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Resources for the modern journalist. From Loose Wire

LinkedIn: an online CV

The result of filling out one’s employment history and education is a profile page, that, as with Facebook and other social networking sites, can be calibrated to allow visitors to view all, some or very little of one’s particulars. This is, in effect, your online CV, and, depending on your privacy settings, the thing that many others will find if they search for you on Google (or, of course, in LinkedIn.)

It’s worth spending time, therefore on:

  • Choosing a photograph that conveys the image you’re seeking to convey
  • Adding enough employment data to convey the story you want to convey of your journalistic career
  • Linking to a website, twitter feed, blog or some other site that you want to publicize as part of your digital identity.
  • Tweaking the privacy settings so you show what you want to show, and not more, to those who look for you on Google.

LinkedIn is, in some ways, particularly important for journalists, who by definition have a greater prominence than many professionals. While you might be quite happy with the search results thrown up by a Google search of your name, you may one day find a story you don’t care for, or comments on you that you don’t care for, rising in the rankings. Or you may have moved to a different publication. LinkedIn may be an easier way to control your visibility, therefore. A prominent LinkedIn profile allows you to control the first thing that people see about you, and for you to be able to update that when and how you feel like.

Some other tips for improving your digital identity on LinkedIn:

  • Focus on interests and beats as much as positions. Your LinkedIn profile should convey not only what you’ve done, but what you’re doing—and what you’re covering, or want to cover.
  • An informal measure of one’s “status” on LinkedIn is the number of contacts one has—which is why a LinkedIn profile with half a dozen contacts is probably worse than having none at all. If you do LinkedIn, do it properly.
  • That said, don’t overdo the connections. You may find yourself overwhelmed with connection requests that are really story pitches in disguise. Your LinkedIn profile shouldn’t necessarily make you easier to reach by everyone, just as you don’t hand out your phone number and email address to all and sundry. Add only those PR people you know won’t waste your time (and are senior enough to be worth your time. You can always remove connections if they prove a nuisance, though it’s not as easy as it could be.)
  • You don’t have to bother too much with many of the features of LinkedIn such as status updates—LinkedIn shouldn’t be time-consuming in terms of tending it–but it’s worth keeping it relatively fresh. Update your job description, for example, if you change beat, or if you get promoted. LinkedIn can be an easier way you tell your contacts you’ve moved job, rather than sending out dozens of emails. If you find that your contacts are active on LinkedIn, there’s no harm in posting your output there.
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