LinkedIn. Its a great tool to connect with former colleagues and friends. Its also used by employers and recruiters to find candidates. I believe that everyone should have a LinkedIn account (its free). However, the manner in which you set up your LinkedIn account is very important.
Clients often pay me to set up a new or update their current LinkedIn profile after we have completed their resume, as they want to be sure to be found in the search results. Being kind of a search engine optimization geek, I love to figure out the best keywords and keyword phrases to get them top rankings.
However, there is one issue that I have been finding lately. Many of my clients are either currently using or want to use their email address associated with their employer.
While it may seem like a great idea at first since you can import contacts from various email programs, I would caution against it. Or, at the very least, set up the account FIRST with your company email, and then change the email address to a personal address (instructions are below).
Heres why. First, your employer may have a policy against using your company email address for anything outside work. So, check your companys policy.
Second, you could be fired or laid off. If either of those situations happen, you will not have access to your contacts or be able to update your profile, as your email address will likely vanish from the companys system.
I have also heard stories of employers claiming rights to your contacts especially if any of them are customers. If that happens, you would likely have to rebuild your list.
And, if you have a company-owned laptop or desktop computer where you receive email, and they take it from you, youve now lost all of your contacts.
Further, some employers have rules about supervisors or other employees providing recommendations for you in any manner (whether on LinkedIn, elsewhere online, or in writing).
While you will have to check your companys policy on this, I think it might be harder to enforce that rule if you have your LinkedIn account is attached to a personal email address. Of course, Im not an attorney, so I would suggest you consult with one!
So, how do you change your work email address to your personal address in LinkedIn? Here are the steps:
- Sign into your account
- Go to the account & settings link in the upper right-hand corner
- Scroll down to the Personal Information section in the right-hand column
- Find and click on the email addresses link
- Enter a new email address in the box provided and click add email address
- Youll be directed to go to that email address to confirm it
- Go back to the email addresses area, check the box next to the new address, and click make primary
- Check the box next to your companys email address and click remove.
As an idea, you might want to let your contacts know you are doing this. Send them all an email (you can import your contact list into an Excel file good idea to do this anyway) stating that future LinkedIn emails will come from your personal address.
As a final note, I always suggest that my clients obtain an email address from a service such as gmail.com to be used only for job search. Use that email address on your resume and when setting up accounts on job boards, replying to online ads, or making contacts with recruiters.
Why do I suggest this? Well, you wont have to wade through Aunt Marthas recipes and Uncle Bills jokes to find a response about a great job!