Monday, April 29, 2013

Friendly Reminder: Get Thee to LinkedIn


This one's mostly for my friends and peer group, but applies to anyone really who hasn't yet built up their LinkedIn and is wondering if they should get one. Yes, you should. Come join me.

As my job search starts off, I’m spending at least an hour a week going over my LinkedIn profile—adding classes and experiences, updating and linking my network to my current projects, and just staring at my completed resume going, “Hmm…not bad, actually.”

At least some of this is ego, and at least some of that ego is beyond proportion, but I am very glad to have that profile. It’s like a FaceBook page where I get to show off all the most flattering aspects of my work history and my talents, not to mention that LSAT score I have no other use for since dropping law school from my plans…and the updates are all of my connections doing interesting new things, rather than expressions of moribund wit in the guise of political commentary.  
For that reason alone--it's a place where you're expected and encouraged to brag about your accomplishments--I'd recommend you get to work on your LinkedIn profile if you haven't already. I touted Challenge Accepted for being fun and useful, how much more for something that's (a little less) fun, (equally or more) useful, and might help you connect to a future employer?  

Having a LinkedIn profile also gives you that much more control over what people find when they google you. If that matters to you. While some of its fancier services are sold on a subscription basis, the basic profile and networking aspect of it is free, at least for now. I'm hoping it doesn't pull a Duotrope and start charging, but even if it does, as someone who pays $5 a month for to keep up on my story submissions I can justify paying the same amount to keep track of my resume. To be fair, the Duotrope subscription was a gift; maybe in the future I'll hope my loved ones get me LinkedIn credits as a gift too (anyone want to bestow a premium account on a poor newbie job searcher? Well, you get nothing if you don't ask!)

It's also a portable, complete resume. As someone who agonized over trimming her resume down to one page--a resume that only covers my college years, because I haven't had any years beyond that--I really like the ability to expand on my skills, courses I've taken, languages I know (if only I had any to share, alas) and some of my publications. Speaking of which, it is considered appropriate to include your LinkedIn profile URL along with other contact information in the heading of your resume.

My LinkedIn functions not only as a resume but also a way to connect with writers and editors. Right now my connection demographics are split half and half between people I've worked/studied/interned/volunteered with and people who have edited an anthology or magazine I appeared in and/or shared a table of contents.
And by the way, if you fit any of the above categories, feel free to connect with me. I'd hate to think I spent all my time shining up a profile that nobody will see!