Why won't *you* log onto my LinkedIn profile for me?

I work a lot on LinkedIn Profile Optimization for my legal resume clients, including writing their LinkedIn summaries and language for other fields. I give it to them in a Word document with instructions on how to "cut and paste" from that document into their LinkedIn profiles. And a copy of LinkedIn® For Lawyers And Law Students: Profiles, Job Search, Networking, Ethics, And Etiquette. And we have coaching on how to use LinkedIn. We can even use screen-sharing to walk clients through it. What I don't do is log into their LinkedIn accounts and enter that information for them.

Yes, I know that would be a lot easier from the client's perspective, even though I provide detailed instructions that can cut the time down to 30 minutes or so, so it's really not a huge commitment. But having a resume writer or LinkedIn profile writer like me log into your account causes problems. For example, it raises privacy and account security concerns. Here's the kicker though  LinkedIn can shut down your account... and mine.

Here are some excerpts taken from LinkedIn's current User Agreement (as of June 2015)

3.4. Limits

LinkedIn reserves the right to limit your use of the Services, including the number of your connections and your ability to contact other Members. LinkedIn reserves the right to restrict, suspend, or terminate your account if LinkedIn believes that you may be in breach of this Agreement or law or are misusing the Services (e.g. violating any Do and Don’ts).

8.2. Don’ts. You agree that you will not:

  • Create a Member profile for anyone other than yourself (a real person);

  • Use or attempt to use another’s account;

"Sure," you may be thinking, "most companies have User Agreements, but they don't actually enforce them!" Well, it seems these particular provisions are ones that LinkedIn does enforce. Every now and again, resume writers and career coaches discuss part of LinkedIn's policies on industry e-lists, and the great debate about whether or not to access client profiles continues even in the face of comments like this, from a very well-respected resume writer I personally know and have spoken to about this issue:

While many careers professionals won't log into client profiles, there are some who do. Some do it because they aren't aware of the risks. Some do it because they don't think it can happen to them. Some do it because they've simply made a business decision that they're willing to take the risk. And some do it because they have a few techno tricks up their sleeves which they hope will allow them to circumvent LinkedIn's User Agreement indefinitely.

If after understanding the risks you still want go forward with having a writer enter your data, then I can help you find one. But it won't be me.

In case the stick isn't enough reason to enter your own data into LinkedIn rather than hire someone to do it for you, let me offer two big carrots that show why spending 30 to 60 minutes getting to know LinkedIn and entering your own information is a good investment:

  1. You'll get a lot more benefit from the power of LinkedIn if you understand how the platform works and are comfortable moving around in it.

  2. You'll be able to make your own edits and changes going forward, rather than having to pay someone again to make those changes for you.

So grab a cup of coffee, turn on some music, and input your own information LinkedIn! You can do it in less than an hour.