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Some Garlic Sauce for Your LinkedIn

Vegetarian personLima beans, broccoli, and mushrooms are among Americans’ most hated foods according to a recent survey.  I’m right there with them.  But I have found that mushrooms and broccoli are not so bad when smothered in garlic sauce or maybe topped with crabmeat. 

What does any of this have to do with social media? Many people think of social media as something they know they should do, like eating broccoli or Brussels sprouts, but it’s still difficult to swallow.  Perhaps you started a profile and joined a couple of groups at some point but you haven’t been active in months. Or years.  

Just like eating vegetables is a must to stay healthy, an online presence is a must for a healthy career, especially if you are considering changing jobs or want to expand your professional or client base.  “If you’re not on it [LinkedIn], you’re not in the game,” says Mark Lee, a tax director and author of blogs and professional journal articles about social media.

So here is my version of garlic sauce to tempt those of you who are leery of getting involved or have dropped out. 

On LinkedIn, you can find:

  • Quick industry information.  Unsure if you’re going in the right direction and want to hear what others are doing? Ask your group. A member of the AICPA’s Women in the Profession LinkedIn group mentioned that her firm wants to ensure their compensation policy is competitive and asked for input and received four responses with both numbers and insights.  
  • A chance to demonstrate what you know and help others.  How did you handle a tricky staffing issue?  Did you buy a software package that you love and want the world to know? Share it! Your LinkedIn peers will be a lot more interested in this information than your spouse or your friends and they will appreciate it, like this member of the AICPA Tax Practitioners LinkedIn group:  “I am glad to see this discussion. My firm has been paying for (name brand service) for about 18 months but we've never fully implemented it because it is so clunky... I am going to research the Sharefile as an alternative.”
  • Moral support for professional woes.  Bad software? Confusing regulations? High maintenance client? Your peers will relate.  And if you are a tax person, don’t miss the Practitioners’ post-season wrap up – Hollywood couldn’t produce better stuff.  
  • People who know what they’re doing who provide free help. As manager of the Tax Practitioners LinkedIn group, I am consistently amazed at the detailed answers some members give, even during tax season, with complete citations, links, etc.  This is the sauce AND the dessert!

And some extra sauce to make that medicine go down? Creating a strong profile on LinkedIn takes some time, but it’s easy - no struggling with resume formatting issues (does “I can’t get this to fit on the page” sound familiar?) Plus, you get a place to direct people to when they ask for your online profile. And they will ask.   

Resources 

The AICPA has made it easier for you to get started – check out the following resources: Brocolli cheese fondue

  • An Intro to LinkedIn – this Journal of Accountancy article breaks down what it’s about and how to use various tools
  • LinkedIn User Guide – a helpful overview of the tools and benefits that LinkedIn offers and tips for creating a professional LinkedIn profile
  • Using Social Media – this presentation by Tax Member Services Director Jina Etienne, a former tax practitioner, is great for beginners, as it gives the pros and cons of each social media outlet to help them figure out what works best for them
  • Social Media Matters – developed by the Private Companies Practice Section, this short guide describes key social media tools in detail for both the novice and intermediate user detail for both the novice and intermediate user

Ann Marie Maloney, AICPA Staff

Vegetarian person image via Shutterstock

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