In the LinkedIn Group I run, I asked members to share any LinkedIn success stories they had, and many job seekers made comments that were fairly negative. I was surprised and not surprised at the same time, particularly when I looked at the Profiles of the members who were very negative.
If you look at LinkedIn’s annual report, it shows that the greatest source of revenue for LinkedIn (54% in Q 1 of 2012) is from “LinkedIn Hiring Solutions.” When you talk with employers and recruiters, they usually tell you that they love LinkedIn. Using LinkedIn, they can find good candidates, get to know them a bit, and approach them with job opportunities when the right opportunity develops rather than posting a job and being inundated with applications from unqualified applicants.
So, why aren’t job seekers happier with LinkedIn? I see 2 basic misunderstandings.
1. A LinkedIn Profile is not a resume.
We have many decades of experience using resumes for job search, and, in the past, a resume has been largely a sales brochure summarizing the “features and benefits” of the job seeker, a list of the job seekers skills, experience, and education. That vision of a resume is out-of-date, and unfortunately, that experience and that mindset doesn’t work effectively for LinkedIn, the main “talent market” in use today.
What is good marketing on LinkedIn?
- A nice photo, preferably a headshot with a plain background – no other things or people visible in the photo. A LinkedIn Profile without a photo looks somewhat suspect (people wonder – what is this person hiding? Is this profile real?).
- A keyword-rich Professional Headline that describes the job seeker as “Senior Administrative Assistant experienced in running multiple-location real estate offices in greater Los Angeles” rather than ”Unemployed” or “Administrative Assistant.”
- A Summary which describes the person and what they do in keyword-rich conversational paragraphs rather than a bulleted list of responsible-for items regurgitated from the resume.
- A list of your Skills – great sources of keywords!
- Applications – pull in your blog RSS feed, add your portfolio via Box.net, and link to your public presentations via SlideShare. Plus more…
2. LinkedIn requires active participation to be most effective.
It is definitely NOT a set-it-and-forget-it venue. It is a “social network” which requires daily attention and participation to be most effective. Posting a minimal Profile and walking away waiting for the offers to roll in doesn’t work with LinkedIn (does it work anywhere these days?). LinkedIn offers many opportunities for job seekers to demonstrate their skills and knowledge:
- Connections – the more connections a member has, the greater their visibility into the whole LinkedIn community. And vice versa. Try to add two or more new connections every week.
- Groups – Groups are developed for locations, professions, industries, hobbies, employers, and countless other ideas and things that people share. These Groups are excellent places to “meet” – and communicate privately – with other members, to demonstrate knowledge, and to interact with other members. LinkedIn members may join up to 50 Groups, and it’s easy for most people to find at least 20 which are interesting. Try to participate in a Group at least once a week, and, in an active job search, spend more time in more Groups, particularly Groups associated with your job search goals (location, industry, profession).
- Status Updates – post something intelligent and relevant at least once a week. It will be seen by all of your connections.
Don’t underestimate LinkedIn, and don’t blow it off. If your profession or industry doesn’t seem to be using it now, participate anyway to lay the groundwork for your future career, where ever and whatever it may be.
For more information, check out these sources provided by LinkedIn:
- New User Starter Guide - if you are new to LinkedIn, or relatively inactive, start here. LinkedIn changes all the time.
- Free LinkedIn Webinars for Job Seekers - done very well by Lindsey Pollack, live and available for playback.
- LinkedIn for Job Seekers - information specifically for job seekers.
- LinkedIn Learning Center – connection to all of the LinkedIn tutorials.
© Copyright, 2012, Susan P. Joyce. All rights reserved.
About the author…
Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. In 2011, NETability purchased WorkCoachCafe.com, which Susan has been editor and publisher of WorkCoach since then. Susan also edits and publishes Job-Hunt.org. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Google+.