Feb 25 2016
Achieving and maintaining a successful executive career in today’s world requires acknowledging the largely global nature of business. It encompasses not only your home country but many countries and regions worldwide.
It’s hard to imagine that any executive could succeed long term without recognizing this fact. Global business = global outreach and interaction. Even small companies can achieve success on the global stage if they employ the most effective strategies and tools.
So if you’re one of the holdouts who think they either (a) don’t need a robust LinkedIn profile or (b) can’t risk having a strong profile for some reason—I recommend you think again!
The Loss You Risk without a Robust LinkedIn Profile
We can draw a strong parallel between succeeding in global business and making your LinkedIn profile one of your primary networking tools for job search and career management.
What do you stand to lose if you don’t do that? For example:
- A healthy LinkedIn profile seriously expands your “reach.” Although online networking doesn’t replace in-person contacts and relationships, it gives your overall networking a potentially huge boost.
- Failure to establish that level of professionalism for your profile means you become almost a non-person, in the sense that prospective employers or executive recruiters might not even notice you online.
- What’s more, if they actually do stumble across your profile somehow, they’ll almost certainly be less than impressed with what they find.
- Their reasoning might go something like this: If this individual can’t be bothered to post a high-quality LinkedIn profile online, what else is he/she skimping on? How can this person be a serious candidate for our executive-level position?
Risks You Might See…and What to Do about Them
I’ve heard several reasons that made someone decide to ignore the role of LinkedIn in their networking, including these:
- I’m too well known in my industry [or “my company is too well known” or “it’s a close-knit industry”].
- My boss watches his team like a hawk and checks out our LinkedIn profiles frequently to see if he thinks we’re job-hunting.
- I’ve always had jobs/employers find me, so I’ve never needed a strong online presence.
- LinkedIn is just one more thing to take up my time, which is already in short supply.
- There are people “out there” that I don’t want to help find me! Being on LinkedIn with a strong profile would make that too easy for them.
I’m not discounting the possible validity of any of these reasons. If you have a legitimate concern, you need to weigh the value of LinkedIn’s visibility- and credibility-building against the likelihood that the down-side you’re concerned about would come true.
If you decide the professional boost your LinkedIn profile can give you isn’t worth the risk, your best option might be to identify other methods by which you can enhance your visibility and credibility. That could turn out to involve more work and be more time-consuming than strengthening your profile, but it might yield enough results to make you feel it was worth the effort.
On the other hand, almost everything in life comes with some sort of possible drawback these days. After you give your situation some careful thought, you might decide to go ahead and beef up your LinkedIn profile, while doing your best to minimize the down-side risk.
In that case, here are just a few actions you might decide to take:
- Build or revamp your profile so it emphasizes your desire to connect with other executives who share your field of expertise, your interest in a particular trend, etc., rather than overtly as a job-search tool.
- Give some “press” or kudos to your current employer in your Summary and Experience sections, to create the impression that you’re quite happy where you are (and therefore not actively looking for a new position).
- Seek connections with influencers in companies your current employer would like to do business with, which could help produce some value for your company—and let your boss know that’s what you’re doing, on behalf of the company.
While you’re weighing your decision, consider this: Carefully planned actions can transform your LinkedIn profile into a powerful networking tool. Failure to take appropriate action can turn it into a career disaster by default.
For more on this topic, register for our next LinkedIn webinar: How to Optimize Your Executive LinkedIn Profile.