We have all seen them. LinkedIn profiles with no profile picture, a one-line summary and an activity stream that is so dormant the last post happened during the Obama administration. LinkedIn is the perfect jobseeker platform, but if you don’t put in some effort your personal brand will hurt more than help your job prospects.
Did you know that the vast majority of employers are actively searching for candidates on LinkedIn as a standard part of the hiring process?
Did you know that no matter how solid your resume may be, or how great your experience, a poorly developed profile or an ill-considered post can derail your chances?
Consider the following:
- Nearly two in five companies (37 percent) use social networking sites to research job candidates, according to a survey from CareerBuilder. – CareerBuilder April 2012
- According to a 2013 study by The Lucas Group, nearly 50% of employers admit to checking the social media sites of potential hires.
- Fast forward to 2018 and according to a white paper by Robert Walters 65% of hiring managers say they have viewed a job seeker’s LinkedIn profile and activity feed.
You read that right. In a little over 5 years, the use of social media in the hiring process grew from 37% to 65%. This is not a fad that will go away; this is the new normal. So, how do you leverage LinkedIn to your benefit? It is easier than you might imagine; it just takes a little planning and some intentional interaction.
Step One: Be Active
You won’t see the full benefit of LinkedIn as a networking tool until you have enough connections. Generally, you want to shoot for the 500+ category. So how do you get there? By liking and commenting on others’ content. In other words, be active. The best way to start is by targeting a few companies that you’d like to work for. Follow the company page and maybe the CEO or other higher ups. Spend a couple weeks liking and commenting on their posts. Then do a deeper dive into the companies and find hiring managers, department heads, and others that may be gatekeepers. Again, follow, like, and comment.
Step Two: Smile!
The first thing anyone sees is your picture. The first goal is to make sure it is a good representation of you and not the digital age version of a mug shot. Don’t use a clip art icon, an abstract picture or a group picture. Have a clean, professional looking headshot from a decent digital camera. Once you have your picture be sure to use the same one across all your social media platforms if you are actively job searching. Don’t confuse potential employers. Give them the sense that they are meeting the same person on Twitter that they saw on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Step Three: Headlines Sell Papers
…and they can sell you too! LinkedIn allows for a decent amount of headline text. Use it to your advantage by creating a professional headline for yourself. Something as simple as your desired job title/profession can work well. Keep it short and to the point, and make sure everyone knows exactly what they have found when they see your profile. And again, if you are actively searching, be sure to use the same headline across all platforms. Consistency is key.
Step Four: Content is King
This is a favorite line of web content providers. The idea being that no matter how flashy your site may be, at the end of the day it is the content on the page that keeps people coming back. The same is true for your social media accounts. Follow people in your field. Share articles and posts that relate to your profession. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Employers are not looking for robots, they want to hire people. It is important to show that you are active in, and passionate about, your field. Let your personality shine through but keep it fairly professional.
Do not let the new normal of social media intimidate you. While it is a little more work for the jobseeker, it is also a bigger opportunity.