What I’m about to say may be controversial, but here it is! The days of LinkedIn being a valuable career tool are over. For me, anyway.
And if that sounds harsh, let me tell you that this wasn’t an easy decision.
For one, I’m a millennial whose career began at the time when LinkedIn became big. Now as a Salesforce admin, the bulk of my industry contacts currently live on LinkedIn. Part of me thought (still thinks?) that deleting my account may isolate me from the resources I need to grow my career.
But after weeks of deliberating, I decided to take the chance. I really think I’m better off without it, at least for right now. Here’s why.
At one point, LinkedIn was my favorite social platform.
Before I get into this, I need to give LinkedIn the credit it’s due.
LinkedIn was my lifeline back when I was a college student trying to figure things out. I was an introvert with endless professional curiosity, but with a healthy disdain for traditional networking.
Enter LinkedIn, the first platform to meet me in the middle: by providing the largest bank of career data I’d ever seen, and giving me a way to act on it.
During each of my job hunts, you can trust that I used it to search for everything: jobs, hiring managers, interviewers, even my would-be predecessors. (The latter was only to glimpse their career trajectories. I promise I’m not a creep!)
Then what changed?
I guess you can say I have a lot of nostalgia for what LinkedIn used to be. That’s part of the reason why this decision was so difficult.
But work norms were also eating at me. LinkedIn has become so pervasive in professional culture that for some industries, it’s bizarre to not be on the platform at this point. In fact, some will say that having a profile is necessary.
Besides, I had 10+ years and 500+ connections I’d be throwing away.
But after weighing the pros against the cons, I decided to let it go for one reason. No matter how helpful LinkedIn was in the past, it simply wasn’t serving me anymore.
The first moment I noticed a shift.
I distinctly remember during my last job search, when I discovered that unlimited people searches were a thing of the past. The perk I abused as a curious college student now came with a monthly fee attached!
Gang, there was no way I was going to pay money to a website…to job hunt.
But I gave LinkedIn the benefit of the doubt. With all the people out there trying to game the system, maybe this was inevitable.
Besides, everything else LinkedIn brought to the table – like the ability to message new contacts, keep tabs on old ones, and stay in the know – made it worth keeping! Having it could only aid my career.
Except for all the inMail. Enter my issue.
LinkedIn became more of a distraction than anything else.
I typically email the people I want to stay in touch with. Rarely do I message them on LinkedIn. Once I acknowledged that, the dominoes started to fall.
I do love seeing friends and acquaintances celebrating their job anniversary or finding new work. But while some updates are interesting, the majority of notifications I get from LinkedIn
make my eyes roll aren’t useful. That’s because they tend to come from people who are either:
- trying to sell me something,
- trying to recruit me for something, OR
- total strangers, connecting with me for some other random reason
As I’ve gotten more particular about how I share my email, it doesn’t help that InMail notifications need to be linked to your inbox to be useful. Otherwise, you wouldn’t see them!
So basically, all LinkedIn does at the moment is spam me.
And if you think I’m just being a baby about this, the final straw came when I received a message from a marketer for Popeyes. Encouraging me to try the new chicken sandwich. On LinkedIn.
LinkedIn has a lot to offer, but simplifying my life means more.
This isn’t a call to drop LinkedIn. Of all the social sites, it’s still top 2 in my book. It’s probably helping tons of grads and job seekers as we speak!
Plus, I benefit when people share my blog posts on LinkedIn. So there’s that. 🤷🏻♀️
But I only held on to my profile because I thought I had to. It took a while before I finally asked myself the important question: am I gaining more than I’m wasting?
And sure. Maybe I could’ve just disabled notifications and kept my account active, in case I ever needed it later on. Here’s why I didn’t do that.
Before deleting my account, I made one last-ditch attempt to talk myself out of it.
I wanted to see what I’d be missing out on if I went through with the decision. So I browsed my list of 500+ connections.
Now let me preface by saying this: it’s not on LinkedIn if I’m not using the platform to its full, intended potential. I know that.
But I was more than surprised to learn that I only recognized about half the people I saw. In the 10+ years I’d been on the site, I accumulated more connections than I could even remember! What then was I really holding onto?
That’s when I realized that even if I did regret deleting my account, I’d have no problem starting over. In fact, I’d probably do it better the second time around.
At the end of the day….
Resumes aren’t extinct, nor are phones or email. If my career can make do with those channels, I’d prefer it that way.
Plus it’s been a few days, and I really don’t miss the notifications! Nor do I miss having to explain EVERY time I sign in why I won’t upload a profile photo. (Employer dscrimination, facial recognition technology, general privacy…take your pick, LinkedIn!)
Social media has this funny way of tethering itself to our lives and psyches. But I’m seeing that feeling connected and getting value from a website/app aren’t always one in the same.
At the end of the day, this post really wasn’t about LinkedIn at all. This post was about trying to cut out some of the noise.