Not LinkedIn — Yet

I had heard about LinkedIn before but didn’t know much about it. I vaguely understood it was some type of networking tool. And because I’ve been out of the workforce for many years, raising my 3 kids, I felt it really didn’t apply to me. Fortunately, for this class, I learned what a great social tool LinkedIn can be: It’s the largest professional network with 200 million members in over 200 countries and territories around the globe.  LinkedIn’s mission is simple: connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful. When you join LinkedIn, you get access to people, jobs, news, updates, and insights that help you be great at what you do. Now that I’m ready to re-enter the library field, I can see how much LinkedIn can help me out. But I have some reservations of when I should jump in.

LinkedIn is very easy to use and search. I had fun searching for my brother and sister and reading their profiles! I did think it was really helpful when our professors showed us how you can use your LinkedIn contacts to help you put your resume in the hands of the employer you desire. One connection leads to another and another and soon you reach the person who does the hiring for the job you want. They also emphasized that you need to give recommendations if you expect people to do the same for you. It’s definitely an “I’ll-help-you if-you-help-me kind of environment.”

As I mentioned, I am hesitant to officially join LinkedIn because my work experience is quite ancient as I’ve been out of the workforce for so long. Unfortunately, raising 3 children, volunteering at their schools, and being a girl scout leader isn’t the type of job experience that translates well to a LinkedIn profile. 🙂

So here is my question to all of you  — I would love to make contacts on LinkedIn but is it for someone like me?  All my library experience is over 20 years old (pre-kids), except for the volunteer work I’ve done in my children’s elementary school library. I have my MLS that I earned in 1995. I’m currently earning the post-master’s certificate program so I can update my MLS skills. Do people like me use LinkedIn??

My cautious belief is that I need to gain more recent library experience before I can join LinkedIn. Otherwise, I will not be able to reap many of its rewards and may in fact hurt my reputation. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

Kathy Anderson

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4 thoughts on “Not LinkedIn — Yet

  1. Lauren Peters

    Hi Kathy,
    It seems like we are in a similar situation. I have been home with my 2 boys for 14 years. After listening to the lecture, I went on LinkedIn and made contacts with my undergrad college and a few other interesting sites. I am of two minds, like you. I feel that by posting a LinkedIn profile, that I am saying that I am ready to join the workforce – I’m not yet! On the other hand, I was relieved that I now have contacts from whom I can contact when I am ready. I am going to keep my contacts up and be a lurker, for now.
    Lauren

    Reply
    1. kathysbookmark Post author

      Hi Lauren,
      What a great idea! It’s probably smart to start building those contacts now instead of waiting until the last minute. I guess I felt I had to be ready to start work before I could join– and like you I’m not there yet. Thanks for the good idea.
      Kathy

      Reply
  2. Deborah Cooper

    Kathy,
    In my humble opinion all of your experience counts, regardless of the year! There are many women in the same boat including myself (although I haven’t been out of the workforce as long as you but still…) I think you should have a job or work experience section that includes your previous library jobs. The fact that you already have an MLS and are now doing a post-MLS certificate also speaks volumes about your dedication and skills. I have read many times in career-related articles that volunteer work also counts positively during time out for child-raising. All of my library experience has only been as a volunteer but that section on my LinkedIn profile now looks really full of really good skills. If you did anything at your children’s school such as volunteer for the PTA you could include it. Another tip I have read is to not put dates on your resume if the work goes back more than 5-10 years. I don’t know how that would work on LinkedIn but you might be able to play around with that. Finally, I recommend contacting the SLIS career advisor via email, Jill Klees. She has helped me out with quick questions from time to time. She may be able to give you much more professional advice about how to handle the work-gap, even in regard to LinkedIn.
    Deborah

    Reply
    1. kathysbookmark Post author

      Deborah,
      Thanks so much for your great resume and LinkedIn tips. It’s nice to hear that all the library volunteer work I did at the kids school library counts for something. And I keep forgetting that we have the SLIS career advisor as a wonderful resource to use — thanks for the reminder. I really appreciate all your helpful feedback!
      Kathy

      Reply

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