LinkedIn and Facebook are not the same thing and should be treated differently. LinkedIn is a networking tool, and Facebook is a social network. It is important to understand the difference and use them each appropriately.
When you are looking for a new job, you spend a lot of time crafting your personal brand. You write the perfect two-page resume, touch base with your references and get your LinkedIn profile up to date. Once you land the perfect job, it's easy to let your resume get stale and lose touch with previous employers. Don’t become complacent. You never know when the next reduction in workforce will put you out on the street looking for another job or when you are going to compete for the next promotion.
On your commute to work, send quick emails or messages to former mentors, supervisors and coworkers. Ask them how they are doing and if you see an opportunity for them in your organization, share it with them. Make sure they know you are thinking about them and keep them up to date on what you are working on. I use the messaging app on LinkedIn. It lets me see what their profile says they are up to. I make sure to mention it in my note.
Write professional articles in professional journals and blogs such as GovLoop. Then add those articles to your LinkedIn profile. Future employees and employers use your social media to learn more about you. Your profile needs to set you apart from your competition. It is an extension of your resume if you write it correctly. I put my LinkedIn profile link on my business card and resume. Don’t forget to personalize your link.
LinkedIn is not Facebook. Keep your personal hobbies and cat videos on Facebook where only your friends and family can see it. Make sure the privacy settings are up to date on Facebook. You only want those people you don’t mind seeing you in embarrassing situations able to view Facebook. Friends and family can tag you in embarrassing photos that may not be as funny to a prospective employer or employee. LinkedIn is a professional networking tool that should be open to everyone. As a hiring official, I look at both to help determine if you will be a good fit for my organization.
When you are actively looking for a new position, consider paying for the LinkedIn Premium. It helps you track who checks your profile and gives you more access to training and job opportunities.
In summary, keep your profile and network up to date, you never know when you may need it. Leverage your LinkedIn profile as an extension of your Resume and keep it up to date with additional accomplishments and achievements. Facebook is for family and friends, LinkedIn is part of your professional brand.
Stewart Fearon is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.