Sunday, June 8, 2014

LinkedIn is worthwhile too?

Asking how to get work or extra work or how to advance a career and eventually LinkedIn is mentioned. LinkedIn has been sold as a professional networking solution however no attempt has ever been visibly made to ensure that only professionals use the network. This is amply evidenced by the number of accounts listing non-jobs as the individual's "occupation".

There are several schools of thought on building a LinkedIn profile. One is that every item should be filled out as completely as possible. That sounds good until it becomes obvious that there is no reason for further questions to be asked. A profile needs to be intriguing enough for viewers to want to discover more.

Another school of thought is that no information should be given out on LinkeIn and that the profile should be concealed from public scrutiny. This is definitely suspicious behaviour and such profiles should be regarded with great suspicion since after all, LinkedIn is allegedly there to connect professionals. If the profile is effectively invisible then there is no reason for anybody to allow the user concerned access to their own profile.

The final school of thought is that minimal information should be entered into the system with just enough to complete the basics. Care should be taken to ensure that only positive information is given without seeming false.

Generally, it's a very good idea to use a nom-de-plume for all online accounts. This includes LinkedIn. If a nickname is to be used then let it be a realistic nickname. As far as other accounts, Facebook etc then the name used on LinkedIn should not be used elsewhere. There are data-mining companies out there that systematically mine data on people. Individuals that do this used to be called creeps, stalkers, perverts or voyeurs but somehow it's now OK when it's a company doing it.

The problem with data-mining is that it is not an exact science and that a load of garbage can be discovered and attributed to the wrong person. Thus, anonymity is the best bet for all online postings. This links into yesterday's posting about domain names. A domain name can be traced back to an owner as it seems to be a requirement that a real name be used in the registration process. Facebook similarly seems to require a real name though judging by the number of Big Foot entries, this is not enforced. In order to avoid data-mining, generally it's best not to use the same email address for all accounts - just set up a webmail account for each online service used but under a fake name. Similarly, when a cellphone number is required just use a throwaway Tracfone number.

Some companies might use LinkedIn as part of their recruitment process. This can be a double-edged sword. There might be something on the profile that is not to the liking of the company or there might not be enough on the profile for the liking of the company. Generally, the rule of thumb with all online profiles is to say too little rather than too much. The more information that is shown, the more chance there is that there will be an error or a discrepancy with a resume. It only takes one discrepancy or one error for a recruiter to yell "next, please".

Does "photography" have a place on a LinkedIn profile? Not really. To recruiters it's seen as a filler. It's seen as something people put on their resumes to disguise unemployment or underemployment. There are people that claim to be full time professional photographers. The truth of those claims is unknown but it would be wise to regard them with skepticism. The only way of truly telling would be to look at the individual's business licence and submitted IRS accounts.

Do home-based businesses have a place on a LinkedIn profile? Not really - most of the home based businesses are tax avoidance schemes. A large number of business licences are obtained in order that people can buy their toys and get a tax deduction for them from the IRS.

There is no such thing as a perfect LinkedIn profile because LinkedIn is another one of those websites that has grandiose claims and even more grandiose aims and fails spectacularly to fulfill any of those claims. LinkedIn is just like all the other online playthings - Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, MySpace, Reddit etc. It is just a toy. It is not likely to get anybody a new job. It is not likely to do anything worthwhile for anybody. Rather, it is more likely to be counter-productive. The only conclusion it's possible to arrive at is that LinkedIn is more internet nonsense.

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