LinkedIn is an outstanding professional networking tool, and invaluable as a job search tool. It’s the best place to find, and be found by prospective employers. Recruiters, HR departments, and hiring managers use LinkedIn extensively to find people that might fit particular roles. They search profiles, and look through relevant group discussions hunting for people that might be worthwhile connecting to.
LinkedIn groups are still part of LinkedIn… a professional networking site.
That may seem obvious, however, there seems to be a disconnect for some people between their profile and the image they project in groups. Their contribution to some group discussions are anything but professional.
There are ample cases of people using inappropriate language, telling inappropriate stories, belittling others, poor grammar or spelling, or the apparent inability to write coherently at all.
If they are not currently looking for a job, it certainly would discourage others from connecting with them, collaborating with them, or taking their advice. And while they may not be looking for a job now, they may at some point in the future, yet their history is still available for all to see.
If they are currently looking for a job, that kind of interaction on LinkedIn can likely be a death knell to further consideration by employers.
While Facebook is primarily a social application, LinkedIn is designed for your professional life. Discussion groups on LinkedIn are part of that as much as the profile is. Creating a powerful LinkedIn profile page, and then creating an unprofessional image in discussion groups is a sure-fire way to be passed over for further consideration.
Think of Facebook as your neighborhood barbeque, and LinkedIn as your office or your job interview.
Your entire online presence is open to being considered by potential employers in the hiring process. A Google search can uncover a great deal of your online activity. So being careful of anything you post is wise. However, posting unprofessional, and inappropriate material on LinkedIn is particularly unwise. If LinkedIn is the place to find you at your professional best, what is your average behavior?
Similarly, employers will often discard a resume with spelling or grammatical errors because the resume is intended to be a candidates best presentation of themselves, their abilities and their professionalism. If their best effort has errors, it’s fair to assume their average effort falls considerably shorter.
LinkedIn groups are a great place to show your expertise, knowledge, and ability to communicate well with others. They are a place where you can enhance your credibility in your field or your industry. Your reputation can be built up by the way you engage, or it can be destroyed.
LinkedIn is not Facebook! Be very conscious of how you present yourself to other professional contacts, and to potential employers.
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About The Author
Harry Urschel has over 20 years experience as a technology recruiter in Minnesota. He currently operates as e-Executives, writes a blog for Job Seekers called The Wise Job Search, and can be found on Twitter as @eExecutives.