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LinkedIn Tips and Traps

Checked your LinkedIn profile lately? You may be surprised.

1. Many past HP positions on LinkedIn profiles were changed to Hewlett Packard Enterprise -- even positions that ended years before HPE existed or positions that had nothing to do with HPE products. In addition,  logos on many positions were changed from the internationally-recognized "hp" logo to a wordless version of the HPE green-rectangle logo. Recruiters watch for employers and dates that don't make sense. Jump directly to instructions on repairing the positions on your LinkedIn profile

2. LinkedIn now tries to force each position on your profile into one of the companies in their company database. Organizational units such as divisions, subsidiaries. etc. that were formerly listed as separate companies -- confusing to outsiders and missed in recruiter searches -- are being eliminated from the database. A side-effect is that many companies no longer in business under their original name are also no longer in the database. Jump directly to instructions on workarounds for past positions on your LinkedIn profile

Given the ongoing HP breakup, this is a good time to go over your LinkedIn profile.

Watch the HPAA video. Trainer and coach Sandra Clark explains to an HPAA audience on how to really use LinkedIn. Among the practical answers in the Q-and-A: How is a profile different from a résumé? How far back should my job history go? How do I deal with skills and endorsements? HPAA LinkedIn Video  (63 minutes; YouTube automatically optimizes video quality for your connection speed.)

This material is based on experimentation and research -- plus extensive online discussions and private communications with HPAA members.
Questions or comments to: info@hpalumni.org   (Updated August 27, 2017.)

Why LinkedIn matters. Comments from HPAA members:

"Got a call from a recruiter who found me on LinkedIn. Led to a job outside HP with higher pay and rewards. My current job description had the primary skill my new employer was looking for. If I didn't have a profile, they wouldn't have found me at all."  

"Before I meet with someone for the first time, I view their profile for common interests and potential conversation topics. After I have met someone, I connect on LinkedIn."

"I'm diligent about keeping my profile updated -- it attracts inquiries about my consulting work. This often leads to a great contract." 

"We're all in business today. There's very little job security -- and we have to keep up with the network of people we know."


- If you are in the workforce -- even it not currently looking -- you need to be on LinkedIn. It is the master directory of everyone in the high-tech industry.  (If retired, LinkedIn helps you reconnect with people you have lost touch with over the years.)

- As with every free online service, you are not the customer -- you are the product. Recruiters pay $9,000 per recruiter per year to search for candidates -- they have full access regardless of your privacy settings. Therefore, you need to carefully review and control the information on your LinkedIn profile.

- The searching works both ways. You can search LinkedIn to reconnect with people who know you and your work -- or to find ex-HPers where you would like to work. Very powerful for job-hunting.

- LinkedIn keeps your email address private. Each message you send via LinkedIn -- and each message sent to you by a colleague or recruiter. -- uses a LinkedIn email address based on a random message number unique to that message.

- Much of the advice about using LinkedIn is for those seeking sales leads or promoting a business -- instead of for those looking for a job or building their career. Some common advice about flooding LinkedIn with posts to promote your "personal brand" can get you in trouble with LinkedIn -- and will turn off recruiters and hiring managers.

- Consensus is that a paid LinkedIn membership is of little value over a free membership -- unless you are seeking sales leads or promoting a business.

- LinkedIn is a very powerful tool -- but you have to put some effort into it. One member: "It's forgiving. Just start doing it!"


LinkedIn works in three ways:

- Recruiters and hiring managers who are looking for your skills and experience will find you if you have a well-thought-out LinkedIn profile.  LinkedIn's search demo for recruiters.

- LinkedIn suggests "People you may know" -- based on where and when you worked and your connections in common. The suggestions are uncanny -- and actually fun. Even if no longer in the workforce, LinkedIn helps you reconnect with people you used to work with.

- Use LinkedIn's search feature to reconnect with people who know you and your work -- or to find ex-HPers where you would like to work. See LinkedIn article on searching for people, jobs, and companies. Membership in LinkedIn groups, such as the HPAA's 81,000-member "HP Connections" networking group, improves searching.


The quickest way to strengthen your LinkedIn presence is to follow these steps in order:

1. Check critical LinkedIn account settings so that you receive job leads and requests to connect, have a little privacy, and don't drown in emails.

2. Optimize your LinkedIn profile so that recruiters and hiring managers will find you.

3. Optimize your positions so that your profile displays your experience but doesn't look fake -- and so you can be found.

4. Use LinkedIn's networking features to find former co-workers who know you and your work.


Next step -- Account Settings: Check your critical LinkedIn account settings

Questions or comments to: info@hpalumni.org

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