I recently received an email from a security professional I met at a conference. She mentioned she was looking to transition positions, and had been told by others that she ‘had’ to be on LinkedIn in order to find a position. I’m in no position to answer this question objectively, obviously (I work for a career networking site where you can do many of the same things you do on a public-facing social networking site). But as someone who works for aforementioned career networking site but is also very active on LinkedIn, I think I at least have some credibility. And my key takeaway is that if you are a security professional, in particular, not only do you not have to be on a site like LinkedIn, but you may be more likely to find a job through a site like ClearanceJobs or a security-related career event.

I’m active on LinkedIn, and love to use the site to connect with other professionals in my industry. Like every social networking site, there are pros and cons. Because there is so much activity on LinkedIn, it can easily suck a lot of time, and it can be difficult to sort through the noise. I think some of the worst career advice you can get is to try to be all things in all places. If you are a purple squirrel security clearance holder with a niche set of skills, it really doesn’t do you any career credits to be active on social media. You certainly can, for a variety of reasons both personal and professional. But it would be incorrect to say your best path to a cleared job would be through LinkedIn.

Should I Be Afraid to Create a LinkedIn Profile?

You don’t need to be scared to post a LinkedIn profile – that’s going too far in the other direction – but you should be cautious. If you’ve never engaged on a public facing social networking site do to security and career considerations or other reasons, you have good reason to think twice before throwing your entire resume on the open web. If you are using any social media site as a part of your career search or in a professional capacity, it’s good to think about what you post, and who you connect with.

A campaign created by the UK’s Centre for the Protection of Critical Infrastructure and widely shared by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence advises individuals to ‘Think Before They Link.’  The campaign emphasizes that individuals often aren’t who they appear to be – and many individuals who claim to want to connect for professional networking are actually linked to foreign adversaries.

 

 

A few ways to network with data protection and safety in mind are to:

  1. Only connect with individuals you actually know/whose identities you can verify directly.
  2. Don’t list clearance details on your profile/headline.
  3. Limit the amount of career data you share, including companies worked at.

 

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Lindy Kyzer is the editor of ClearanceJobs.com. She loves the NISPPAC, social media, and the U.S. military. Have a conference, tip, or story idea to share? Email lindy.kyzer@clearancejobs.com. Interested in writing for ClearanceJobs.com? Learn more here.