Hey, why is your LinkedIn profile looking all spiffy these days?

Crossing Borders

LinkedIn, beyond the job search

Some job search expert is telling you that you need to update and optimize your LinkedIn profile. (I am telling you this.) “But wait,” you say. “I have a job, and I’ve had the same half-baked LinkedIn profile since I joined the site. I may be testing the job- market waters, but I sure don’t want to advertise the fact. If people here at work think I’m on my way out the door, I see nothing but heartache and misery ahead. Won’t my spiffy new profile and my whole LinkedIn revival give them the exact message I’m desperately trying to squelch?”

I’m glad you asked, because there are things you can do and say to keep the situation under control. First, LinkedIn isn’t just for the job seekers among us. Admittedly, the site can feel like it’s primarily there for members who want to find new jobs. Perhaps that’s the result of LinkedIn’s understandable emphasis on a function it can monetize, but there’s actually a lot more going on. LinkedIn can help you get a better job, but it can also help you do a better job, regardless of your current ambitions.

LinkedIn is best known, and rightly so, as a worthwhile place to network, and it fulfills that function whether you’re looking for something new or not. LinkedIn makes it easy to keep in touch with people in your field for any reason, and it’s hardly a stretch to say that it can bring value to people who have no interest in the job market.

LinkedIn is people-centric, but that’s not all it is. It’s also a place that can help you keep in touch with news and trends in your industry, again providing an excellent medium for that kind of keeping up. If there’s a hot industry topic, it’s bound to come up for group discussion. If there’s a trend that everyone’s talking about, there’s bound to be that same talk on LinkedIn.

In sum, your suspicious co-workers should understand that LinkedIn is good for things besides job hunting. Why is your profile looking so much better these days? Well, you’ve become fairly active in a group, and you’ve had some very engaging interactions with some prominent members. You know that people will often take a quick look at your profile, after an initial contact, to find out more about you. You don’t have to be looking for a job to want to whip that profile into shape.

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