The moment I pass through the doors of my internship, my demeanor instantly changes. I still crack jokes, chit chat with my coworkers, and retain my all-around eccentricity. However, “Professional Jess” takes the reigns and I dial everything back. A lot.
The same thing happens to me when I use LinkedIn as opposed Facebook (as it should). The thing is, it’s OK to have a personality. In fact, it’s encouraged essential. Yet, the line between professionalism and peculiarity can get a little blurry when you work, or Connect, with friends.
I guess that’s why I haven’t fully gotten on board the LinkedIn bandwagon. I never quite understood how to post for that audience. Sure, I’ve spent countless hours perfectly crafting my summary, filling out my extra-curricular activities, and designing a custom header.
But none of that means anything if I don’t have users actually looking at my profile.
I always thought that what I lacked in outreach I made up for in content. You can clearly see my delusion. That’s why I decided to spend an entire week upping my LinkedIn game. I created updates, shared others’ posts, and actively participated in, *shudder*, group discussions.
Did it help? Did I make valuable connections? Could someone hire me immediately?
Here’s what happened.
Getting down to business
My journey began by immediately going to my views page. This section of LinkedIn allows users to see the analytics of who’s viewing them and how they compare to those who are also in their field or Connections list.
As an unemployed college student, you can imagine how I was doing. That being said, I immediately went through the “Recommended Connections” that LinkedIn provides and fired off seven requests.
That’s my profile before this exciting experiment began.
Oh heck yes.
I’ve been saving my free month of the all-powerful Premium feature for a rainy day. Well, as they say, “There’s no time like the present,” so I took the plunge and signed up. I was excited to see what secrets it held. What kind of ancient wisdom would be bestowed unto me?
To be honest, not much. At least from what I could tell. LinkedIn put into a special Premium Members-only group, and told me that I now show up more often in searches. But that’s about it. After a couple of days, my views went up a little, but nothing that I would consider substantial.
Oh, and they also gave me some free stock images for my profile header. The primo good stuff.
So, what happened?
Every day, I attempted to post or repost content to my main page. In addition, I tried commenting on my Connections’ updates and joining in on group discussions.
Again, I’m not too sure anything came of this. After the first four days, only a couple of users liked one of my posts. Where’s the fame and fortune I envisioned in my head? This endeavor was starting to look less promising.
Stepping it up
After my week was half over I decided to kick everything into overdrive. In an effort to achieve even one of my goals I pretty much doubled my efforts.
I tried creating my own group discussion by asking people in my field for advice, something I have seen others do on LinkedIn before. I’m always being told by my university’s career center that professionals just love to help us, so this should’ve been an easy foray.
It wasn’t. No one commented on my post or even liked it. To be fair, I could’ve posted a far more relevant article or controversial topic. However, from what I’ve been seeing, that probably wouldn’t have done much better.
To be honest, everything that I thought was going to happen, didn’t happen. I may have been a little ambitious in assuming that I would be flooded with requests and messages – but even a couple of solid engagements would have been nice.
This experience was nothing like Facebook. I see how other users engage with the LinkedIn, and overall engagement is lackluster. For such a great resource this platform falls flat on its face when it comes to personal connections. That goes back to what I said earlier. People turn down, or completely shut off, their personalities on LinkedIn. And everyone suffers for it.
So, maybe it’s time for a revolution.
It shouldn’t be this hard to get a like or comment. And when someone actually does something it feels forced. And now I get why. I literally had to compel myself to be proactive and productive on the site. It’s just not user-friendly. Not by design but by convention.
The one good thing that came from this experiment is the confidence I forced upon myself. There were a few Connections I was hesitant to request, and comments I was nervous to make. But, by taking this expedition I now had an excuse to push myself and be bolder.
Overall I’m glad I conducted this little experiment. It was a good learning experience if nothing else. And hey, I still have a few more weeks of free Premium.