While its not unusual for your one year old, or your pet fish Spike to have their very own Facebook account, the transmission of this at first harmless fun into the professional world of LinkedIn is a growing concern. More and more it seems marketing is overtaking reality, office juniors seemingly become directors overnight, false profiles are built to allow social proofing through one person two profile communications within groups. Blackhat LinkedIn has arrived and is thriving, unethical practices abound and risk the validity of the site and your credibility.
I can understand why this happens, but I haven’t been able to reconcile myself with the fallout that must happen when the recruiter who found you on LinkedIn does some background checks. I doubt anyone really believes that individuals are hired on the basis of their LinkedIn account alone. That MBA you gained from the London School of Business, the school will verify that right? Or when I talk to Susan your former manager at golf this weekend she’ll confirm that you held the position of Director Customer Services right?
Now if people do this and essentially tarnish their reputations I’m not too concerned, however the issue is that the fallout impacts me as well. Every lie on LinkedIn impacts those that are honest. So here are some strategies that I use to establish credibility with visitors to my profile:
The thesis I wrote for my masters degree can be accessed via my profile, not simply a PDF mind you, my link goes to the university I attended and the thesis is accessed through the online public library catalogue system. Alternatively if your university has the graduation program online which has your name and degree listed in it, post a link to that.
My profile is written for the human reader, not the LinkedIn profile ranking algorithm. So often I view profiles that have key words spammed right through them. It doesn’t matter where you rank on LinkedIn search results if every visitor is put off by your content, better to rank lower on page rank and have higher engagement with those visitors that do view your profile. One story of this I should share is of a self proclaimed social media guru. In the first half of this profile was the term ‘social media’ repeated about 30 times, there goes any positive user experience, and frankly if this expert can’t manage their own online presence they’re certainly not going to manage mine.
Avoid temptation, I always try to connect with previous and current managers, just in case I’m tempted to upgrade my last position title.
If you have any further LinkedIn tips, insights or experiences please share them through leaving a comment.