One of my former team-mates has just recently left his current job (we were co-operating at the same client company) - it was a great opportunity to go through so called "ol’ good times" war stories and while we chatted I’ve asked him whether he has an LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com) account, so I could snap him a recommendation or whatever it’s called nowadays. He said he doesn’t, because LI’s overall idea isn’t appealing for him - who needs another Facebook, especially the one that’s focused on your contacts with co-workers: people sometimes you have to speak to / meet / sit with, but you’d rather not (if you were given any choice). Well he makes much sense in his statements, but in fact, he makes a big mistake (IMHO) …
PROS (Why LI is awesome):
- They have created and contributed heavily in development of Apache Kafka (https://kafka.apache.org/) - ermmm, wait, what does it have in common with the LI as a portal / social network!? OK, disregard, REWIND!
- Recruiting good people is never easy. You can rely on your HR or dedicated head hunter agency, but the more specific & detailed your requirements are, the harder it is to get appropriate people. Content-free head hunters are not able to filter out the CVs and evaluate them properly - the (constantly increasing) number of technologies, frameworks, tools, methodologies make it much harder than few years ago. That’s why …
- … you’d like to keep a contact to people you have co-operated with few years ago - people you knew, people who did a similar job before. They may have changed their job few times since then, they may use a different mobile phone number and / or e-mail address, but they still may have the account on LinkedIn. Sure, you may have them as friends on Facebook, but there’s a difference between personal and professional life: these people may not be your best pals, but they were valuable co-workers: the category of people you don’t necessarily add on Facebook.
- And even if it’s not possible to get such a person on-board once again: people do have their own contacts and all the time they get new ones - even if your former co-worker: ASP.NET MVC developer can’t join your project this time, maybe he has other pals of the reasonable skills he could recommend. If you know he’s a reliable person, his judgement will most likely make more sense than head hunters’.
- Obviously recruiting works both ways - either you can recruit or you can be picked up for being recruited.
- Imagine you did a good job on your project and now you’re switching to a new one or even you change your job. Surely you won’t forget about documenting that in your CV, so a suitable entry will appear on the list. But LI’s CV is something even better - why don’t you ask for an honest recommendation - they won’t be a better moment for that. What is such a recommendation good for? First: it’s traceable and not anonymous - recommender has his own LI account, so he can be checked (whether his profile makes him look credible or not). People realize that you can write anything you want in your CV, recommendation of additional person is something that adds credibility to what you’ve written.
CONS (Why I hate LI with burning fire):
- It’s full of bullshit in sections that don’t really require individual and well considered input. What do I mean by that? Take bloody Endorsements - they are abysmal! Why? Because (ironically) they are too fast and simple - it’s just one click to appreciate someone for a given skill, so people do it mindlessly. No clarification, no justification, no reasoning - just click, click, click. The usual pattern is "I endorse you, you endorse me in exchange". This is so sick - I had plethora of people who were endorsed me for skills they didn’t have any change to see me using. That in the end makes the idea of LI endorsement useless.
- Spam, spam, the spammity spam. The vast majority of notifications is useless garbage. In theory, notification level can be customized, but whatever you’ll set, there’s no chance to avoid the continuous flow of shit.
- Various companies & organizations utilize LI groups as the way to discuss topics in their focus or just keep people socializing. One good example is Scrum.org (https://www.scrum.org/). Sadly, it usually doesn’t work - either it’s too limited or too messy (while it tries to remain simple), but in the end it just irritates (and produces even more spam).
Don’t ignore LinkedIn. Use it, even if you’re not going to change job in foreseeable future (you’ll never know, believe me). Treat it as a good way to self-advertise: keep CV up-to-date, fill the certification list, add people you’ve worked with (disregard idiots, just in case) directly - the ones who really knew what you were doing and how well you did it. It’s the best digital business card you can imagine.
And that’s all. Even if LI provides a lot of crap additionally, it doesn’t mean you have to use it, right?