Lots of people are not on LinkedIn and when I ask them about it, they “pooh-pooh” me. Be that as it may, LinkedIn has more than 300 million members and two-thirds of them live outside the United States. Although the federal government is not a heavy user of LinkedIn recruitment tools (which is ultimately where LinkedIn makes its money), the Department of the Army has the third largest number of employees of any organization on LinkedIn, after IBM and Hewlett-Packard, according to an August 2014 (more than a year ago!!) report. (see http://www.businessinsider.com/linkedins-plan-for-the-future-2014-8).

Even if your agency is not using LinkedIn for filling positions (which they probably are not), it is still a valuable tool; a way for you to learn what your former colleagues and friends are doing, keep up with trends and learn about different organizations by “following” them, and establish a positive online presence and increase your professional credibility by using some of LinkedIn’s features such as publishing. If you have an interview scheduled, LinkedIn can be a great way to familiarize yourself with panel members. And, of course, if you are meeting with individuals from another agency, or even talking to them over the phone, a quick look at LinkedIn allows you to put a face with a name (assuming they have a picture posted), learn a little more about who you are working with, and ease those sometimes awkward transactions. Finally, even if you are not looking up your colleagues, they may well be looking for you.

So, if you are one of those people who does not “do” social media, you may want to rethink your approach. Look at the site. See who you know who is on it and how they are using it. You do not want to be left behind.

Nancy Segal is a federal human resources training and job search expert. Following her own 30-year federal HR career (much of it at the senior level), she founded Solutions for the Workplace LLC in 2003 to provide an HR management perspective to both federal managers and astute applicants to U.S. government positions. Nancy has unmatched federal career management insight, high standards, and respect for people’s time, and her clients use this to their advantage.