Everyone knows LinkedIn is a great way to grow your personal network and meet influential people. But did you know employers use LinkedIn for another reason? To validate your resume and the information provided in your application? To make sure you are… who you say you are?
Why do many recruiters now consider this a “must-do” aspect of their hiring process?
The answer is simple: recruiters believe people are less likely to exaggerate in public – where their friends and LinkedIn connections that know better can see – than they are on a resume submitted privately in response to a job posting.
To make sure your application doesn’t get rejected at this critical step, here are the five things recruiters look for when they perform the resume-LinkedIn comparison test:
1. Validation of Basic Personal Information
Back when I worked at Harvard University, the Records Office spent significant time confirming or denying that an applicant, as they had indicated on a job application, had attended or graduated from Harvard. That the answer was “no” as often as it was “yes” tells you something about the average applicant’s willingness to blatantly lie on their resume.
Of course, this is not news; job seekers have been exaggerating facts their resumes since resumes were invented. Now, however, rather than contacting a university directly, employers check the LinkedIn Profile to validate education; at least enough to put a resume in the “possibles” stack rather than the “discards” pile, or vice versa.
2. Demonstration of Specific Knowledge and Expertise
In the past, it was easy for anyone to claim they are “experts” or “gurus” in a given field, but hard to prove (or to verify). Not any more.
In their LinkedIn Profiles, job seekers can link to their publications (books, ebooks, articles written, etc.), they can publish content on LinkedIn Publisher or pull in the feed from their blog. They can highlight their skills through endorsements. The LinkedIn Profile has become, in effect, an online portfolio.
And in LinkedIn Groups, job seekers can demonstrate their expertise through intelligent participation in group discussions. And, as you can imagine, recruiters monitor Groups both to verify passion points and determine a candidates perceived level of influence.
LinkedIn allows members to join up to 50 groups, and, at least while you are in job-search mode, that’s a very good idea. Join groups for your industry, profession, location, hobbies, and anything else that is relevant to you and your career. You never know which group a recruiter may be monitoring to find exceptional talent.
3. Independent Corroboration of Skills
LinkedIn Recommendations offer employers a form of “proof” that a skill or accomplishment proclaimed on the resume has been visible to someone willing to publish a recommendation for the world to see on LinkedIn. Those recommendations are connected to specific jobs listed in the profile, confirming the validity of that claim on the resume.
Endorsements on LinkedIn, while they don’t come with the same level of credibility, are another way to verify claims made on a resume. If you claim to be a “start-up specialist” for example, and few of your colleagues and connections recognize you as such in endorsements, a recruiter may think twice about your honesty.
4. Confirmation of Names, Dates, and Time Frames
A recruiter can easily compare dates on the resume can be compared with the dates on the LinkedIn profile to demonstrate agreement on timing. Did the job seeker work at company XYZ for 3 years or 5 years? And, was that 5 years ago or 10 years ago?
Even if the failure to show similar dates is an honest mistake or an oversight, the recruiter still has to question your attention to detail on what can only be considered an important document. And many will assume the quality of your work for them won’t be any better, meaning your application now goes into the “no, thanks” pile.
5. Affirmation of Savvy
A complete and active LinkedIn Profile affirms that the job seeker understands the importance of first impressions, how to operate within today’s largest online professional, and that are not afraid of online technology. Meanwhile, malcontents, trolls and “old fogies” don’t have LinkedIn Profiles; they simply don’t understand how important a LinkedIn Profile is for the success of their job search (which is really too bad!).
This, in today’s job market, is incredibly important. And when you recruiters go to LinkedIn and you aren’t there, or if your profile is missing a picture or isn’t complete, the conclusion they draw is clear: you are not a serious job seeker.
How does your resume compare to your LinkedIn profile? Will you pass the all-important comparison test, and be invited to the interview? Or not?
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at JobHunt.org.
About the Author: Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching 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. Susan also edits and publishes Job-Hunt.org. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Google+.
Image courtesy of comerecommended.com. Thank you!