Early in my career, I had very little interest in creating a LinkedIn profile. With Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat already on my phone, I felt like my social accounts were taking up enough of my time and I didn’t quite understand the value of LinkedIn.
When it was time to look for a job, everyone was recommending that I set up an account. They would say things like: “It’s basically a professional Facebook profile” or “It will show up when potential employers and recruiters Google your name” and “It’s a great place to grow your network”.
While these were all good reasons, I still wasn’t convinced. I was sure that my Facebook was clean in case an employer did look up my name, I had all my experience and skills listed on my resume, and having a network sounded cool but, as someone more naturally introverted, it didn’t seem like something I’d ever really have.
What led me to eventually set up an account? What value did I find on LinkedIn?
The truth is, I eventually did it because literally EVERYONE who was a business professional had an account and kept advising me to do it. Basically, despite my lack of desire for it, I still followed their advice.
In reality, it didn’t take that long to set up because I was copying and pasting what was already on my resume. All I had to do was add a professional photo of myself. This was easy because I had some family photos taken at the Wal-Mart Photo Center for Christmas. All I did was crop out my family and Voila! I had a professional headshot.
Although the reasons given to me for setting up an account were true, there was something else about LinkedIn that really sold me on keeping my account. While my resume was well put together with skills, experience, education and values, it didn’t demonstrate any truth about who I am as a person.
The list of soft skills that can be showcased on LinkedIn is endless: ambition, organization, empathy, compassion, professionalism, written communication, friendliness, and… the list goes on and on.
Applying for a job with only a resume and an interview (where I would often show up too nervous to showcase my true self), wasn’t quite fair to me; I wasn’t giving myself the opportunity to live up to my full potential.
When potential employers have another medium, like LinkedIn, to learn more about my personality, they have more information to make a proper hiring decision.
What I’ve learned is that sometimes, even if you can’t see the real value in something, giving it a chance and trying it out for yourself is the only way you’ll learn whether or not it’s right for you. If someone is succeeding, maybe what they’re doing could also work for you.