It puzzles me, when I learn from women how poorly they are "connected" in Social Networks, especially the network for professionals, LinkedIn, that they do not seem to realize how important this is for their careers.
Connie shunned Social Networks and had no use at all for LinkedIn while she was (very well!) employed by a prominent, international brand in transportation. Then, her employer merged with another company, her postion was eliminated and she was laid off. She then decided to create a LinkedIn profile, where all her listed positions were "past". Even though mergers and lay-offs are not an employee's fault, did Connie realize that recruiters might not favor someone who is not currently employed?
Kathleen has a very busy job with a hip global consumer goods company. When asked why she has no LinkedIn profile, her response was that her employer does not allow it and that she does not want to start one on her own time, because "I work 55 or more hours a week and when I get home I want to do other things". Her absence from LinkedIn makes her invisible to recruiters who may be searching for candidates to fill a position even better than the one she has now.
Doreen's situation is similar to Kathleen's, although, unlike her, she complains a lot about her workload and the menial tasks the CEO of this high-profile membership organization expects her and her direct-reports to perform for him (such as picking up his dry cleaning or having his car washed - can you believe it, in 2009?). She knows she should expand her skimpy LinkedIn profile and update it regularly, but she says she has no time during the day and is too tired in the evenings, while her week-ends are spent shopping or with friends. How will she find her next job, if she ever decides she is tired of her current employer, or he of her?
It is my hope that women in "Corporate America" will begin to think of themselves more as entrepreneurs, responsible for their own careers, and in doing so employ all the necessary tools at their disposal. Among these, a LinkedIn profile is at the top - effective and free!
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