But you really should joined LinkedIn. Here’s why:
- It’s nothing like Facebook. Facebook is full of people talking about their whole lives—their kids, their football team, their politics, and everything else under the sun. That’s not everyone’s cup of tea. LinkedIn is about business networking, so you get none of that. People talk about work. That’s it. It’s great to be able to have discussions about genealogy without anyone mentioning Sarah Palin.
- It’s enlightening. One of the great things about genealogy is that most people come into it as a hobby or second career. That means that just about everyone in this community had a whole career before this one. It’s fascinating to see what people did for a living before they became genealogists.
- It makes you smarter. Genealogy is a profession where it’s pretty much impossible to know everything. Smart genealogists build a network of colleagues, so they have someone to call on when they run into an unfamiliar area. When you trace your family to a state (or country, or religion) where you have no expertise, it’s a big help to know who does know about those records. The broader your network is, the more help you can get…and not everyone is on Facebook (or on listservs, or at conferences). To build a strong network, you need to make sure you’re in multiple places, talking to different kinds of people. Diversify!
- It gets you recommended. It kills me to say this, because I’ve railed against LinkedIn’s “recommend” feature in the past, and I haven’t changed my mind. I still hate it. But I accept the fact that it’s not going away, and that means it’s probably unwise to ignore it. Some people seem to find it valuable, particularly in a client-service profession like genealogy. Harumph.
- It gets you hired. Whether you make your living as a genealogist or in another field, you’ll find that more and more jobs are filled by networking. My background is in HR/recruiting, and I know companies who rarely run an ad anymore. They search LinkedIn for candidates instead. If you’re not there, they can’t find you. It’s always wise to have multiple means of finding a job when you need one.
Photo by Coletivo Mambembe
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