Why I should have updated my LinkedIn page before today.
Posted by ajnystuen
I don’t work as a technical communicator. Because of my background, my wonderful supervisors will give me projects that they have no desire to do, but which are endlessly fascinating to me because they allow me to flex my writing muscles a bit. But, as a hobby, I also spend a great deal of time applying and interviewing for Technical Communication positions. You know, because it is fun.
I have had a LinkedIn account for a long time, but I never took the time to really figure out how the system worked or to actually make my profile helpful. I have to admit that before today, I hadn’t even updated it to include the MSTPC program. Marshall and Maggiani would be ashamed of me, as I have almost no contacts in LinkedIn. Moreover, I am probably not helping myself by not using LinkedIn as a resource.
It is interesting, however that Qualman and Marshall and Maggiani seem to expect that their readers are already well established in their fields. In Socialnomics, Qualman particularly aims his advice toward people with extensive lists of accomplishments. It makes me wonder how helpful LinkedIn is for entry level job seekers. Qualman’s only real advice to those without a list of articles mentioning them seems to be to make sure that there are no stains on your name by searching for yourself and making sure that there are not compromising material related to you.
In light of the idea of having a clean online image, it is interesting to think about these tools in the context of Longo’s discussion on culture in Digital Literacy for the Technical Communicator. She explores the idea of community as it relates to an electronic environment. One of her points is that there is no such thing as an all inclusive community with complete diversity of thought, because community is necessarily predicated upon the inclusion of certain type and the exclusion of those who fail to meet the criteria required for participation within the group. Ultimately, in order to have an overarching and universal understanding, a group must sacrifice individuality.
I wonder how much this impacts the job seeker. An online image must be pristine and conform to the expectations of the prospective employer. It is interesting because you are supposed to load your LinkedIn profile with things that make you stand out, but only in a certain way. I do wonder if all our social media will ultimately do us all a disservice by forcing us to conform to a standard that leaves no room for individuality or diversity, as a prospective employer may not see your online activity as beneficial to them, even if it is not actually wrong or even compromising.
However, no matter the effect it has on us culturally, there remains the reality that LinkedIn will likely continue to become increasingly important in the job market. And it is a resource that will be immensely useful if it is managed correctly.
So, I need to go and finish updating my LinkedIn profile now.
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