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Overdose on LinkedIn and run the risk of joining the unemployable pile!

8th August 2013

We have all had to come to terms in the last decade, some of us kicking and screaming, with the embedded infrastructure of social and business media sites that shape a large proportion of our work and domestic routines. In the recruitment world specifically, these tools have become a daily amalgamation of our apparatus in order to source, attract and capture the best candidates currently in our marketplace, whatever sector that might be. After all, there really is something for everyone it seems! The power and strengths of sites like LinkedIn however can often be a catapult for people to overexpose, overdose and cataclysmically ruin a reputation, or even a career in seconds.

With LinkedIn now claiming over 225 million users, the power of business networking has never been so accessible, however there is a reoccurring problem; I call them the serial commentators. In brief, these are individuals, perhaps with good intentions, but misguided as to what constitutes safe, non invasive networking strategies in order to further their careers and ultimately increase their employment choices. The irony is that by being more active on media sites, in order to increase their employability status, it actually has an adverse effect, damaging their credibility, increasing their ability to be nuisances and ultimately making them less desirable as a candidate.

Here are a few tips on what things should be avoided when using LinkedIn to increase your employability radar;

1.      Don’t abuse the system

LinkedIn is a fantastic tool to get your experience and benefits out to a mass audience. Make sure you choose how to use it wisely. Regular updates are great, but too many will start to cross into a more social media experience and that’s why we have Facebook and Twitter. It would probably be unwise to post what you had for breakfast on LinkedIn. This leads me nicely onto my next point.

2.       Keep it professional

A serial commentator may often forget that each comment they post, whether it be on their own updates or on other’s comments can be seen very quickly by thousands of people. It is really important to choose wisely what comments you make, avoiding conflict and coming across as a “know it all”. Opinions are good, but too many will start to create a wrong impression.

3.       Comment less!

This is the one that seems to alienate you from the employable pile the quickest. A recent example of this was a candidate of mine who was seeking a new role. They joined every possible group, registered with every agency under the sun, created updates every few minutes, commented on each group and every comment, all of which from a very high status persona and ultimately killed many opportunities before they even presented themselves. This candidate was not in a role, was desperate to get one and therefore was not in a position to criticise and pass judgement on many of the topics they chose to get involved in. DON’T DO IT! If you expose yourself fully in that way, you leave yourself highly vulnerable to attack, prejudgment and a possible poor reputation.

We are all in the age of embracing the new and interesting ways that we can build relationships. Speed and efficiency plays a pivotal role in this as our daily lives seem to get noisier and more demanding. Social/business media platforms are here to help, not to hinder. Please think carefully before choosing who to connect with, who to endorse, which groups to join, what level of input you have on various topics and ultimately the content of your thoughts. Follow some of this advice and stay well clear of the unemployable pile!

Please read my colleague Kirsty Morris’s blog on Understanding how you are perceived on social networking sites. It offers some more useful tips on do’s and don’ts of social media.

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