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Why your LinkedIn employee profiles are harming your brand

Written by Tom Ross on 08 May 14
Why your LinkedIn employee profiles are harming your brand

How your out-of-date LinkedIn profile is making everyone suffer.

You’ve left your organisation. It was amicable. It was awkward. It was a complete disaster. Delete as appropriate!

We’ve all been there and I ask this of you – how many of you were on the ball when it came to updating your LinkedIn profile to reflect your leaving? You see, there are countless times I’ve witnessed – first hand – the effects of ‘LinkedIn Lingering’ after employees leave a company.

1. “I’m sorry, that person hasn’t worked here for over 5 years now”

Oh dear. By attempting to be proactive, and find the right point of contact in a company I want to speak with, I’ve searched and found who appears to be the perfect person to ring up. They’ve worked at their company for 10 years, their job description is a perfect match and I’m looking forward to the conversation.

Only be told they haven’t worked at the company for years.

"This chap has been an HR assistant for 65 years!" 

Is it me that looks silly here, or the company, who have an extremely out-of-date unofficial list of staff members on LinkedIn? By putting your employment details online, is it your, or your company’s prerogative to ensure they are correct? If someone retires, goes on maternity leave or moves to another industry which is far less engaged with LinkedIn, they may not get round to updating their profile.

2. “This group has no active manager!”

You’re a member of a once-prosperous, engaging group where everybody shared thought leading content and commented on each other’s posts and articles. Recently, it seems to be infested with adverts and spam…why? Before you know it, everybody who once used the group properly has deserted it and it stands there, ranking highly in LinkedIn’s search, forlorn and dilapidated.

If somebody who has left a company remains an administrator or manager of related pages or groups, then the group will likely start to fall into decline. For example, a quick check to see who’s managing a marketing group that I’m a member of – I can see an old colleague, who I know for a fact has retired! I imagine there are countless more of these examples across the thousands of groups on LinkedIn. If somebody makes a complaint or reports a piece of content – will it be picked up? Or will it disappear amongst the increasing amount of unnecessary noise filling up our social media channels? Maybe LinkedIn could send a notification to group managers once a year to ask them to confirm if they still want to be a manager, and if there is no reply within 30 days, management is suspended until confirmation is given? Just a thought.

3. “But what are you doing now?”

Similar to Number 1, but this time, think about how not updating your profile affects you. As you move onto your new company it’s really important to make sure this is reflected in your profile. You’re going to be networking with your new team members – and possibly new clients – and they’re going to want to start connecting with you on LinkedIn. If you’re still showing your old company details it could actually damage your reputation in their eyes. Equally, prospective clients, for example, wanting to learn more about your role in your new company won’t be able to, meaning that by not updating your profile you may miss out on new business. Making sure your profile is up to date is so crucial when you move roles as it reflects your new position, let’s all those contacts that you’ve so painstakingly collected over the years know what you’re up to now and also is a great gesture of enthusiasm for your new boss!

Do you think that updating your LinkedIn profile is one of the first things to tend to when you start a new role? Or are there other, more important things that need to be focussed on at that point and the updated profile can wait? When you connect with people on LinkedIn and their profile is out of date does it affect the way you view them? Let me know – I’d love to hear your opinions.

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