Subscribe

Forum

How do YOU feel about this LinkedIn controversy?

Welcome to the newly redesigned Science Careers Forum. Please bookmark this site now for future reference. If you've previously posted to the forum, your current username and password will remain the same in the new system. If you've never posted or are new to the forum, you will need to create a new account.

The new forum is designed with some features to improve the user experience. Upgrades include:
- easy-to-read, threaded discussions
- ability to follow discussions and receive notifications of updates
- private messaging to other SC Forum members
- fully searchable database of posts
- ability to quote in your response
- basic HTML formatting available

Moderator: Dave Jensen
Advisors:   Ana, PG, Rich Lemert, Dick Woodward, Dave Walker
Meet the Moderator/Advisors

How do YOU feel about this LinkedIn controversy?

Postby Dave Jensen » Fri Nov 10, 2017 11:25 am

My most recent "Tooling Up" column deals with LinkedIn, and a controversial subject that keeps getting hammered on over and over, but which (oddly) I don't think we've nailed down here on the Forum. I expect that even amongst us moderators, we'll have differences of opinions (Rich Lemert will feel differently than I do, etc). That's because there are two basic philosophies behind using LinkedIn, and everyone seems to be on either one side or the other of this divide.

My article is at http://www.sciencemag.org/careers/2017/11/link-jump-start-your-job-search, in case you haven't read it.

Here's what happened to me recently . . . I had noted a woman's profile (LinkedIn is always suggesting people to link with where you have many mutual connections) who was the head of a career department at a major university with the focus on the kind of work that my firm does. I sent her a nice invite, and I always send a note with it (as you should) with a few comments on why I think we ought to establish a connection. I was completely shocked, rudely so, when she wrote back that she did NOT want a connection, as she "reserves that for people I know in person."

That's one view of LinkedIn, as a kind of business card holder for people you work with all the time. But in my view, that's sure not the approach that works best for the LinkedIn system, especially for job-seekers!

I'm in the camp that you connect with anyone and everyone who shares an area of interest with you, so that you get to be "known" in those circles and future connections come easier and easier when there are many mutual connections between people. It opens the door for me to "see" more profiles on LinkedIn, to find people for job searches that I am doing, and to identify experts in given areas. I can't imagine turning down a LinkedIn invitation from a legitimate contact. (That said, I turn down invitations every day for people who are selling SEO services, or business "mentors" or accountants and insurance salespeople, etc -- anyone who is trying to sell me something, I don't need.)

Recently, I had a LinkedIn invitation to a guy who cut my hair in downtown Phoenix. That's odd, I thought, and I considered tossing it. Then, I thought, why not. And I linked with him. Later, I discovered that the scientists from T-Gen are located right nearby that same barbershop, and got a connection because of our link. Oddly, even my barber was a link between me and someone I should know.

How do YOU feel about the value of LinkedIn? Are you for keeping it close to the vest, or are you for expanding and building your LinkedIn "universe"?

Dave Jensen, Moderator
"One of the most powerful networking practices is to provide immediate value to a new connection. This means the moment you identify a way to help someone, take action." - Lewis Howes
Dave Jensen
Site Moderator
 
Posts: 7854
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:28 pm

Re: How do YOU feel about this LinkedIn controversy?

Postby Rich Lemert » Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:42 pm

Dave - I don't believe our views are as divergent as you might think. I'm selective about my connections, but I don't feel I'm overly restrictive.

If I know you, I'll probably accept your invitation.

If I don't know you - but you've given me a reason for you're interest - there's a good chance I'll also accept your request.

If I don't know you - and all you've sent is the standard "I'd like to be part of your network" message, I probably will NOT accept your request.

LinkedIn is a tool, and like any tool it's up to the user how to use it. It may have been developed with a particular function in mind, put people are going to use it however they best see fit. For you, it's a professional necessity given the nature of the work you do. For me, not so much.

In both cases, we are sharing ourselves only to the extent that we are comfortable doing so. You just have a broader 'comfort zone' than I.
Rich Lemert
Advisor
 
Posts: 2574
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:28 pm

Re: How do YOU feel about this LinkedIn controversy?

Postby Ana » Fri Nov 10, 2017 1:59 pm

I see it as you do Dave. I have rejected a few invitations if they had the generic text and it was not evident to me why they would like to join, but if there is someone that is clearly from my same industry or that I personally know I always accept even with the generic text.

As an ex-pharma employee, the main value of LinkedIn for me has been to keep track of where former colleagues are working now (the turnover is so high!) and to be able to send them a direct message even when the work email address that I had of them is no longer functional. In a couple of occasions I have reached out to former pharma colleagues that are now independent professionals to engage them professionally, which I couldn't have done without LinkedIn because I wouldn't know that they are now consulting or what email they are using. I've also been contacted through LinkedIn by people I knew back from when I was a postdoc that have ended up in similar fields and want to talk business. I'm four work emails past the time I knew them so LinkedIn has been extremely value for these contacts.

A LinkedIn connection is not a reference letter, it is simply a connection.

Ana
User avatar
Ana
 
Posts: 648
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:48 pm
Location: Madrid, Spain

Re: How do YOU feel about this LinkedIn controversy?

Postby Steven Z. » Sun Nov 12, 2017 1:30 pm

I can understand requiring a personal connection to allow them to connect on Facebook, but for myself at least LinkedIn serves a different purpose.

I am pretty lenient on my criteria on who I allow to connect on LinkedIn. Anyone with anything in their profile that makes them look like they may be a useful contact I allow. These include people in related professional circles and professions, people who I might do business with such as legit recruiters, scientific services companies such as instrument repair etc. The company I work for also strongly encourages using LinkedIn as they use it to market, and showcase their talent, and recruit. I used to find some of the scientific groups useful until LinkedIn changes made them harder to navigate to and more or less killed them.

I have found I do have to be a bit vigilant as I have received spam from MLM and other marginal companies and people. I also, without saying, never allow people from staffing agencies to connect. I want nothing to do with them and I don't want them to access my contacts, nor insult me with their awful job offers.
Steven Z.
 
Posts: 79
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:33 pm

Re: How do YOU feel about this LinkedIn controversy?

Postby D.X. » Sun Nov 12, 2017 2:59 pm

Hi Dave,

I do Keep my LinkedIn Profile up to date and I admit there are times I don't see the value of LinkedIn beyond what I deem at most times to be Connections of non-value.

And then...just when thougths of killing my Profile intensify, a recruiter reaches out with an opporunity worth considering and low and behold i'm in an interview process. My Prior Position Prior to my current role worked like that, a recruiter found me and at the Moment i'm in an late stage interview process (I'm one of 2 candidates in the final round) all from a recruiter who found me on LinkedIn a month ago!.
(whether I want I fully want the Job remaines to be determined if I get an offer).

The reality is that LinkedIn for worse or for better is in fact a great Networking tool. There is some murkey stuff out there and yes I do get some reaching out to me with odd Jobs but I can ignore them right?

And the reality is that, I am also reminded that this IS is small world! After a while, your existance on LinkedIn sorta validates you be the connects you have and the funny part is you get to see how you're connected. I think until i'm retired or win Lotto and as so Long sites like LinkedIn exists, I think it would be near suicide not to have a LinkedIn Profile and not to Network while keeping a vested interested in it. We all have a choice of who we let in - i personally lke the to have worked with a Person before I connect but i'm ok if we haven' met and say have a mutual interest, such as an alumni from a Prior Company, or a recruiter from a well established and reputable firm or someone with an interesting offer.

The reality is that in pharma, its a small world and basically not being on LinkedIn and keeping your activities sufficiently warm is like nearly not existing - all my Senior Managers (i.e. members of varied governance boards such as executive commitee) all have Linkedin Profiles that are up to date and many are very active (i.e. liking Posts or even making Posts and comments themselves). So yeah, as much as at times I don't like it, it has given me more benefit, than harm.

Best,

Dx
D.X.
 
Posts: 1123
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:29 pm

Re: How do YOU feel about this LinkedIn controversy?

Postby MPB » Sun Nov 19, 2017 1:04 pm

I used to be more open to accepting links from people I don't actually know, but I find that these days, I usually don't accept them. I've recently seen a big up-tick in requests from people where I can't really see any reason to link with them -- for example, I live on the west coast, and I recently received a link request from a shoe store in North Carolina. A lot of times, linkedin requests are basically spam -- link requests from audiovisual vendors, for example.

Also, as linkedin has become more like Facebook, the main page is more and more cluttered with posts and comments on posts from people I don't know. I would still accept requests from recruiters, probably, but otherwise, I'm not really taking new requests from people I don't know.
MPB
 
Posts: 479
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:28 pm

Re: How do YOU feel about this LinkedIn controversy?

Postby Dave Jensen » Sun Nov 19, 2017 2:09 pm

MPB wrote:I used to be more open to accepting links from people I don't actually know, but I find that these days, I usually don't accept them. I've recently seen a big up-tick in requests from people where I can't really see any reason to link with them -- for example, I live on the west coast, and I recently received a link request from a shoe store in North Carolina. A lot of times, linkedin requests are basically spam -- link requests from audiovisual vendors, for example.

Also, as linkedin has become more like Facebook, the main page is more and more cluttered with posts and comments on posts from people I don't know. I would still accept requests from recruiters, probably, but otherwise, I'm not really taking new requests from people I don't know.


Now, no one suggested you link up with a shoe store on the other coast. But let's say you're a neuroscientist who does work with a certain cell line. There's a person on the other coast who sends you an invitation, and she has similar interests, publications, and contacts. You can see that you have a dozen or so mutual connections to that person and the same area of interest. And just because you don't "know her," you wouldn't accept her invitation? I think that's a real crime. The link only helps her job search, and yours at the same time. It brings you both a world of new prospects. It's a potential collaborator, a potential hiring manager, and so on.

You should be able to weed out the shoe stores and audiovisual sales people. I do. If there's no area of mutual interest, they get zip out of me. The home page of LinkedIn is going to be filled with all kinds of posts and articles, no matter whether you have 10 connections or a thousand, so that's not going to change no matter who you connect with. Some of those are stupid "Facebook like" comments, and others are worthy of some attention. But the page is set up to be filled with content, so taking it out on people who want to connect with you isn't going to do a thing to its appearance.

Dave
"One of the most powerful networking practices is to provide immediate value to a new connection. This means the moment you identify a way to help someone, take action." - Lewis Howes
Dave Jensen
Site Moderator
 
Posts: 7854
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:28 pm


Return to Science Careers Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 11 guests