LinkedIn has been in business since 2003 and is widely considered the benchmark for professional networking social media platforms. There are more than 700 million users on the platform from countries around the world, and each week 40 million people use LinkedIn to search for a job.
Employers will review your LinkedIn Profile before or during your interview process. If you do not have a LinkedIn Profile or if your LinkedIn Profile is not a mini-sales presentation, it would sabotage your chances of being hired.
When you use it correctly, LinkedIn can perform near miracles for your career’s development. Recruiters and employers both use LinkedIn to source candidates for employment.
Do you need to have a LinkedIn Profile? The short answer is yes. Even if you choose not to spend a lot of time on LinkedIn, or any time at all, it’s still worth taking time to set it up. Post a reminder on your calendar to check your LinkedIn Profile every six months or so, and update with any new, or big accomplishments. You never know when a potential employer or recruiter is going to view your Profile so it must be updated.
Recruiters and hiring managers use LinkedIn to search for candidates. So, if you don’t have a presence on the site, you won’t come up during searches. Having a LinkedIn account also means that you can use the site to research companies, interviewers, recruiters, and hiring managers, which is helpful before submitting applications and showing up to interviews.
In short, having a profile is a good idea. Even if you are not actively searching for employment, you can use LinkedIn to connect with current and former colleagues and link to people you meet at networking events, conferences, and so on.
To engage even more with the site, join LinkedIn Groups. These communities exist for all sorts of categories — geographic locations, alumni groups, industry-focused groups, etc. Often members of these groups are well-networked and could recommend you for an opportunity at their company, in the future.
THE BENEFITS OF CREATING A LINKEDIN ACCOUNT
- It’s free. There is a paid option that offers additional benefits, but the basic free version offers plenty of features. One caveat: While it’s financially free to create and maintain an account, these tasks do take up your time (a different cost).
- Important people use LinkedIn. Recruiters and hiring managers will often look up a candidate on LinkedIn after receiving a job application, resume, or CV.
- It’s another way to see job postings. You can search for job posts on the site. Plus, often people post job opportunities that may be more under the radar.
- It may be part of the application process. More and more companies have moved to standardized online applications, and it is more common than ever to see a LinkedIn section near the resume upload tool, where you can upload your LinkedIn Profile right next to your CV. If it is well crafted, this is a huge advantage since potential hiring managers will not only be viewing your resume but your LinkedIn profile as well.
- It’s an easy, modern way to maintain a rolodex of connections that may be helpful in your career. That person you met at a conference five years ago may very well wind up working at your dream company, or that colleague from your very first job may know a hiring manager you’re eager to contact. With just a quick message you can reconnect and pursue a new lead.
- It’s a good way to research companies. During the application and interview process, researching companies is an important step. LinkedIn can help you do that. Plus, you can also look up people you’ll be interviewing with on the platform, which can help you prep for your conversation.
- It can help build up your brand. People can provide endorsements and recommendations, which helps give recruiters and anyone else looking at your Profile a sense of your experience and talents. In general, you can think of your LinkedIn Profile as a good way to develop and build your brand. Often, a person’s LinkedIn Profile page is one of the top results if someone searches a person’s name online.
WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT TO EMPLOYERS WHEN THEY REVIEW YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE
Your Profile is also how you are found on LinkedIn because it contains information about your skills and experience, which helps to match recruiters’ employer search parameters.
LinkedIn won’t work for you if you don’t identify yourself. Setting up a LinkedIn Profile with “Private Profile” or “Human Resources Manager” (if you’re seeking applicants) instead of your name and asking someone to connect isn’t going to be effective.
If confidentiality is a concern, don’t worry. LinkedIn is one of the most private social networks. Connect only with people you know well. Be strategic if you’re job searching while employed, and don’t announce it to your connections. There are ways you can job search confidentially without jeopardizing your current position.
Your Profile should not just restate your resume or CV. Highlight the following:
- Accomplishments and the impact they had on your past employers
- Awards, recognition, and promotions
- Recommendations for most desirable skills and traits
- Relevant connections
- Insight into your core values
- Philanthropic causes you support
Your LinkedIn Profile can unofficially be your “first interview” without your knowledge. Once reviewed, it should entice the person to reach out to you for additional information. This could help you consistently advance in your career.
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