Diane Darling’s Open Letter to LinkedIn (regarding search limits)

The search limits on LinkedIn have really stirred the pot… especially for college career center pros who do LinkedIn trainings.  You might not have heard about it, but I blogged about it here:

How To Get Around the Ridiculous LinkedIn Search Limitations

Diane Darling’s open letter to LinkedIn about this issue is here. She said she hit her quota in 8 days, and then asked LinkedIn to please consider the sensitive budgets that career offices have. I think the only answer for LinkedIn is to remove these limits, and make LinkedIn usable again.  This is one of the most disrespectful things that LinkedIn has ever done to their users.  I think Diane is right asking for a break, but instead of just representing the career offices, I think she should represent the job seekers, who will undoubtedly get up against these limits too early.

Diane’s workarounds, and my comments:

>> “Google vs. LinkedIn – I’m now suggesting people download their LinkedIn connections so they can use Google to search instead of LinkedIn.”

Actually, there are two suggestions here.

The first is Google vs. LinkedIn, which I address in my post on the work-around. That is, use Google to search on LinkedIn’s database, and not use up any of the quota.

The other thing Diane is suggestion is completely different: download your first degree contacts…!  I recommend you do this at least once a year, simply to have a backup of your first degree contacts!  You then have the name, title, company name, and email address of each of your contacts as a backup.  This can come in handy in a variety of scenarios (like, you get booted out of LinkedIn, or worse, your employer steals your account and the connections).

>> CRM vs. LinkedIn – I’m also teaching people to import Linked Inconnections to a CRM (I suggest Insightly) so they don’t have to go to LinkedIn to look up people (I teach ways to use LinkedIn as a CRM but will have to change that.)

I have been a long-time proponent of having your own CRM, and not using LinkedIn as a CRM.  I think that using LinkedIn as a CRM is a bad, bad move.  Aside from my observation that it just isn’t a CRM (even though they acquired a CRM startup a few years back), the policies that a social network have to have and enforce are different than the policies needed for a CRM.  For example, if you do something against their Terms of Service, like put your email address in your name field (yes, even though people do it, it’s against the rules), would you want your access to LinkedIn (social network + CRM??) to be taken away?  Yes, I’ve had people contact me because their LinkedIn account has been disabled for this violation, or other super minor violations, or for things they had no idea were violations.

In other words, if you use LinkedIn as a CRM, be prepared to have problems that have to do with their policy issues.

Furthermore, what if they take away features (like LinkedIn Answers and Events)?  Or if they decide to move certain CRM features behind the paywall (like the search limit)?  Do you trust LinkedIn enough with your CRM data and functionality that you’ll hope and bet that they won’t disrespect you, as a user?

I certainly recommend you use a different CRM for CRM stuff, and use LinkedIn as a social network (to find others, and to be found by others).  I think they are two very different tools with different value propositions.

You might not know, but JibberJobber is technically a CRM.  CRM historically stands for Customer Relationship Manager. I like to think of JiberJobber as a Career Relationship Manager.  Instead of focusing on sales, we focus on relationships.  We focus on helping you network into companies and opportunities.

Because most of our users start when they are in transition, we’ve priced it so that it’s very affordable.  You can use the free account forever (meaning, we don’t delete your account or data if you don’t pay), and there is an optional upgrade level that comes out to $5/month when you pay by the year (otherwise, it is $9.95/month).  A couple of years ago we even moved most of the Premium features to the free level… it’s all about making these tools accessible to you, whether you are on the free account or have invested $5/month in your career.

If you haven’t checked it out, look at the youtube video on the homepage of JibberJobber.com (a bit dated… we’ve changed the UI a few times since we posted that video), or join one of our orientation webinars.

Still use LinkedIn to find and be found, but definitely use a CRM to keep track of and organize the what and how of your networking!

This is important stuff.  Since we can’t rely on the old fashioned “job security” anymore, we need to be more vigilant in our career management!