Over 40? Ignore LinkedIn at your own “Career Peril”!
Guest post by Julie Bauke
What Ignore LinkedIn? Does any of this sound familiar?
1. That LinkedIn stuff isn’t going to help me.
2. Yeah, I’m on there, but I don’t do much with it.
3. I don’t do LinkedIn or I don’t get it!
Do me a favor, and slap yourself for me. Hard. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. The belief behind that phrase is at the core of much of the age discrimination that you may face in your career.
I have no affiliation with LinkedIn whatsoever, and yes, I am an “old dog”, but the power and potential of LinkedIn as a business tool for recruiters, business developers, small business owners and virtually everyone else cannot be overstated.
It’s All About Relationships
There is nothing we accomplish alone- without the input, feedback, support, or connections to others and their ideas. LinkedIn makes that not only possible, but about a bazillion times easier. And if, as an “old dog”, you have decided that you are not going to learn LinkedIn tricks, why would a hiring manager think you will be any different on his team? What else will you decide not to learn?
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We give signals to the market as to who we are, every day in everything we do. Consider:
* If your posts on Facebook are always negative and whiny, you are probably not a bucket of sunshine to work with or be with.
* If you are often late, unprepared and distracted, it is not a leap to infer that if I hire you for a project, you will also be late, unprepared and distracted.
* If your hair, glasses and clothing are stuck in the 80’s, is the rest of you stuck in the 80’s too?
You get my drift.
About 10 years ago, I had a client who was an attorney and was about 58. He was laid off and actually said to me “I will not take any job that requires me to use a computer”. Luckily, he was in a position to retire, because as you might imagine, that is exactly what he had to do. If you have ever said anything like that about today’s tools and technology, hate to break it you, but you are that guy.
Consider These Ways to Embrace LinkedIn:
- Not sure what you are doing? Hire a LinkedIn expert to help you get up to speed. Bet you can find plenty of experts, well, on LinkedIn.
- Make sure your profile is complete. That’s right. 100% complete.
- Ask for feedback from some professional contacts who know you well to ensure that your profile positions you in the most accurate and engaging way possible.
- Look at profiles of other people in your profession and industry for ideas.
Using Visuals on LinkedIn Matters
San Francisco-based executive portrait and professional headshot photographer Scott Kline says people will make instantaneous judgments based on your photo. Like it or not, he is right. Here are a few of his tips:
* You don’t have to be trendy in your hair, clothing or glasses, just up to date. You should look appropriate for your industry and profession. If you normally wear glasses, wear them for the photo.
* It is called a headshot for a reason- shoulders or sternum up. No family or full body pictures.
* Spend some money for a great headshot that is of you at your best. It is well worth the investment of a few hundred dollars, but don’t let the photographer go crazy with the retouching. You need to look like the best version of you.
When it comes to our age and discrimination in the market, there is so much that we can’t control. But what is in our control is how we ”show up”. Don’t you want to give yourself every advantage in the market as you age so that you can stay relevant and have as many options as possible? I know I do.
Learn How students can develop their professional brand and explore opportunities, best practices to attract more alumni and companies to recruit at your school, strategies used by career centers around the world, and answers to your top LinkedIn questions. ~ The LinkedIn University
So tell me again why you won’t use LinkedIn? You can move out of the category of 40 Year Olds Ignoring LinkedIn at Their Career Peril
Julie Bauke calls herself the Chief Career Happiness Officer and her business, The Bauke Group is focused on helping professionals “get career happy” at any age or stage. The Bauke Group recently launched a new program for recent college grads called “The Edge- Get Your Career!”