Yet, I still get asked all the time:
- Do I really need a profile on LinkedIn?
- Are hiring managers really using it to recruit candidates in my industry?
- Can’t I just copy and paste my resume into my profile? What’s the difference?
- I don’t do much with social media – does it make sense for me?
Over 95% of hiring managers in the US are utilizing LinkedIn in some format for recruiting, qualifying, and hiring purposes. There is a lot of hiring activity going on, and while some industries are more prevalent in the LinkedIn space than others, I strongly believe that everyone can benefit in some way from having a LinkedIn profile.
Here are 6 reasons why you should be on LinkedIn, and if you already are, why you should continuously update and optimize your profile:
LinkedIn is the No. 1 Place Employers to Go Validate You
It’s a very common practice for hiring managers to look at a resume and do a quick LinkedIn cross-reference on the candidate to check out their profile. This happens for two reasons:
- To see whether you’re on LinkedIn, which may be a question of your relevance depending upon how much your industry is involved with social/digital media and branding
- The second is to identify any discrepancies between what you’ve communicated in your resume, and what you’re telling the the rest of the Internet.
If you aren’t on LinkedIn, and the employer can’t validate you as a contemporary professional, or if they see an issue when comparing your profile to a resume, your candidacy is over.
LinkedIn is First Place Hiring Managers Search for a Candidate
Have you ever tried Googling “Graphic Designer” or some similarly broad job title? It’s no effective way to recruit; impossible even.
LinkedIn is designed specifically for this purpose, to allow hiring managers to closely source the candidates they’re interested in based on core criteria such as industry designation, years of experience, location, and even prior job titles and employers. It’s the go-to resource for recruiters and hiring managers when actively filling key positions. Put yourself out there, and you significantly increase your chances of being found.
LinkedIn Creates a Foundation for Your Online Personal Brand
If you’ve ever done a Google search on your name, your LinkedIn profile is likely one of the top search results, alongside equally influential platforms like Facebook, Google+, or Twitter. By having a quality profile, you’re controlling the information that’s out there about you, and ensuring that quality information makes it to the top of the search results.
My name is all over the internet in terms of recruiting and career advising, but my LinkedIn profile always pops up within the top 3 search results for my name, right under my Twitter profile and my website – all important components of my personal and business brand.
LinkedIn Has Its Own Hidden Job Market
Even with a profile, the majority of folks are unfamiliar with the many functionalities LinkedIn offers outside of direct connecting to your peers. For instance, it hosts an exclusive job board that employers pay top dollar to advertise on that is only accessible by active LinkedIn members. So you can be sure that these postings are up-to-date and actively managed. Bonus: LinkedIn job postings also have a designated person as the contact for submitting your application – something that’s virtually nonexistent when applying to (potentially outdated) postings on other websites and job boards.
LinkedIn Groups are a Goldmine
Want to know the best possible place to network online? LinkedIn Groups.
You can search and join groups based around a particular professional, industry, or personal interest, such as “Digital Marketers in New York”, or “Freelance Writers”. Each group has its own daily and weekly digest which includes job postings submitted by group members. While these listings aren’t paid, they’re likely more relevant because they’re posted by other people connected to the group’s purpose. Joining groups with a targeted focus is also a great way to network with industry peers and stay abreast of what’s going on in your industry.
LinkedIn Boosts Your Credibility
Numerous clients have revealed that a key reason they chose to work with me was because I have a well-rounded online presence. Whether searching for me by name, or doing a loose search on my industry, what they see online is a well-developed brand that has helped me establish subject matter expertise.
Think about what a thoughtful profile can convey to a hiring manager about your skills sets, work ethic, professional presentation, and ability to effectively brand yourself. LinkedIn is the start of that process, and is instant credibility to employers, colleagues, references, previous managers and mentors.
If you’re not on LinkedIn, make it your priority to setup a profile and start thinking about what you want your personal brand to represent and communicate about you.
If you already have a profile, pay attention to your “completeness score” (are you missing a photo?), the quality of your content, how that content compares to your resume.
And remember: LinkedIn is likely your digital first impression; the high-level overview of who you are and what you can bring to the table that will recruiters will see first. Give them a compelling introduction – and it might just lead to a compelling offer!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Brooklyn Resume Studio!
About the Author: Dana Leavy founded Aspyre Solutions, focusing on small business development and career consulting. Her mission is to support creative and socially-conscious small businesses, through career transition coaching and business consulting for creative professionals and entrepreneurs.
Dana has helped hundreds of professionals in advertising, marketing, design and other industries execute effective career plans to find and DO the work they are passionate about. She has presented seminars on navigating careers, transition and work-life balance to several colleges and universities, and her advice has been featured on MSN Careers, Fox Business News, NewsDay, CareerBuilder.com, GlassDoor and About.com. Follow Dana on Twitter!