I frequently get asked if LinkedIn is a waste of time. It can be if you’re not using it effectively. It also can be an excellent tool for job hunting, career networking and professional development.
However, if you’re not going to do it right, there is no point wasting your time (and everyone else’s) on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is “the” site for professional networking. It’s also heavily used by recruiters and employers to source candidates for employment.
Everyone, in my opinion, who is seeking a professional position should have a (complete) LinkedIn profile, should connect with everyone they know, should join LinkedIn Groups, and should use LinkedIn for job searching when they are in the market for a new job.
Share Who You Are and What You Do
That said, LinkedIn is not going to work for you if you don’t identify yourself. I’ve received several invitations to connect from people who didn’t identify themselves. Setting up a LinkedIn profile with “Private Profile” or “Human Resources Manager” instead of your name and asking me to connect with you isn’t going to work.
I had no clue who they were and I wasn’t going to try and figure it out. Most other people, including prospective employers, wouldn’t be interested in connecting either. LinkedIn is for “real” people to connect which each other – that’s what makes it so successful and such a terrific networking tool.
If confidentiality is a concern, and I’d guess it would be if you’re trying to stay anonymous, simply be careful. Connect with only people you know well. Be strategic if you’re job searching while employed and don’t announce it to your connections. There are ways you can job search confidentially without jeopardizing your current position.
How to Get the Most Out of LinkedIn
Get Started on LinkedIn
One of the most important parts of LinkedIn is your profile. That's what you use to connect with people in your network and your profile is how you get found on LinkedIn, because it contains information about your skills and experience.
How to Take and Choose a Professional Photo for LinkedIn
Tips and advice for how to take and choose a photo to use in your LinkedIn profile, including what to wear, what type of photo to use, and how to pick a picture that will make a great impression.
Tips for sending LinkedIn invitations asking people to join your network, as well as advice on writing LinkedIn messages requesting recommendations and job search and career assistance and advice.