What’s the Best Time to Join LinkedIn?

Best time to Join LinkedIn? The answer may surprise you:
– The best time is when you are employed and happy
– The second best time is when you are employed and unhappy
– The worst time is when you are unemployed

We’ll assume want to join LinkedIn for career reasons, and are seeking more qualified contacts and more opportunities leveraging a more formal, visible and businesslike presence online*.

Why Being Unemployed is a the Worst Time to Join LinkedIn
Being unemployed is the worst time to join LinkedIn, for two reasons. The first reason is discussed in Never Tell Them You’re Looking. By suddenly appearing on LinkedIn – with no current job – you are more likely to appear needy.

LinkedIn is not a job board – it is a marketing forum. The attitude you need to bring, as my friend Michelle Iseman (Queen Schmooze) would say, is that you are not a question, you are a solution.

The second reason is that when you have recently lost your job, or you have been looking for some time, you may be very demoralized. (The only person who ever walked out on one of my presentations was someone who had lost their job the day before.) When you are down on yourself, it is hard to look for work, and it can be even harder to write positive self-marketing material.

Plan and Write When You’re Happy
When you’re happily employed, you have more confidence in yourself. It is easier to do career planning, and it is easier write about present and past successes. Realistically, I know a large number of people only do career planning – or join LinkedIn, or update their resumé – when they are unhappy or looking for work.

If you’re not happy – one of the reasons you now want to advertise yourself – try brainstorming your profile and your work experience statements with a capable friend over your favourite beverage. Have your friend ask you the key questions we ask Portable You resumé clients: “What Did You Do?” “Why Was It Important?”, and then have your friend test whether you really have talked about the benefits and outcomes you brought to your previous work, by asking the all-important question “So What?”.

How to Join LinkedIn When You’re Happily Employed
If you’re happily employed and you’re a gregarious, keeping-in-touch sort of person, or have the type of job that depends on networking, go ahead, join, and network to your heart’s content.

If joining LinkedIn might signal to your employer or co-workers that you are not happy with your job, you can turn off LinkedIn’s notification settings until you have an established presence and are not updating your profile every day. Remember you can control to whom you’re connected. If you’re not already connected to a person, they’re less likely to search for and keep tabs on you.

    * Some independents do better business from having a more informal Facebook presence. Examples include some writers, artists, performers, and mom-preneurs.

If you’d like help creating an attractive LinkedIn presence that brings you more inquiries and opportunities in your preferred field, come to a LinkedIn workshop or Contact us for one-on-one or one-on-two coaching.
Jennifer

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4 Responses to What’s the Best Time to Join LinkedIn?

  1. Peter Sturgeon says:

    I think there is a risk in this advice, that the unemployed worker will not join while umenmployed. If I am unemployed and unhappy, do I wait until I am employed and happy again before joining? Do I forego potential contacts, support, job leads during the most difficult times? Yes, it is the worst time to join, but join regardless.

    • Peter Sturgeon says:

      Next time I’ll spell check:)

    • Jennifer says:

      Peter,
      You are right of course. Better to join LinkedIn in and start doing the right things for yourself as soon as you can. This post was written in partial rebuttal to the people I encounter who say “I don’t need LinkedIn, I’m employed.” That statement can only ever be true of anyone today, in this moment.

      I also wage a continuing battle, one heart and mind at a time, to encourage people not to list themselves in their LinkedIn headline as “unemployed” or “seeking a position”. For one thing, it is a search term seldom used by employers and recruiters.

      • Peter Sturgeon says:

        I would think your dates of employment might make it clear that you’re not working. Agree that unemployed should not be in the headline, or anywhere else.

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