LinkedIn, more than any other social media tool, can be an effective tool in your job search. As a matter of fact, NOT having a current LinkedIn profile can significantly limit your opportunities in most markets.
Most business professionals utilize LinkedIn on a regular basis. It is a ready reference tool that can be used to validate or determine a person’s position at a firm, find out more about a company and its products, or to search for individuals in specific roles, markets, companies, or geographic areas. As you can imagine, it is highly used by Recruiters!
In the past Recruiters needed to rely on directories or cold-calling to identify potential candidates. Now all it takes is a few minutes on LinkedIn. So, you need to be on LinkedIn, or you are going to be overlooked. Even if a Recruiter already has your name, she will most likely look you up on LinkedIn to verify your company and position and to get a quick overview of your experiences, your education, and where you’ve worked. If you are not found on LinkedIn, the Recruiter is likely to move on to the next candidate.
And, please have a PROFESSIONAL photograph on your profile! It doesn’t have to be studio quality, but be dressed appropriately for the types of jobs you are targeting. A funny photo from the family barbecue is not what you want to use here; this isn’t Facebook!
Spend the time to keep your profile current. Your profile does not need to be super-detailed and lengthy, but your current position should be included, your education should be noted (you don’t have to include the dates for your degree), and there should be enough content (including key words) for a targeted search to find you.
When someone does a “people” search in Linked, the results are returned based on the matching individuals’ positions in the searcher’s network. In other words, first and second level matches are returned before third level connections or people not “connected” at all. Other factors determining the order of results include group membership, geography and the activity level of the individuals.
Most Recruiters have several hundred, but probably over a thousand, first-level connections. A Recruiter with 1,500 first-level connections may get ½ million matching results when doing a search for a software product manager with CRM experience (or another similar search with 3-4 key words), without narrowing the search by geography or company. Obviously, only a small percentage of these results are going to be explored, so you would want to be in the first few pages of that search to hope to be considered.
How do you do that? Well, there are a few things that make a world of difference:
- make sure your profile has the appropriate key words in your title and in the description of the positions you’ve held
- continually grow your contacts
- join a few appropriate groups based on your position and industry, and
- be active
A higher activity level on your part will boost your visibility within LinkedIn. You can check your activity level by clicking on Profile -> Who’s Viewed Your Profile when logged into LinkedIn (I’ll share more on how to use this information for networking in another post).
You can increase your activity level fairly easily. Add a few new connections every week, “like” or “share” articles or postings by others that relate to topics in your area of specialization, and (if you are brave) make an occasional comment in a group to which you belong, but don’t be inflammatory or rude!
We live in a world that is getting smaller every day. It is estimated that by the end of 2014 there were over 7 billion cell phones in the world. Especially in the more developed countries, everyone is online.
So, the principal behind Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon holds true; we are all only a few connections away from each other. If you are active and have at least a few hundred connections on LinkedIn, you are most likely at least a second or third level connection to most people that matter in your industry.
Get active to leverage those connections!