I’ve been spending quite a bit of time reviewing the member profiles for those in my LinkedIn network. For the most part, it has been a wonderful journey to memory lane. Most of the nearly 800 are in my network for a good reason–I appreciate them for our shared experiences and I greatly respect them.
About 100 have asked me to join their network, and I agreed. I suspect many of them know me through my blogging efforts. I am hopeful that some day I’ll be able to contribute positively to their network.
In addition, I’ve been reviewing profiles of people with whom I’ve come into brief contact.
I’ve come to several conclusions.
The first and foremost advantage to LinkedIn is how you describe your self, skills, work experiences and education. I am appalled at how many people, both in and out of my network, list where they work and possibly from where they received the most recent degree. And that’s it. I meet many, many people from day to day. In this information available age, I turn to the Internet and LinkedIn to find out more about them. I seldom am satisfied. When I shop, I do so on the Internet. When I research something, I do so on the Internet. When I want to information about a person, I do so on the Internet. If you aren’t adequately describing yourself, now is the time to join the 21st century.
CPAs should be listing the skills that give them both identity and competitive advantage. But more than a list of skills, CPAs should be providing descriptions. Too much verbiage is bad, but I’ve only seen 1 or 2 cases where too many words were used.
Academics are worse. Many accounting professors never even mention the word accounting. Professors don’t, but should describe their program of scholarly pursuits and highlight key accomplishments.
I have two contacts on LinkedIn without their full name. One is listed as “Dr. firstname,” the other by initials. Neither wants to release too much personal information. Well, in this day and age we expect a minimum of a person’s name. How else are we to find that person?
One of the basic advantages to LinkedIn is how it enables network assembly and management in the Internet and social media ages. I’m amazed at how many professionals (and academics) have small networks of less than 100. In this day and age, accounting professionals should be LinkedIn connected to all of their clients and work colleagues, both current and from the past. I think it’s possible to be both selective and inclusive. If you have a beneficial relationship with another professional, then why wouldn’t you include them in your LinkedIn network?
Once a LinkedIn network is built up, then you have a responsibility to it. Use it to stay in contact. Also, endorse those in your network. Endorsements should be handed out sparsely, only when it is deserved. But if you respect someone enough to add them to your network, then what prevents you from endorsing them?
LinkedIn endorsements for skills are valuable because they provide affirmation and validation from those who best know the professional. Professors especially miss the boat here. Many do not list accounting (or tax or auditing) as a skill. If the professor has professional skill, then the professor’s network will validate it. I am surprised at how many professors don’t list college teaching as a skill.
And finally, why not put up a nice professional picture. I’ve seen pictures of dog and owner. I certainly hope I don’t meet the dog.
Debit and credit – - David Albrecht