Monday, June 16, 2014

Are You Risking Your LinkedIn Account to 'Help' Clients?

I pulled up Facebook today and saw a post from a colleague that said, "Logged into LinkedIn this morning under a client's account and..." and I stopped reading.

As a resume writer, you may be "helping" your clients by logging into your client's LinkedIn account and populating their profile for them. After all, "they're paying me to help them," or "they're busy" or "they won't do it right." All valid reasons. Unfortunately, LinkedIn is very clear on this point. Here's the LinkedIn Terms of Service:

You agree to ... 3) not use other's accounts

When you signed up for your LinkedIn account, you entered into a legal agreement. You're bound by this agreement if you use LinkedIn:

The prohibition against signing into someone else's account is actually listed twice in the LinkedIn Terms of Service.

Under section 10.2: Don't undertake the following: 7) Use or attempt to use another's account...

But people violate LinkedIn's Terms of Service all the time, don't they? Also under section 10.2, it says you can't "Publish inaccurate information in the designated fields on the profile form (e.g., do not include a link or an email address in the name field)."

Because everyone else -- including some of the biggest names in the resume writing industry -- are doing it, it's okay if you do it too, right?

Growing up, my Mom always said, "Well, if everyone else jumped off a cliff, would you?"

My personal stance on this is no, we should not be logging into client's LinkedIn accounts and updating their profiles. Ever.

Do you want to risk your personal LinkedIn account? And your client's? Your client is relying on you to provide them with advice. If you tell them it's okay for you to log in to their account and their account gets shut down, are you putting yourself at risk? Yes. In theory, your client could sue you.

I understand that people will say that they "don't have time" to do this themselves -- but just having a static LinkedIn profile isn't going to really benefit them. If they don't know how to manage their own LI profile, they probably shouldn't be on LI at all. It's better to NOT be on LI than to put something up there they don't use.

I liken it to the role of the resume in the job search. We help clients come up with the content (resume, cover letter, bio, LI profile content, etc.) but once we've created it, it's up to the client to actually USE it.
We don't go on the job interviews for them. We give them the tools but they must use them.

One way to emphasize this to "busy" clients is, "This is the difference between teaching a man to fish, and giving him a fish. I know you just want the fish, but I'm not doing you a favor if you don't learn how to use these tools as part of a bigger career management strategy. The benefit to being on LinkedIn isn't just having a great Headline and Summary -- it's engaging in Groups, giving and getting Recommendations, making Connections, and building a pond that is well stocked with fish for the future. I'm asking you to take an hour now to learn how to use LinkedIn, and 10-15 minutes a week going forward to manage your account so that you won't go 'hungry' in your job search again in the future."

You can give them resources that will TEACH them how to use LinkedIn. You can purchase my LinkedIn Pass-Along Materials -- a 40+-page step-by-step guide to help them set up and manage their LinkedIn account. For $20, you can put your name on it and use it with all your clients (contact me for details -- currently updating it for the "new look" LinkedIn for 2017).

If your client knows how to use LinkedIn, but you want to give him/her a document they can use to populate the LinkedIn profile -- I also give you a step-by-step guide for that (LinkedIn Profile Delivery Document)

If the client is truly *that busy,* they probably have an assistant or someone they can give your LinkedIn Profile Delivery Document to (or maybe their wife or kid) who can implement it for them.
But I personally would not risk my LinkedIn presence for any of my clients. And I don't think you should either.

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