not interested, and you were automatically out, period.

    I’d be willing to bet it’s the same deal with LinkedIn. It’s not a smart hiring policy by any means, but there are absolutely people who will take you out of the running immediately for not doing it. And around here, those people seem to be the rule, not the exception. From what I’ve seen, it’s no longer a “give you an edge in a tie” or “reflect well on you” thing. It’s a requirement.

    1. Retail Lifer*

      I’ve been hiring people for over 16 years and I think I’ve gotten a thank you note ONCE. Granted, I hire for slightly-above-entry-level jobs, but even when the job market was much tighter I never had anyone else do that.

      1. Spooky*

        These were for entry-level jobs! I think it’s ridiculous – they’re potentially excluding great candidates. But job-hunters don’t get to make the rules. I guess we should be grateful that it’s a simple enough hoop to jump through, and not something more difficult.

        1. Retail Lifer*

          I’ve never held it against anyone, but I absolutely did hire the one person who did write one!

    2. TheSockMonkey*

      What happens when the candidate goes from the interview directly back to work, without access to a way to send a thank you email? Does your company count that against candidates then too?

    3. Rosetta*

      That seems like too tight of a deadline to me. For example, I interviewed on Friday and sent my thank you note on Monday. That’s because during the interview, it came up that one of the programming frameworks being used for the job I wasn’t too familiar with. This job was a great fit in all other aspects and skill alignments, so I took the weekend to read up on it, did a few tutorials, and in my thank you note followed up by showing my interviewer a small project I did using what I learned.

      I got a pretty positive feedback to that letter, and I’m supposed to hear back this week about their decision. While I found the general learning experience useful, I’d have been pretty crushed if the fact that I took some extra time to respond meaningfully automatically ruled me out from a position.

    4. Marcela*

      The thank you letter think is absolutely ridiculous and blind. In many countries, like mine, there is no such absurd custom of sending a thank you letter. And no, nobody tells us that, so for a long time we did not send them. Once you start reading sites like this, you discover people expect them and we are doing it now. I believe it is an incredible level of evil, yes, I’ll use that word, to assume that people apply to jobs without interest. Yea, the thing I love the most is to apply to jobs I don’t want. Very, very exciting. People need to work, but not only you have to be perfect for the role, you have to jump these loops as you are a trained dog, always sooo happy to work wherever you get the chance, and behaving perfectly. It is insulting.

    5. Jennifer*

      Yeah, well, it took me 24 hours to send a damn thank-you note last time because I had a BITCH of a time trying to find one person’s contact information.
      Not that it helped me any, mind you.

  49. Retail Lifer*

    A co-worker told me her son gets contacted by recruiters all the time on LinkedIn because of some software program he knows, and a collegue in our marketing department told me that an interviewer at a different company dismissed her because she didn’t have enough LinkedIn contacts. If you have a skill that’s a bit more rare and in demend, or if networking is really important in your job, then it seems like having an account would be beneficial.

    As for me, I’ve been contacted by recruiters out of the blue a few times. So far it hasn’t been for anything I’d ever be interested in, but there’s always the possibility that maybe one day it will be for something better. I used it to apply for a job once and it was really easy…but then I was immediately sent an email requesting my resume in a Word doc even though all that same info was on my profile. So then it became slightly less easy.

    Having a profile certainly doesn’t hurt, but so far for me it hasn’t helped either. As I learned from AAM yesterday, my degree is pretty much worthless and I already knew my job history was mediocre, so any chance I can get for a hiring manager to find me, however slight it may be, is one I won’t pass up.

  50. Jondunc*

    I’ve secured two jobs through recruiters sourcing me via LinkedIn and I receive roughly two solid, legitimate cold call interview offers through LinkedIn every month. It is also the primary tool I use to job search and to prepare for interviews. I consider it an essential part of a professional Internet presence and I’m always surprised when people prefer not to use it, because the ROI is so high.

    1. Lead, Follow or Get Outta the Way!*

      Agreed. When I was looking to move positions, I updated my LI profile and within 2 weeks had 2 companies contact me for positions (1 directly and 1 via recruiter) that were great fits. I received offers from both after a series of 2-3 interviews and ended up accepting one. I’ve been here for almost 2 years and it’s been great. I still receive inquiries from recruiters and have also made recommendations. I do need to update my profile, but not interested in moving companies at all (although it’s good to know what is out there…)

  51. Rachel*

    LinkedIn has become a more dominant search and source tool for companies compared to Monster these days. Our organization allocates more recruiting funds for LinkedIn Recruiter Profile than any other recruiting platform. Hence why I believe you likely received the advice to create a LinkedIn profile. Often times our recruiters are talking with candidates via LinkedIn and using their profile as a guide for connecting, well before they ever see the individual’s resume. It is certainly a helpful recommendation to follow if actively looking for a new career opportunity.

  52. So you want them to just google you with no direction?*

    Employers are going to try and look you up online – so would you rather they google you and pull up Ms. Same Name the Fetish Stripper or would you rather put your LinkedIn address on your resume so they can get a more in depth look at you as a professional?

    1. So you want them to just google you with no direction?*

      Employers probably don’t want to spend a bunch of time trying to find you online, so if you give them a link you highly increase the chance that they will be looking at you in a professional light and not snooping through your facebook (or worse finding the wrong you online who is sketchy!). I’m not saying providing the linkedIn profile completely prevents this, but if you have a time pressed hiring manager with a link to your LinkedIn and they have to choose between searching for 20 minutes to maybe find the right Ms. Applicant vs easily finding you on linkedIn the easy road will win more often then not.

      I also do this since I prefer to dissuade future employers from trying to look me up on facebook (which I keep heavily locked down). I know managers who have moved an applicant off the interview pile because they didn’t like the politcal affiliation. Even highly secure facebook profiles can be a downfall if the employer doesn’t like the photo – I kid you not I once had a manager on my team set an applicant who otherwise looked great on paper aside because he had a cartoon as the profile picture in facebook and the manager thought that was “childish” and “unprofessional”.

    2. Traveler*

      I would assume they are not just going to google my name, but the industry I work in. Even with names you’d think were rare, a lot of results can come up.

    3. AnotherFed*

      One of my former coworkers has the same name as an adult film star. Since not being casually findable is a plus in the government area we work in, this was a pretty big pro for him! Anything that was actually related to him was always going to be buried in search results for the celebrity, so he’s always going to easily pass the quick screen for discretion, while everyone else is stuck wondering why on earth the county they lived in 5 years ago wants to put everyone’s tax records online.

    4. Cris*

      Honestly, I have the oppossite problem – I don’t have an LI because, so far as I can tell, I am literally the only person in the entire world with my first and last name.

      And, quite frankly, I don’t want everyone in the world being able to google my name and immediately finding these things. I don’t care how beneficial it would be for me professionally, I just plain don’t want this stuff out there because it is so easy for any random Joe Blow to google.

  53. JustHiredJess*

    I actually got my current job because a recruiter from my current job reached out to me via LinkedIn. While I wouldn’t say it was a necessity, I would say that it is a good thing to have especially when job searching. I wouldn’t have even looked at this company without someone reaching out to me to introduce it to me.

  54. Traveler*

    I have way too many privacy concerns with LinkedIn. The biggest being I don’t want to advertise to the world where I work.

    1. Vicki*

      So… don’t.

      You don’t need to put anything in your profile that you don’t want to put in your profile. I’ve never listed my current company, neither in LinkedIn or on my resume. I don’t give my address. I use my general geographic location, not my actual city.

      What you share is up to you.

      1. Traveler*

        What is the point of LinkedIn though, if I’m hiding most of the information? Especially with everyone above saying that an incomplete profile sets off red flags for potential employers? I’d rather just not bother with the hassle at all.

    2. Vicki*

      You also control who can see your profile and what they can see. Do they see your full name? Your photograph? That’s up to you.

  55. SlickWilly*

    I found my previous job through a posting on LinkedIn, and got my current job from someone who recruited me through there. Both jobs were great fits. So you know my opinion. (I’m in IT, generally speaking.)

    1. Alex*

      This is a good point – I know a ton of people who have been head-hunted through LinkedIn that would not have been otherwise. Especially in sales and IT, but I’ve seen this in marketing and even financial industries where people are looking for certain certifications.

  56. Vicki*

    Many years ago, at a conference keynote, my spouse and I learned of a lovely way to describe technologies and tools. There are 6 “levels” or stages:
    0 – New – in use only by the author/creator and/or a small number of “edge” leaders
    1 – Recognized – Still considered leading edge. Used by friends of the creator.
    2 – Common – In use by Friends of friends; frequent and regular.
    3 – Accepted – Widespread. Lots of people are using it
    4 – Expected – People do not have to explain to anyone why they are using it.
    5 – Assumed – People have to explain why they are not using it.

    In most industries, LinkedIn is now at level 4. In many (e.g. social media, technology), it’s level 5.

  57. mskyle*

    I’m curious about people’s privacy concerns… I mean, if you’re job searching, you need to be putting *some* information out into the world, right? And you have a fair amount of control over what you put on LinkedIn, and can leave jobs off or conceal/obfuscate job details if you have a good reason. I suppose there is a certain amount of “oh, what’s Julie been up to since she got fired from Olive Garden?” type searches going on, but eh, that’s a price I’m willing to pay to get my work history in front of more people.

    1. CrazyCatLady*

      I’m actually on there, but had LinkedIn been as prevalent 6 years ago, I most certainly would not have joined because I had a stalker. When I’m job searching, I’m sending my resume specifically to people soliciting it and it doesn’t show up in search results for just anyone to see. Like people above have said, if your LinkedIn profile doesn’t match your resume (by concealing details or leaving off certain jobs), it raises concerns/red flags. If you’re going to have a LI profile, you need to include your current job, otherwise it would be strange.

      1. mskyle*

        Stalkers certainly fall into the “good reasons” category! But in my industry at least I don’t think the penalty for leaving off recent jobs would be any worse than the penalty for not having a LinkedIn at all.

      2. Anx*

        I have a semi-estranged family member try to use the internet to get more information about my life than I’d like to provide.

        I don’t always feel threatened, but they would send me messages whenever they found something out about it. It was unnerving.

      3. AnonForThisOne*

        This. I have been stalked at work. It’s terrifying to have to have a security guard walk you to your car every night, or be stuck interacting with someone you know is just there to make you uncomfortable because you’re in “business mode” and front facing. Or to have someone walk up to you that you’ve never met and start talking about your profile online. I think its crazy that so many people are so casual about this. I guess if it hasn’t happened to you it’s not something you think about. I never thought about it before it happened myself.

        Plus my field has a take it or leave it attitude towards LinkedIn, so there’s no real reason that I should put my safety at risk.

      4. Jasmine*

        Exactly this. I made my LI profile private (which defeats the whole purpose), but an old stalker recently got bored and looked up my husband’s public profile instead and then threatened to contact the CEO of my husband’s company to get him fired. It’s terrifying to me that a public LI page with a photo and your resume info is turning into an expectation. For some people, this level of information sharing is straight up dangerous.

  58. Alex*

    If you’re in sales, especially outside sales, I can almost guarantee that you’ll be passed over if you don’t have a fairly well-established LinkedIn presence.

  59. CrazyCatLady*

    I’m actually on there, but had LinkedIn been as prevalent 6 years ago, I most certainly would not have joined because I had a stalker. When I’m job searching, I’m sending my resume specifically to people soliciting it and it doesn’t show up in search results for just anyone to see. Like people above have said, if your LinkedIn profile doesn’t match your resume (by concealing details or leaving off certain jobs), it raises concerns/red flags. If you’re going to have a LI profile, you need to include your current job, otherwise it would be strange.

  60. Vicki*

    I find LinkedIn to be the best way to keep track of and keep in touch with former co-workers. I also, occasionally, get pings from recruiters or former co-workers about possible jobs.

  61. JoJo*

    I created a LinkedIn profile after I got laid off. The only positive result is that I contacted a couple of distant relatives.

  62. A Kate*

    People’s reactions to LinkedIn fascinates me. I live in Germany, where it’s normal to put your photo on your resume. Americans I talk to think this practice invites discrimination, while these same people emphasize the importance of an online presence for job candidates and assume hiring managers are looking candidates up on LinkedIn, where there’s also a photo.

    I also know a ton of Germans who won’t use their real names or photos on Facebook because DATA PRIVACY, but have detailed LinkedIn profiles with names, photos, and everywhere they’ve ever worked. It’s the same internet, people!

  63. YourOwnPersonalCheeses*

    I’ve never used LinkedIn, but I’m curious: what if your work history is kind of embarrassing? I’ve been underemployed for a while now, and if I were to create a LI profile as part of a job search, would any random person be able to look at it? Like, even people I haven’t seen since high school? I shudder at the thought! I wouldn’t literally have to make my lame-o work history public knowledge, would I?

  64. McDerp*

    I moved 1000 miles away from where I spent the majority of my life and changed my name entirely (F, M, and L), and creating a LinkedIn profile would negate part of the reason for doing all of that, which was to leave my old life behind. I am up on professional trends, I know how to create one, I am not technically inept. I just have no desire to make it known to past employers and coworkers where I am now and what I’m doing or make it any easier for new links to inquire about my past.

    I did at one point at least create an account without doing anything with the profile, and immediately got connection requests from two people who knew me on Facebook (current life, not past) but with whom I had absolutely zero professional contact. Not only that, but they lived in a completely different country. I have seen the information that’s available on LI profiles and I just have no desire to make that much info known about me. If that loses me opportunities, so be it.

  65. K. (for Keneisha)*

    Linked In, with its profile photo emphasis, has now offered racist, misogynist and ageist employers the easiest way yet to avoid having even to interview “undesirable” (but otherwise qualified) people. Without the photo, they’d have to actually go by applicants work history ONLY on their CVs to suss out if we might be at least preliminarily qualified. Then if applicants show up and aren’t their preferred race, gender or age… well, they’re already in the office and might just be able to sell themselves with a winning personality to match a great CV. Now that there’s Linked In? No need. Don’t like South Asians? Young Black men? Women who wear hijab? 40 year olds who look 60—or 25? Now it’s super easy to avoid even talking to them altogether. This is not a good thing!!

    1. Onymouse*

      I wouldn’t want to try to charm someone who was prejudiced against my {age, gender, race, …}. If they want to filter me out upfront, good riddance. Saves me from taking a day off to interview.

      1. K. (for Keneisha)*

        Wow, so… why did my grandparents generation insist upon sitting at those segregated lunch counters? They should have just said “good riddance” and chosen different restaurants!

        (Apologies for the snark here to everyone else. I’m just reeeaaally taken aback by this comment. The Civil Rights and Womens movements should have made clear to us all that things don’t change, discrimination doesn’t go away by running away or avoiding the problem. “The market” can’t be trusted to rights these wrongs.)

    2. AW*

      Alison just answered a letter from a woman who got as far as a phone interview and the interviewer was upset when they heard their voice and realized their job candidate was a woman:

      I know employers assume I’m a man, and in one phone interview, the interviewer went incredibly cold upon learning I was [first name] and I wasn’t able to salvage that interview. Within the hour I got the “We’re no longer considering you” email. Most interviewers aren’t so rude, but I do worry that it’s impeding my ability to find a job.

      We do know from studies that people absolutely do screen out job applications for having female names, “ethnic” sounding names, etc. The problem is that these people don’t suddenly stop being bigoted just because you managed to get past their screening process. As I said in the comments in that thread, I left my photo off of LinkedIn because I thought it would increase my chances of getting a job. Unfortunately, while it may increase your chances of getting an interview, it doesn’t necessarily increase your chances of getting the job.

      People like to talk about “unconscious bias” when it comes to things like screening out resumes but let me tell you, that ish is not happening on accident. They are not “accidentally” being rude and dismissive in interviews. You aren’t going to get past a racist gatekeeper and find that everyone else in the organization is happy to see you. If the company never gets a diverse pool of applicants to interview, it’s because they want it that way.

      If you want them to have to deal with the reality that black/Hispanic/Muslim/female/older/younger people are qualified job applicants, more power to you. But I don’t think that a photo on LinkedIn actually changes the end result that much.

  66. Entry Level*

    So, question about LinkedIn. I’m an entry-level worker with exactly two jobs on my resume: one retail for about six months, then a huge gap (~3.5 years) due to chronic illness, and now my current job. My education timeline is basically the same thing. I’m not searching for a new job right now, but I do want to network and indicate I’m aware of professional trends. I have basically nothing to put on a resume, and what is there doesn’t look great on paper; I only got my current job due to good references from professors. At this point, is there even a point in creating a LinkedIn profile?

    1. AW*

      I only got my current job due to good references from professors.

      Having good references from your professors is a good thing. Besides, it’s not like you have to indicate that on your resume.

      If you find that social media helps you stay in touch with people who’d otherwise fall out of your network, go ahead and create one now and add your professors to your network. You can leave off that first job if you don’t want to emphasize the gap in employment.

      If you are good at managing your network offline and the type of jobs you’d seek in the future wouldn’t expect you to have a LinkedIn presence, then it’s fine to wait. But I personally don’t think it looks bad for an entry level worker to just have their current job up there. But then again, I’m not a recruiter or a hiring manager.

    2. Rosetta*

      My entry level LinkedIn also includes volunteer work, internships and research projects I’ve done with professors. You’ve got good references, so I imagine you must have done work for those professors above and beyond the average student. You should include that.

    3. Anonymous Coward*

      Leave off the short-term retail job. Include your degree(s) and coursework/projects if they’re relevant to your current network, and list your current position/company and what you do/what you’ve achieved there. In your summary, say something about your work philosophy, career aspirations, and what you’re hoping to find in LinkedIn (want to network with people who _____________, for example). That’s all you need. Join some groups and read some of their topic threads. if you make a professional connection in person, ask to connect. Look for people you have worked with or went to school with and see what they’re up to. Don’t add people you have no professional connection to. Your network will grow in size and value.

  67. Trixie D*

    I have actually come across some job sites where you apply for a job by linking to your LinkedIn profile instead of uploading a resume.

    1. AW*

      I’ve applied to a few jobs that way too. If LinkedIn could get more job sites/employers to do that, that would be AWESOME! Imagine not having to re-type your resume, which you have to send them separately anyway, into each company’s custom form.

      1. A Kate*

        Yeah, but the drawback is that you can’t customized your profile to each job you’re applying for the way you would your resume.

        1. AW*

          True, but you can submit other documents along with it.

          And really, that’s the sort of thing they ought to be focusing on: adding features that would make them *the* site to use for applying to jobs (and on the employer side, getting job applications), not trying to be more like Facebook. Even other job sites let you have multiple resumes.

  68. Estella*

    I find that LinkedIn gets in my way, more often that not. Mostly because in the real job-seeker world, we’re supposed to never just pass around the same cover letter or resume, but rather, to make sure to present our work history in the most relevant and useful way per the very specific job and company you’re applying to. With LinkedIn, you really can’t do that. In my field, I’m a noted expert in a particular thing. If I were to apply for a job where that thing was super important, they’d absolutely need to know this upfront and would only help me. But that same thing, in other sub-secotrs in the broader field, is not only not important, they actually look down on the projects enabled by those of use who are experts in that skill set (industry snobbery.) So to get a job there, I need to do everything possible NOT to show that I also work in that skill set and never would mention it. On LinkedIn I’m damned if I do, and damned if I don’t.

  69. Rachael*

    I have a LinkedIn. I made up the profile in college. I’ve looked at it maybe twice since. Maybe it’s different in the US (I’m Canadian), but I haven’t found it particularly important to my professional life.

  70. soitgoes*

    Ugh, I’ve been thinking about whether I should join LinkedIn lately. I’ve found myself working in an industry that, if not wholly based on networking, definitely expects you to have some social currency (it’s fashion-adjacent). My issue is that, as “drama queen” as it sounds, there is someone from my past who routinely runs google searches on me, and who would make a game of showing up to my current workplace and causing a scene. Is there a work-around for how public LinkedIn seems? Is there a way to make your profile non-google-able or unsearchable outside of your industry?

  71. Susan*

    I was skeptical of LinkedIn but made one in college (I graduated in 2012), probably because I’m younger and more prone to doing social media-type things. But for whatever it’s worth, my friend who is one year younger than me got his job through LinkedIn. And I was to clarify, he’s not that overly zealous LinkedIn type — he just has a basic profile with basic bullets, not even doing much to showcase his achievements like Allison would suggest. But his now current employer was looking for people in his area that were bilingual and had experience with social media and they contacted him! He’s been there since 2013. I just think that was a huge break for him because he doesn’t live in a necessarily big area for marketing and all that. He also comes from a working class family and didn’t even have a car. So despite how talented he is, he could have easily been one of those millennials who was stuck doing retail because he was forced to live in a less-than-ideal market. But because of his LinkedIn account, it actually worked out for him with essentially no effort on his part.

  72. Zhook*

    I’m Canadian, and I’ve worked in social media since it first existed, and I don’t use LI. It’s never been an issue.

  73. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

    As an older worker – and someone who was out of work ONCE in his 40+ career – I learned.

    Keeping your career going? It’s about hard work, networking, making yourself known, having some accomplishments in your field, networking, a solid work record, doing innovative things, networking, and updating your skills set.

    Did I forget NETWORKING? If you suddenly find yourself in the street – the quicker you find something else – the more assurance you’ll keep your career going. If the worst happens – you go right to LinkedIn…

    My friends who have “hit the wall” have succeeded that way…

  74. notfunny*

    I have a linkedin profile which has been in the background for a while with basic information. The one thing that is very helpful when job searching is that linkedin lets you sort by experience level so you can see what is entry level or more experienced. When I was job searching, I would see what was out there by experience level and then usually apply through another channel, but found it to be a useful way to search.

  75. Rampant Discrimination*

    LinkedIn is discrimination central. I removed my photo and every place I applied to afterward responded. I recently made my photo visible again. Zero responses. And I’m considered attractive! It’s racial. Minority professionals are experienced enough in the world to know darn well what they are encountering. Discrimination is rampant.

  76. trying to post comment again*

    Yes, you can absolutely make your profile non-google-able however as your network and groups grows…stalkers and lurkers are a problem. I won’t mention how they do it because I don’t want to give anyone ideas. Stalkers and lurkers are a problem on LinkedIn and social media in general. You have to carefully experiment with its settings and find a way that works for you. Do not use it if safety is a serious concern or if you work with people who will let anyone into your office building. Call LinkedIn customer service and ask them for advice.

  77. Anx*

    I gave up on LinkedIn for the time-being.

    I found it too painful to network in with people I used to work with and make it obvious just how much I haven’t grown. I couldn’t take the thought of them judging me or feeling bad for me. It was a major source of shame and anxiety. I also didn’t know how to frame my experiences. I was simultaneously looking for survival jobs, jobs related to my past work experience, jobs related to my education, and jobs related to my interests. It was very difficult to present a master resume.

    Once I stopped thinking about LinkedIn (and other social media), I found myself putting myself out there in other ways more and more. I started maintaining some of my relationships more and more.

    1. Jenster*

      Yep, that’s one of the reasons that I don’t particularly like Linkedin and social media in general…they could cause anxiety just by having people comparing with each other. Glad that you’re doing better now! =]

  78. A Reader*

    Why is everyone getting cold calls from recruiters on LinkedIn and I’m not? I’m not in tech but I do have a professional and complete profile. Somebody head-hunt me, please! I’ve never gotten one call and all other indicators are that I’ve been doing well in my career.

  79. Jenster*

    I just recently “reactivated” my linkedin account just to reconnect with someone. However, I kept my info minimum (ie. just school info, employment history with dates but no skills listed). Personally, it wasn’t for the fact that I’m trying to reconnect with this particular friend of mine (we’ve lost connection some years back, but that’s another story), I would not reactivate my linkedin account for the following reasons (some of readers here have, perhaps, already mentioned):

    1) Privacy concerns – apparently, I do have a few stalkers and some people that I would rather NOT connect with. Also, there are some places or lower-tier office positions on the employment history that I would rather not share with ex co-workers, friends, and etc. especially if my connections (ie. peers around my age) tend to have a way more stellar employment history than me. I know it’s silly to be ashamed of such stuff, but I am.

    2) I’m more an introvert/low-key person…I don’t really like to build an “online” presence of myself. Fortunately, my field of work doesn’t require an “online” presence of employees.

    3) Don’t like to spend time on social media all that much.

    Honestly though, I think having an “online” presence of oneself is more of a personal choice kind of thing (assuming that one’s field of work doesn’t require an online presence). Some people like it, but some people dislike it. For those who dislike it, it’s not necessarily mean that they’re not tech-savvy. For example, it could be that they’re the kind that happen to enjoy hiking more than spending time on social media (and it’s a difficult not to think that Linkedin is not a social medium). Also, could be that they’re “hipsters” who don’t follow trends all that often, but that still doesn’t mean that they don’t set the trend once in a while (okay, might be going overboard with this one, but the idea is not too far off).

    A weird analogy: People who don’t have Linkedin account come off as weird to people who know how to “take advantage” of Linkedin just like how teenage girls who think anyone who dislike One Direction’s music is weird. =/

    1. Anx*

      I have to roll my eyes when people talk about people not being on social media being ‘out of touch’ or ‘falling behind.’

      I actually really do like social media that is centered around shared interests instead of shared social networks. I prefer anonymity or alternate identities to using my real name. That I don’t use twitter, begrudgingly check FB, and don’t see any appeal to LI doesn’t mean I don’t use social networking. I belong to some fandoms and interest groups.

      Also, when relationships move to the internet and are attached to your name, there’s no moving on from who were years ago. I also don’t need my family watching every little thing I post and spending hours picking it apart for subtext.

      1. Jenster*


        there’s more breathing room when I know that people are not constantly watching my every move.

  80. Bevina del Ray*

    I don’t have a LinkedIn because I’m the only person in the world with my name (it’s very unique) and I have a few people who have stalked me in the past. Thoughts?

    1. nona*

      IME it’s best to stay off of websites that require your real name if your name won’t let you hide anything. Someone with a name like Ann Smith stays somewhat anonymous. Bevina del Ray or Nona’s-real-name Lastname or Xanthippe Voorhees have all their personal information in the first page of Google results.

  81. Ann*

    I find it interesting that recruiters have the time to search candidates’ online presence, be it FB or LinkedIn. I thought that recruiters/HR individuals were so busy that they only have time to scan resumes for 10 seconds. At what point do recruiters seek a candidate’s online presence? Being that they are so busy and all… :-/

    1. KH*

      They are using search criteria to float the most likely candidates to the top…which is exactly what they do with their applicant pools using the applicant tracking systems. They use LinkedIn to find potential candidates who did NOT apply to the job posting…and these are sometimes the best candidates.

  82. nona*

    Have to admit I really, really don’t like LinkedIn and haven’t been there in months. But it looks like a profile there is important to some hiring managers, whether that’s a good thing or not. I’ll try to keep up with it more.

  83. LP*

    I have a linked in account, but I rarely log in to it. I did update it while I was job searching over a year ago, but it didn’t seem to get me anywhere.

    I wonder about “friending” people I don’t know on there. Sometimes I’ll receive requests from seemingly random people that I can’t make a connection to, and I decline them. Should I be adding the connection to these people for some reason, or can a recruiter see my profile without me doing that? (or are they just adding me for advertising purposes)

  84. KH*

    I got my current job through LinkedIn.

    A recruiter contacted me after finding my profile based on whatever search criteria they were using. This was after 5 months of looking for a job through networking and cold applications and all that other stuff.

    So I would say YES, LinkedIn needs to be a part of repertoire. It may not be where you find your next job, but why reduce your options?

  85. Becky B*

    I’m in the “YES to LinkedIn” camp, because anecdotally, I was able to get first one and then another social media job using social media–specifically LinkedIn. So in a very circular way, it makes sense for me to keep nurturing that channel, because it has paid off (and without me putting actual money into it).

    I also like the opportunity to upload projects, certs, and even publish blog posts there that less than 1% read but which I still feel accomplished doing, and which show up right on my profile so I look all learned and productive. Perceptions! :)

    Naturally I recommend LinkedIn to others, but I understand that it really has to make sense for people to use it.

  86. Stranger than Fiction*

    I’m sorry I missed this conversation yesterday. I’m in the camp that it helps you find a job these days. My significant other literally found his last two jobs on Linkedin, and recruiters are constantly finding him and contacting him about other opportunities. Maybe because he’s in Tech, but still. Many employers are posting their jobs and having you apply through Linkedin, and he and several of my other friends say they’re liking it more than Monster. Personally, I don’t like social media a whole lot, but this is the one where I actually do keep a profile and keep it up to date, and it’s been a way for me to contact previous coworkers that I haven’t had up to date phone numbers or email for in a long time, and I let several of them know I last time I was job searching. I log in once a month to return endorsements, etc. I did have to turn off some of the notifications because it became too much, but I try to check in to see what others are up to and posting in case it’s relative to my field or something of professional interest.

  87. Marie*

    I initially got a LinkedIn because… Ehhhhh? That’s what you do???? But during my last job search, I found it enormously helpful. I was between fields and applying for a few different types of jobs, so had a few different resume and cover letter templates I would modify to highlight different things depending on the job. My LinkedIn became a repository for the combined details, kind of a master document. I can’t tell you how many times I ended up pulling up my LinkedIn to double check a date or company website or training seminar when filling out online applications.

    I also used it as a sort of portfolio. My field isn’t especially tech savvy, so managers hiring people with certain tech skills had no idea how to actually describe or assess what they wanted — “skilled with Excel” can mean “knows how to add two cells together” or “knows how to use SUMPRODUCT,” and it all sounds the same to a manager who doesn’t know how to ask the right questions. I could describe on my resume or cover letter what kind of tech skills I have, but on my LinkedIn I could actually show a complicated Excel formula I had worked through to solve a gnarly problem and show the outcome and design of the spreadsheet.

    It also just allowed me to really cover everything, since I tried to boil my cover letters and resumes down to only the relevant points — somebody getting my resume would see the experience that made me a fit for their company, but somebody who googled my LinkedIn would see all the other interests and accomplishments I have, and also see that I am capable of editing a more streamlined document appropriately.

    The field I’m in now actually puts a lot of emphasis on where you were trained and where you gathered experience, so being able to check up on admired colleagues and see where they got their experience has helped me start to plan my future professional path (and the opposite, where I meet a confounding colleague and want to know who approved them for the working world so I can avoid that).

  88. Long Time Reader First Time Poster*

    One aspect of LI I haven’t seen mentioned much here is the recommendations. Not the endorsements, I agree with the above posters that those are crap. But I do make sure to read a candidate’s *recommendations* when I check out her profile — and I do the same when I’m job hunting myself and vetting my interviewers/hiring managers.

    Obviously, nobody posts an unflattering recommendation. But I think that they are still telling. I look at the quantity of recommendations, the sources (lateral/peer, manager, way up in the org, etc.), and the tone. There’s a big difference between “Jane was really friendly!” and “I highly recommend Jane and would hire her in an instant.”

    When people publicly provide testimonials that have their names attached to them, the social proof is significant. I feel like I do learn quite about about someone by her recommendations.

  89. PRIVATE eye.*

    I personally do not have a linkedin… okay, let me be honest. I have a linkedin and I have about 220 contacts on my profile, many of whom I personally know or have worked with in some capacity, but aside from my name, a photo of me and my “title” the only thing on my profile are random endorsements by people I have worked with (some of which I have no idea why they endorsed me for said skill when they have no direct knowledge of whether or not I have the skill – even though I do).

    My profile contains no job history, education history etc. Why? I am essentially a pretty private person about my own affairs. I have been freelancing in my fields successfully as well as running a few small businesses and created some passive income selling online and I’ve been doing well. I just don’t like all these associates of mine to know my personal business. I feel like my work history and education history is personal business and I am just not that into being SO open in this day and age. I am HUGE on social media on another platform, but I keep it entirely separate from my businesses. I am also still not very open-book with my personal business. I don’t keep my facebook updated, but have my personal facebook page active to take care of my facebook business pages and a page about my nieces battle with cancer.

    I have found this need for privacy in my personal life sometimes a hinderance because I do not like to have to “sell” myself and all of my merits. Which is why I HATE job interviews and another reason self employment has been so wonderful for me. My work sells itself and I don’t have to convince anyone that I am a good fit for anything. I suppose I have been lucky in that regard.

    But I love to help and as such I have a small consultancy. So I understand the need for this for other people and certain fields and thus I actively spend time learning about and staying abreast of everything that I can. But for me personally, it all feels so intrusive. Not to mention sometimes it feels unsafe: I follow a very popular mom blog and the blogger takes special care not to mention the city/state her family lives in, company her busy husband works for, etc and takes care to be very limited on photos with identifiable landmarks etc. However, it was VERY easy to find her down to her home address (this sounds creepy I know, but I sometimes randomly just test my google prowess for fun. No malicious intent and I would never share the information I come across for any reason. I’m just a very curious person, who finds research enthralling, even if it means researching people (I’d be a great recruiter, I’m sure! LOL) and my starting point after a quick google search of her families first names found me a bulletin posted about them being new to a church family a few years back.. I was able to get a last name, and thus found her husbands LinkedIn profile. This gave detailed information about where he was from and had worked over the years, which made it easy to then do a few searches to find their new address, home town etc.

    Kind of creepy I know. I know. But thinking of how easy it was for someone like me with no ill intent to locate very personal information about someone due to social media presence that shares so much personal info, imagine someone with malicious intent doing the same thing?

    So, while that would be a rare case, it is still a possible and it scares me, to be completely honest. Some people are very open-books. I am not. I am sure this has and will hinder me in some areas, but as I am content with the way things have gone so far for me as far as work is concerned, I don’t see a need to change it. Sometimes I do wish I could be more open. I only JUST recently changed my linkedin profile to my full legal name. It was a moniker for quite a long time. It makes me uncomfortable. But I thought I would try baby steps to see how it feels. It was funny to see so many inboxes from associates and “friends” who never knew my real legal name, and only knew me by my moniker and nick name.

    1. Noone By That Name Here*

      Thank you for that. People need to understand not to give away their information to protect themselves and their families.

      I hope the best for your niece.

  90. Janice*

    Does anyone else think that posting your resume on the Internet invades your personal privacy? Also, I think that having a linkedin account makes you “less competitive” as someone else knows your strengths for a particular job and can use that to create a better resume than yours. I use linkedin to see what my competition is doing and match what they are doing to stay competitive.

    1. Noone By That Name Here*

      It’s called infringement of your rights, yes. It is pushed so heavily so that LinkedIn is selling accurate information to knowledge brokers, etc. It makes them money at your expense. Don’t believe the hype. Protect your freedom and your personal information. Private eye is correct (see the previous post and what they were able to find when they had no mal intent.)

  91. Lost in the UK*

    I hate Linkedin. I did set up an account, and deleted it due to all the spam.

    I don’t miss it, I think it’s a waste of time, there’s too much spam, there’s false profiles on there as well as people who you don’t know trying to connect, recommendations etc. are a joke, I don’t think it’s sensible to have a photo + a lot of information about yourself online for whoever to read as it makes it an ID thieves and a stalkers paradise, and not having Linkedin hasn’t stopped me finding jobs in my career.

    I guess I’m not a fan :D

  92. jdizlzo*

    I do not have a linkedin. I don’t find it necessary, and find its privacy standards low. The behavior on there also seems cliquish and self congratulatory. However, I do have an up to date resume which is extremely professional. I also have solid references and maintain my own website with c.v., personal info, published work, etc. I’m a writer/editor and find social media incredibly boring and invasive.

  93. Ben*

    I’ve been in LinkedIn for a number for over 8 years. I have tried the standard and premium memberships, used it as a business told to get leads, increase awarenes, etc. As a lead nurturing tool I think it is a viable addition to a marketing mix. But from a personal POV, i fimd it a waste of time.

    The vast majority of people are there to try and sell you soemthing, by it a product or service. As someone who thought it would be anice excellent tool for jobs hunting, job leads and to be “found” by recruiters, that simply is a myth. In 8myears, I can honestly tell you I have never been called by a recruiter who found me on LinkedIn. I have used every tool, trick, etc known to mankind to try and “brand” myself. Nothing worked.

    I’ve applied to over 400 jobs – little luck. My connections, the heart and soul of LinkedIn, rarely responded to my email inquiries. I’ve asked to be introduced to people, asked for leads or advice – very little people even bothered to respond. I post useful content, heavily participate in Groups, forums, etc., didn’t make one bit of difference. I actually think LinkedIn profile hurts more than it helps job hunters. People look at your profile and not your resume and don’t even bother to contact you, even though you are very welcome qualified for the position. And don’t get me started about those who are cloaked so no one can see that they viewed your profile.

    Just today I canceled my account and have no plans on going back anytime in the foreseeable future.

  94. Ben*

    I’ve been on LinkedIn for over 8 years. I have tried the standard and premium memberships, used it as a business toool to get leads, increase awarenes, etc. As a lead nurturing tool I think it is a viable addition to a marketing mix. But from a personal POV, I find it a waste of time.

    The vast majority of people are there to try and sell you something, be it a product or service. As someone who thought it would be an excellent tool for job hunting, job leads and to be “found” by recruiters, that simply is a myth. In 8 years, I can honestly tell you I have never been called by a recruiter who found me on LinkedIn. I have used every tool, trick, etc. known to mankind to try and “brand” myself. Nothing worked.

    I’ve applied to over 400 jobs – little luck. My connections, the heart and soul of LinkedIn, rarely responded to my email inquiries. I’ve asked to be introduced to people, asked for leads or advice – only several people even bothered to respond. I post useful content, heavily participate in Groups, forums, etc., didn’t make one bit of difference. I actually think a LinkedIn profile hurts more than it helps job hunters. People look at your profile and not your resume and don’t even bother to contact you, even though you are very well qualified for the position. And don’t get me started about those who are cloaked so no one can see that they viewed your profile.

    Just today I canceled my account and have no plans on going back anytime in the foreseeable future. I am jot worried or concerned by this decision. Being there has not helped at all. So I dont see it is going to hurt me by not being there. If amcompany will on
    I’ve been on LinkedIn for over 8 years. I have tried the standard and premium memberships, used it as a business toool to get leads, increase awarenes, etc. As a lead nurturing tool I think it is a viable addition to a marketing mix. But from a personal POV, I find it a waste of time.

    The vast majority of people are there to try and sell you something, be it a product or service. As someone who thought it would be an excellent tool for job hunting, job leads and to be “found” by recruiters, that simply is a myth. In 8 years, I can honestly tell you I have never been called by a recruiter who found me on LinkedIn. I have used every tool, trick, etc. known to mankind to try and “brand” myself. Nothing worked.

    I’ve applied to over 400 jobs – little luck. My connections, the heart and soul of LinkedIn, rarely responded to my email inquiries. I’ve asked to be introduced to people, asked for leads or advice – only several people even bothered to respond. I post useful content, heavily participate in Groups, forums, etc., didn’t make one bit of difference. I actually think a LinkedIn profile hurts more than it helps job hunters. People look at your profile and not your resume and don’t even bother to contact you, even though you are very well qualified for the position. And don’t get me started about those who are cloaked so no one can see that they viewed your profile.

    Just today I canceled my account and have no plans on going back anytime in the foreseeable future. If a company will jotmhire me because I dont have a LinkedIn profile, I rather not work for such close minded companies.

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