LinkedIn is one of the newest ways to find a job, but do you question what the point of it is? Does anyone find a job through it or is it just a waste of time? Well, if you don’t use LinkedIn properly it certainly is a waste of your time and efforts – and opportunities. So is LinkedIn worthwhile for job searching? Yes, but you have to use it well. Otherwise you could be missing out.
Numbers dispute LinkedIn is a waste of time
If you want to make career connections online, LinkedIn is the site to go to. More than 238 million people worldwide, and four million in Australian,* use the professional networking site. These connections can provide access to potential employment opportunities, particularly within the ‘hidden’ job market.
As part of your job seeking strategy, you can use it to find job posts, research job titles and companies, identify people for fact-finding interviews and so on. Used properly, a LinkedIn profile is a marketing tool that can sell your personal brand, letting people who may want to work with you, hire you or network know what you can do and how you can help.
Many recruiters and employers search for potential candidates through LinkedIn, using keywords to bring up people’s profiles matching what they are looking for.
Although a resume is still a critical part of a job search, sometimes a recruiter will find you on LinkedIn first of all and only read your resume if they like what they see online. If a recruiter can’t find your profile (or just a partly completed profile), what message are you giving them about your desire to secure a new position and your technology abilities?
Common mistakes with LinkedIn
If you are looking for a new job, it is worthwhile using LinkedIn; but only if you use it effectively. Here are three common mistakes to avoid.
Uploading your resume as your profile
Don’t just upload a picture, copy and paste your resume and then sit back, waiting for a flood of calls from recruiters.
A LinkedIn profile is much more than an online resume or modern day equivalent of a business card. Rather than making it an identikit resume, you can:
- Select compelling highlights to share from each job you’ve had.
- Regularly update it with status updates, recommendations and interactions with others.
- Upload interesting content such as presentations, videos and publications.
Using it as a professional version of Facebook
Be focussed about what you are using LinkedIn for. Don’t try to use it for multiple purposes, such as catching up with friends AND job search.
Potential employers aren’t interested in what you do in your spare time. As with all effective marketing, you need to focus on the benefits for the ‘customer’; talk about your experience and the results you’ve already delivered.
Forgetting all about it
The value of LinkedIn, and what you get out of it, is proportional to what you put into it.
There’s not much point to it if, after you create an account, you add a couple of connections then never come back. This data doesn’t have much value for third parties.
Use it effectively and be proactive, preferably before you start your job search. Actively access the site, keep your professional information up to date, share links, participate in discussions and make network connections.
Position yourself as a thought leader in your industry, an expert that provides real value. This will increase your online visibility, grow your network and build your professional brand.
And then hopefully LinkedIn will help your job search to have a happy ending.
If you’d like more information on using LinkedIn for job searching, for example how to write an eye-catching profile, talk with one of our career coaches. You can get in touch via our online contact form or call us.
* as of June 2013