LinkedIn is not a Glorified Resume

I'm So Professional - The Anti-Social Media100 million members later, and people still don’t know how to use LinkedIn beyond posting their resume.

You think people would be interested in interacting with professionals in their field, raise awareness of their skills, and build relationships with some of the best business people in the world, but no. We just go over there, post our resume, and hope some recruiter stalks our profile wants our skill sets so badly they bend over backwards to hire us.

LinkedIn doesn’t work that way.

Posting your resume with all its typos and a grainy photo your cropped from your Facebook profile doesn’t make you professional. It makes you cheap. Adding widgets with your latest blog posts and your SlideShare presentations can be nice, but if you keep adding stuff it looks like you put your resume on your MySpace page. Some profiles are so bloated, I find myself waiting for the animated .gif backgrounds and for “Little Red Corvette” to play when I load up your profile.

I know we all want to look cool with our widgets and our apps, but seriously, what’s the need broadcast your travels on your LinkedIn profile? Do I really need to know what business book your are reading? You really want me to believe you only read business books? Go ahead and lie publicly to me and your next boss. I’d rather know you read J.K. Rowling along with Seth Godin. That’s at least muggle-izes humanizes you.

LinkedIn is as robust and bloated as Facebook. It has features beyond connecting with your business contacts and making your dinky little profile. You can ask questions and get answers from people without the exercise in ego masturbation that goes on on Quora. You can stalk a person or company. You can make a group of professionals to interact with so you don’t have to deal with the unwashed masses. Even before you strip the business aspects away, LinkedIn is the most successful Facebook competitor in terms of having lots of ways to interact all based around one profile.

Stop making LinkedIn your online resume holder. If you care about being social at all, you can find something to do on LinkedIn.

Are you doing anything on LinkedIn besides posting your resume? I want to know what people are actually doing on there.


28 Responses to LinkedIn is not a Glorified Resume

  1. john Falchetto March 24, 2011 at 8:27 am #

    Jay if you want to have some fun look at someone’s FB profile and then compare it to their linkedin.
    Do people not think for one minute that future employers are going to check FB profiles and your LinkedIn profile?

    You say LI is the competitor to FB but it will never happen. People perceive FB as the party and LI as the 9-5. What happens is that most folks put as much creativity and joy on LI as they put fun and life on FB.

    Perhaps when people look at their job differently LI will change?

    • Jay March 25, 2011 at 11:38 am #

      I put a lot of fun into my LinkedIn profile.

      And by a lot of fun, I mean I checked my spelling and grammar.

  2. Amy G. H. March 24, 2011 at 8:49 am #

    I find LinkedIn to be incredibly helpful with job searching. I am not looking for one now, but when I was, I had a lot of resources at my fingertips thanks to LinkedIn. I could see where my connections were working. If they had open positions, I could contact them to see if there was anything they could do to help me out. If I landed an interview, I could look up the company and the person who was going to interview me to see if we had any common connections. I felt A LOT more confident going into interviews with all of the background info I had.

    When I was job searching, a surprising amount of employers were more interested in seeing a LinkedIn page than a resume. Also, I could tell if they had been looking at my page with the “Who’s Viewed My Profile” feature.

    Now that I have a job that I enjoy, I don’t have much of a use for LinkedIn, but I do keep it updated.

    • Jay March 27, 2011 at 4:52 pm #

      There’s nothing like using LinkedIn for stalking potential employers.

  3. KeAnne March 24, 2011 at 8:52 am #

    I confess to being a somewhat late adopter to LinkedIn. I am actually a member of several groups, but I seldom interact in them which is sad because I suspect I am missing out on a lot of good conversation and networking. I think the problem is that for me, LI is just one more network to figure out and manage though I’m beginning to wonder if maybe I should spend less “party time” on FB w/ my friends and family and more time on LI helping to promote myself and my organization.

    Food for thought.

    • Jay March 25, 2011 at 11:37 am #

      LinkedIn is work, plain and simple. It will never be as fun as Facebook or Twitter.

  4. John Morrow March 24, 2011 at 9:12 am #

    Whoa - this is profound and even useful advice.

    Who are you and what have you done with Jay?

    LinkedIn is probably the one social media resources that I totally misuse. It hasn’t gotten me any dates yet either.

    • Jay March 24, 2011 at 11:21 am #

      I wrote this after seeing Prince in concert. Basking in the glory of The Purple One made me smarter.

      I have crushes on some of my LinkedIn connections. How sad is that?

  5. Chelsea J March 24, 2011 at 10:09 am #

    Research! It’s not so much to market myself or my skills but to find out about companies/roles/skills in demand, etc.

    I’ll admit to also monitoring who is looking at my profile for ego-centric reasons.

    • Jay March 24, 2011 at 11:22 am #

      I use LinkedIn for research all the time. It’s funny how much people put on there, but won’t put on Facebook..

  6. Jen March 24, 2011 at 11:39 am #

    I’m trying to find some utility in LinkedIn. I’ve joined groups, sent out invites, and tried to join discussions. Most of what I see on there are MLM schemes, desperate pleas for employment, and scattershot sales pitches.

    I feel like there’s some secret professionally-useful LinkedIn that I can’t find - what am I missing?

    • Jay March 25, 2011 at 9:26 am #

      Start slow and connect with people you know. Connecting with strangers on there is hit and miss.

  7. Maggie March 24, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

    I agree, LinkedIn is a great tool for research. When it comes to exploring future career paths, I can look at profiles of people with the jobs I eventually want and get a better idea of whether or not I need to go to graduate school, or what type of work experience do I need to get a job at my dream company. Also, whenever I apply for a job, I check LinkedIn to see if I have any connections that work or have worked at that company, and also to see the background for the person who previously held that position, or the background of an employee in a similar role, as well as looking up the probably manager over that position. And if I land an interview, I look up all of the people I’m going to meet with, as well as other people in that department.

    I’m a member of a ton of groups on LinkedIn (I’ll join any group remotely related to what I do or want to do) but I’m not active in any of them, and it seems like most LinkedIn users aren’t. I don’t know if most just don’t find them user-friendly or useful or what. Personally it seems like most of the active group users are vendors trying to sell their services, or people looking for jobs.

    • Claire Wagner March 24, 2011 at 4:31 pm #

      I feel much the same as Jen and Maggie. I sometimes duplicate my tweets or Facebook posts on LinkedIn through HootSuite if I think a link would be interesting to my connections. I belong to a number of groups but the activity gets overwhelming fast, and much of it is just self-promotional. I tried posting some questions last year and got very patronizing and largely unhelpful responses. I DO think LinkedIn is a great online resume and I’ve taken care to maintain a good profile there. I appreciate the testimonials feature. I regularly bug clients to write them for me and will also gladly write them for people I’ve worked with. I also appreciate the update emails so I can see what my connections are doing. But I don’t check in there on a regular basis. I like Twitter and Facebook much more.

      • Jay March 27, 2011 at 4:54 pm #

        I used to think there was some great value in answering questions. Now I’d just rather blog about the questions I have, the answers I’ve reached, and what I’ve learned so far.

    • Jay March 27, 2011 at 5:01 pm #

      I’m the same way. I’ma member for like 10 groups, but I don’t do anything in them. I just want the street cred.

  8. Erin sissy March 24, 2011 at 2:14 pm #

    We use it for our alumni group to connect with current students & help give them connections for employment. Doesn’t really work though… We are figuring out a different way to do it.

    • Jay March 25, 2011 at 9:24 am #

      Is carrier pigeon an option?

  9. Christina Buquid March 24, 2011 at 3:05 pm #

    oh, Quora “without the exercise in ego masturbation that goes on on Quora” haha! I love this.

    I use LinkedIn to secure independent contracting jobs. The recommendations section is for me the differentiating factor of LI vs. the static resume. I also manage a few groups for events we throw but am still learning how to effectively facilitate discussion through the site.

    • Jay March 25, 2011 at 9:23 am #

      Yeah, the recommendations are nice. Nothing like having some good kudos to show off.

  10. Morgan March 24, 2011 at 4:00 pm #

    I’ve never looked at LinkedIn as an online resume. For one thing, employers still want a good ol’ fashioned resume that you designed yourself in Word. Second of all, LinkedIn is so disjointed that, like you said, it has too many widgets and things of distraction.

    LinkedIn is more for professionals, if only for the sole reason that it makes it more difficult to show off drunken pics of yourself, but I’ve never used it as a resume, nor as a way to find a job. Contracts, maybe, but not full out jobs.

    • Jay March 25, 2011 at 9:23 am #

      I applied to a few social media based jobs that asked me to only submit my LinkedIn profile.

      I like the description “LinkedIn is the social network that makes it hard to share drunken pictures of yourself.”

  11. Kane Murphy March 24, 2011 at 5:26 pm #

    I think LinkedIn is very much a resume holder for so many for one main reason - They know that there are such great business (and selling) opportunities, but they don’t have the balls (or the social media interaction nous) to start communicating with potential (and current) customers….

    After all, aren’t we employed in social media to generate profit for our organisation?

    I must admit we might go overboard, our product has 50 recommendations, we all use slideshare pressos, the event application, we have a group and we post statuses daily - but untill anyone tells us it’s annoying or intrusive, we’ll keep doing it.

    Great post Jay, caught on to your blog a few weeks back (through twitter) - really enjoying it.

    • Jay March 27, 2011 at 5:05 pm #

      That’s the funny thing. I’ve never found a really pimped out LinkedIn profile annoying or terrible. It’s just long!

  12. Lenka March 25, 2011 at 6:29 pm #

    While I agree that most people don’t use LinkedIn to it’s full potential, I have to admit people who post their personal ‘status updates’ on LI irritate me to no ends. Who cares that you’re watching dancing on ice?

    I definitely advocate a division between FB - social/fun and LI - work. While I do occasionally post non-work related updates (opinions, observations, etc), I can get a lot more out of linkedin if everyone in my network sticks to work-related issues - after all, that’s why they are in my network. If I want to see their drunken photos, I’ll add them on FB. I doubt that’s a unique view :o)

  13. Paul Markosian March 26, 2011 at 7:37 am #

    I used to think that LinkedIn had no real utility for me, but I’ve definitely changed my mind on that. I work in food service sales, and recently started using LinkedIn to join groups and participate in discussions related to the marketing and operations side of my industry. I’ve made some good connections and discovered a bunch of great resources. I’m not really interested in the resume aspect of it because I have no interest in changing jobs, but as you say, Jay, there’s a lot more to it than that…great post!

  14. martin snyder March 28, 2011 at 1:50 pm #

    Somehow I just dont see LinkedIn as “social” because most of us have been culturally trained to think of work and life as two seperate realms.

    I’m forwarding this thread to one of our contacts @ LinkedIn - some interesting insights as to how the tool is thought of by everyday users.

  15. Evil-head April 1, 2011 at 3:01 am #

    That is true. I was thinking the same thing lately. I started hating Linkedin because it was getting more cluttered like Facebook.

    I use Linkedin to search for contacts in specific companies who could advice me or help me contact someone. It doesn’t work directly.

    And twitter connected to Linkedin, that just ain’t happening ! I see Linkedin just as doomed orkut. I hope Linkedin is reading this.