Diana Arteaga @_dianart

4 Reasons Why This College Age Latina Dislikes LinkedIn (And You Probably Do Too)

By Diana Arteaga @_dianart

photo credit: WOCinTech Chat

I don’t understand LinkedIn, and I don’t mean it in a way that a simple UX/UI redesign could fix. I mean that I don’t understand the social rules governing it, the minor, unspoken rules that, if broken, can cost you a job offer. What I’ve come to discover is that LinkedIn, despite what everyone and their abuela is saying, is not a great way for me to make connections. It does not fulfill the vital needs I have.

Don’t get me wrong. LinkedIn is a great platform for some, but not all. I know there are others out there who have been left unsatisfied and maybe even a little depressed after using LinkedIn.

Without further ado, here are my reasons (and I’d love to hear yours!) about why LinkedIn is not the platform for me:

1. I was forced to join LinkedIn

I didn’t join LinkedIn because it was an attractive platform that would help me connect with other professionals and advance my career. I joined because I’ve been pressured to, by career counselors, peers and more, out of fear of not finding a job, a very real fear for us millennials, especially those with student loan debt (shout out to my fellow debtors!). But this scare tactic doesn’t make the platform attractive. Instead, it just gives me anxiety that I have to be perfect on the platform and not my authentic self, lest it cost me some opportunities.

2. I don’t understand the rules

Like many Latinas, my parents aren’t white collar workers. I wasn’t raised knowing business lingo or how to interact in a professional setting and network with others. I’ve had to fumble my way through these things while in college, which puts me years behind my fellow peers and greatly plays into my anxieties of being a first generation college student. I end up feeling inadequate and as if this space and platform is not for me. As I am just starting out in my career and don’t know how the professional world works, I need a place where I can experiment and build myself, where I don’t need to be polished.

3. I am a product on LinkedIn, not a person

LinkedIn is a space where people list off all of their latest accomplishments in order to impress others. It’s appearance-based and it feels like you’re building an alternate, fluffed up persona to show off to the world, one that may not reflect reality. It’s where you exchange pleasantries as people scan through your profile, judging you on your capabilities without really seeing you as a whole person. But I am more than just my resume, and LinkedIn doesn’t seem to get that.

4. There is no sense of community

LinkedIn feels more like a competitive marketplace than a community. Which in a sense is partially the function of it, since we are all competing for jobs. But as someone who values authentic connections, I don’t want to waste time on a platform where people boast about the thousands of almost certainly superficial connections they have. Whenever I see people with that many connections, I can’t help but to wonder, how many of those are true, meaningful connections? And how many were forced out of formality during an awkward networking session?

LinkedIn does not fulfill my needs as a young Latina trying to make it in the professional world, a world that is not always welcoming to people of my identity. Because of this, I crave a community where I can be myself and don’t have to put up a “professional” front; a place where I can be vulnerable and ask the questions I may not be comfortable asking in a place like LinkedIn. A place where I can share my triumphs, my disappointments and my dreams and hear other’s as well.

This is why I joined BeVisible, because the connections that I make there with others are real, impactful and significant. It’s a place where I can let my hair down, network in a casual environment, collaborate with others, share experiences and help others who are going down a similar path. Latina Millennials need a place to further our education and careers, but one that we own, govern, and build ourselves. Opting for a supportive networking instead of playing the LinkedIn game doesn’t mean that I am weak and I can’t compete, in fact, it’s the exact opposite. It means that I am drawing on the strength of my community, and am even stronger because of it. Because we are more than a list of accomplishments and professional headshots. We are empowered Latinas ready to take on the world and make ourselves visible.