In the LinkedIn Group I run, I asked members to share their LinkedIn success stories. Instead, many job seekers made comments that were fairly negative.
I was surprised… until I looked at the profiles of the members who were more than a bit unhappy with how little LinkedIn was helping with their job search.
When you talk with employers and recruiters, they usually tell you they love LinkedIn. Using LinkedIn, they find good candidates, get to know them, and approach them with job opportunities when the right opportunity develops. To a recruiter, this is far preferable to posting a job and being inundated with applications from hundreds of unqualified applicants.
So, why don’t job seekers share this enthusiasm for LinkedIn? I see two 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 That vision of a resume is out-of-date, and unfortunately, that experience and that mindset doesn’t work effectively for LinkedIn, the main “talent market” in use today.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 ten 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. 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 this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Work Coach Cafe!
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+.