I've made my case for LinkedIn and given tons of pointers for how to write your profile, choose cover art, stand out from the masses and more. But what if your company doesn't allow you to use the social media platform?
Some companies, particularly in more highly regulated financial services, restrict -- partially or entirely -- their employees' engagement on social media, including LinkedIn. It might not be not ideal for your career, but there are ways you can continue to leverage the platform, depending on what your firm and its compliance and legal departments will allow. Check out these four tips, which might also be helpful if LinkedIn just isn't your thing, though it should be.
1. Understand your company's rules.
Find out exactly what you are allowed to do on LinkedIn. No doubt there are companies that make it all but impossible to have any presence at all. However, in my experience, I have run into people who just don't like LinkedIn or the thought of LinkedIn and so they use their company as an excuse for not engaging. Remember, nobody cares more about your career than you.
2. Engage to the extent you are allowed.
Maybe you are allowed to have a profile with name, title, company, headshot, cover art and past jobs. Great. Do it. Maybe you can have a summary story but only if there's certain disclosures at the end. That's better than no summary. Maybe you can post links interesting articles but you can't write and post your own articles.
When I worked at a bank, I wasn't allowed to display recommendations others had written for me or write recommendations for others. After I left the bank, I turned my recommendations back on.
3. Be a passive but observant participant.
Say you are allowed a minimal presence on LinkedIn. Use the opportunity to see what people in your network are sharing. If you have something to say -- like "Congratulations on your new job," "I saw you were quoted in The Wall Street Journal -- great job!," "Thanks for your message." -- do so via other approved channels, such as email.
For people who message you through LinkedIn, this is especially important, because you don't want to seem unresponsive. By being passive but observant you can also do things like get ideas you want to explore though approved methods. For example, if you have a blog, you might find ideas for future posts.
4. Have a more robust profile ready to go.
Who knows, one day the rules at work could loosen up or you might switch jobs or industries. It would be smart your ideal profile ready to go. Write your summary story now -- and, hey, can use it as your professional bio in the meantime, so it's worthwhile no matter what. Keep a document with links that you would like to post when you are able. These could be links to blog posts and other past work. Know who you would like to write a LinkedIn recommendation for you and plan to return the favor, too.
Bottom line: LinkedIn is about building and maintaining connections. Exactly how you do it is less important than actually doing it.