LinkedIn and Facebook: What’s the difference?

Posted: October 26th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Career Coach, Job Search Networking, Social Networking | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on LinkedIn and Facebook: What’s the difference?

This afternoon I spent 2 hours working side by side with one of my apprentice coaches and my intern showing them how to build a ‘pimped out’ professional LinkedIn profile. To change things up, we headed to Starbucks rather than working at the office. While we were working, a gentleman (Ben) leaned over and asked “Are you guys ghostwriters?” I smiled and said, “Only for LinkedIn and resumes.” He then asked for a card; he had just finished an interview.

LinkedIn’s Not For Me
Since we’d just stepped next door from the office, I grabbed my laptop and phone but not my cards (bad, bad idea). To make sure he had our information, I asked Irvine to email him. When she sent it to him, he commented “Oh great, I could use your help. I need a new job although I don’t think LinkedIn is for me; Facebook is the same anyway.” To which she said, “LinkedIn is more of a professional networking site whereas Facebook is for family and friends.”

I was busy working with Barb and only found out about the exchanged third hand at the end of our meeting later (when I was so proud I gleamed with joy). Irvine was spot on in her assessment. Many professionals I meet, speak with and coach respond to the idea of networking and connecting on LinkedIn with “it’s not for me” or “my company doesn’t really use LinkedIn” or “LinkedIn isn’t used in my industry/profession.” If I only had a dollar for every time I heard that I’d be…well, far better off financially than I am now.

Consider these facts: 100MM+ professional, registered users including executives from every Fortune 500 company. 200 countries. 50% users are U.S.-based; 50% users international. The only social network to go public. If you, your industry or your company isn’t using it – who are all those people on there? And for goodness sake, why would you NOT want to connect with them?

Facebook – What it is and is Not
When Irvine said to Ben that Facebook is great for family and friends she was absolutely right. It’s a perfect place to connect with old friends from elementary school, new friends from your neighborhood, family members in other cities, states, countries, etc. Using Facebook as a job search utility is also a good option, when done within a strategic and savvy search model. Given that Facebook changes it’s privacy settings often, and sometimes without notifying it’s user base, and that often times you’re friends with colleagues, this social network is best used as a friends and family connection base. Your pictures and posts are more personal on Facebook and they may not be something you want a potential employer, hiring manager or colleague to see.

The Difference: Professional and Personal
The main difference between LinkedIn and Facebook is why you use them and who you connect with on each network. LinkedIn=professional networking to connect with colleagues and professionals. Facebook=socializing and connecting with friends and family. Confusion creeps it’s head when they crossover and thanks to networking, employee referrals and the power of word of mouth, Facebook has become a great engine for penetrating people’s personal social circles both for companies, hiring managers and recruiters. That’s okay if you allow it and want it. To dismiss LinkedIn is to toss out 100MM potential career contacts that can lead to a new opportunity; that makes much less sense.