3 Bad Assumptions About LinkedIn

WorkCoachCafeMany people, unfortunately including job seekers, are puzzled about why LinkedIn is so highly recommended. These people are skeptical. They think LinkedIn’s good reputation is all hype.

Perhaps they have posted their resumes on LinkedIn with no results. The reason: LinkedIn is much more than simply an online resume. LinkedIn is one of the “social networks” and being “social” is necessary.

3 Most Common Bad Assumptions about LinkedIn

Unfortunately, many people avoid LinkedIn. These are the reasons I hear most often:

1. LinkedIn is only for job search.

The basis of this assumption is that as long as you have a “permanent” job (seriously?), and your job doesn’t require you to have any interactions or any visibility with anyone else, you don’t need a LinkedIn Profile. That kind of thinking belongs to people who wait until the ship has sunk before they look for their life jackets and start to inflate the life rafts.

You have an online reputation. LinkedIn helps you manage it.

Unless your job is being a spy or someone who must be invisible, LinkedIn is the foundation of your online reputation management — a key element for anyone who works today, whether that work is hedge fund manager or administrative assistant.

According to recent studies, the vast majority of us, especially recruiters and hiring managers, Google job applicants and people we are considering hiring or working with. Typically, Google shows LinkedIn among the top entries on the first page of search results.

So, when searchers find your LinkedIn Profile on Google, show them who you are, where you work (if employed), and why they should work with you. Have  a robust Profile that describes what you do, documents your accomplishments, and brags about your employers (including the one you were very glad to leave). And, make yourself visible in the appropriate LinkedIn Groups.

[MORE: Online Reputation Management and  Secret Way to Boost Your Value: Brag About Your Employers.]

2. LinkedIn doesn’t work for job search.

People making this assumption are usually forgetting that LinkedIn is a social network. Simply creating a LinkedIn Profile, particularly a skimpy one, doesn’t guarantee that job offers will magically appear. If you think that LinkedIn is just another online resume, like job boards of old, you aren’t paying attention to what is happening now.

LinkedIn is where the recruiters are, but you must be find-able.

According to recent studies, LinkedIn is used by over 90% of recruiters to find qualified job candidates. They use LinkedIn as a search engine to identify the candidates who meet the requirements of the jobs they are trying to fill.

A solid presence on LinkedIn gives you the ability to present a portfolio of your achievements and accomplishments — what you can really do, when given an opportunity.

The biggest mistakes I see in LinkedIn Profiles:

  • No Profile photo — limited credibility, identity, and branding.
  • No accomplishments — limited keywords.
  • Generic Profile Headline — limited keywords.
  • Skimpy Profile — limited keywords.
  • Misspellings — limited keywords and bad branding.
  • Limited keywords.

You might have noticed how many times the word “keywords” appears in the list above. That’s because LinkedIn is searched relentlessly by recruiters looking for qualified job candidates. Without the right keywords for your target job, you won’t be found.

[MORE: To Be Hired, Be foundHow to Discover Exactly the Right Keywords for Your LinkedIn Profile (Job-Hunt.org), and The 25 Best Keywords for Your Job Search (Job-Hunt.org).]

3. A LinkedIn Profile is just a resume.

This assumption is usually made by people who spend 10 minutes a week (or a month) on LinkedIn. A skimpy LinkedIn Profile will not help your job search or career, but a solid LinkedIn Profile is much more than an online resume. It is a portfolio, presenting both an overview of what you have done (and can do) as well as proof of how well you do it.

LinkedIn is NOT a job board. Activity is required for visibility.

Yes, LinkedIn does have job postings, but it is most definitely not simply a job board.

When you are “active” on LinkedIn, which means more than just completing your Profile, you are demonstrating that:

  • You can successfully navigate the online world which is so essential for successful businesses, nonprofits, governments, and other people and entities.
  • You pay attention to what is important for professional visibility today.
  • You understand how to use and leverage LinkedIn.
  • You publicly claim, in front of your colleagues, friends, and family, the qualifications and accomplishments you put on your resumes and job applications.

I recommend that, if you are in a job search, you spend as much time working on your LinkedIn Profile and participating in LinkedIn Groups as you spend on all job boards, combined.

If you spend 30 minutes a day on Indeed and an additional 30 minutes on another job board or your favorite employer’s career site, spend at least 60 minutes a day on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn Is Essential for Both Your Job Search and Your Career

Since employers look for employees in LinkedIn, then that’s where smart job seekers focus their attention and polish their visibility. Today, staying visible and active on LinkedIn is smart career management, too. Maybe, tomorrow another site will be more important, but, currently, LinkedIn is unavoidable. (I wish I owned some of the stock!)

More About LinkedIn for Job Search

5 Essential Components of a Successful LinkedIn Profile

Why Isn’t LinkedIn Helping My Job Search?

5 Very Important Reasons to Have Your Photo on LinkedIn

3 LinkedIn Success Factors

Why Submitting Your Resume Isn’t Enough (and What to Do)

3 Bad Assumptions About Social Media for Job Search

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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. Since 2011, Susan has been editor and publisher of WorkCoachCafe.  A veteran of the United States Marine Corps, Susan also edits and publishes Job-Hunt.org, is a Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and a columnist on HuffingtonPostAOL Jobs, and LinkedIn.  Follow Susan on Twitter (@jobhuntorg) and on Google+.

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