Still Think You Don’t Need LinkedIn?

by Nancy Segal

Lots of people are not on LinkedIn and when I ask them about it, they “pooh-pooh” me. Be that as it may, LinkedIn has more than 300 million members and two-thirds of them live outside the United States. Although the federal government is not a heavy user of LinkedIn recruitment tools (which is ultimately where LinkedIn makes its money), the Department of the Army has the third largest number of employees of any organization on LinkedIn, after IBM and Hewlett-Packard, according to an August 2014 (more than a year ago!!) report. (see http://www.businessinsider.com/linkedins-plan-for-the-future-2014-8).

Even if your agency is not using LinkedIn for filling positions (which they probably are not), it is still a valuable tool; a way for you to learn what your former colleagues and friends are doing, keep up with trends and learn about different organizations by “following” them, and establish a positive online presence and increase your professional credibility by using some of LinkedIn’s features such as publishing. If you have an interview scheduled, LinkedIn can be a great way to familiarize yourself with panel members. And, of course, if you are meeting with individuals from another agency, or even talking to them over the phone, a quick look at LinkedIn allows you to put a face with a name (assuming they have a picture posted), learn a little more about who you are working with, and ease those sometimes awkward transactions. Finally, even if you are not looking up your colleagues, they may well be looking for you.

So, if you are one of those people who does not “do” social media, you may want to rethink your approach. Look at the site. See who you know who is on it and how they are using it. You do not want to be left behind.

Nancy Segal is a federal career and job search expert. She is also the author of The Complete Guide to Writing a Federal Resume which is available at www.fedweek.com. Following her own senior-level federal HR career, she founded Solutions for the Workplace LLC to provide HR management perspective to astute applicants to U.S. government positions. Nancy is also one of our premier management and career development trainers for our online webinars.

If you have any questions for Nancy concerning your federal career or the federal job search process you can email her at fedcareer@fedweek.com.