You may have more time this holiday season than usual to work on career development. Consider spending some of this time enhancing your presence on LinkedIn if you are applying for jobs now or if you may be searching for work during the upcoming year.
There are at least 7 specific reasons to create a LinkedIn profile, or enhance your profile if you already have one:
- Recruiters may search LinkedIn instead of resume databases,
- You will be better prepared in case of layoff,
- Your real-world network will grow stronger,
- LinkedIn will supplement your real-world network,
- The site gives you an opportunity to be a subject matter expert,
- LinkedIn will help you be found when “Googled,” and
- There are millions of users on LinkedIn.
Remember that LinkedIn is not a panacea. It is an aid for networking. You should not treat it as a substitute for direct contact with people. It enhances networking during the Pandemic when many of us are not comfortable meeting people in person.
Recruiters may search LinkedIn instead of resume databases.
About a year ago, I spoke with a recruiter that searches LinkedIn to source job candidates instead of reviewing resumes. Recently, I watched another recruiter demonstrate on her YouTube channel how she uses a tool called LinkedIn Recruiter to search for job applicants. Last summer, I wrote about the PwC Workforce of the Future report that predicted companies would search the Web for talent using automated tools by 2030 instead of soliciting job applications.
The future is now. While I cannot say what percentage of recruiters search LinkedIn for job seekers instead of collecting resumes, it is clear some are doing that. The practice will expand if recruiters find they gain a competitive advantage through LinkedIn recruiting.
Experts have predicted the demise of traditional resumes for about 20 years. The resume offers a level of flexibility and confidentiality that LinkedIn does not offer, so use both tools for now.
You will be better prepared in case of layoff.
The days of the “lifetime job” are largely gone. Some inquiries I am receiving as a result of the Pandemic are from job seekers that were at their last job for 10 or 20 years. Now these job seekers are developing career marketing strategies from scratch because they were not prepared.
A good way to be prepared for a layoff is to create or enhance your LinkedIn profile now. You can design it to support your current role, and then edit it into a job seeker’s profile rather quickly. My profile, for example, supports my role as an independent resume writer and LinkedIn profile developer. This strategy will give you a head start on your job search if you go to work one morning and find out the job is no longer there.
You can strengthen your real-world network using LinkedIn.
My favorite aspect of social media is that it helps me keep in touch with friends and family that I would lose contact with otherwise. There is nothing more awkward than calling or emailing someone out of the blue when you need their help.
The strategy I suggest is to look for your friends, co-workers, former co-workers, and other acquaintances on LinkedIn and then connect with them. Use the “add a note” option with your connect request to remind them of your real-world connection—work, school, social, etc.—and offer a 15-minute “virtual coffee” call either on the telephone or via Zoom.
Don’t be discouraged if many people do not respond. You will fill your limited time with just a few calls. The important thing is that people you have not spoken with in some time will hear from you when you do not need any help. In fact, ask those you connect with what you can do to help them.
The strategy of offering help when connecting on social media has worked for me. Some time ago, I had a conversation with a former manager on Facebook Messenger and told her I was doing resumes for job seekers. She immediately arranged for me to assist family members that were struggling with their job searches. As a result, they found work.
Supplement your real-world network with new, online, connections.
Use a similar strategy to continue making new professional acquaintances. First, ask offline, i.e. real-world, friends and acquaintances you speak with who they suggest you talk with. Be specific about how you can help either through your current job or “side-hustle.” Again, only a few people may offer suggestions. This will probably be enough to start expanding your network.
LinkedIn and other social media sites will suggest people you can connect with. Review each person’s social media profiles carefully, and then reach out with a meaningful note offering them an opportunity to speak with you.
Normally, virtual contacts are considered less powerful than real-world connections. We may find that people are more open to conversations with others they have not met in person because the Pandemic makes in-person meetings unwise.
LinkedIn gives you an opportunity to be a subject matter expert.
The LinkedIn site offers us the opportunity to showcase our expertise in at least two ways. First, it includes a blog where any member can post articles. Also, LinkedIn has thousands of online groups you can join.
You will find the LinkedIn blog easy to use. Just go to your homepage and look for “write an article.” You’ll be able to copy-and-paste in or type in text, and add images as if it’s your own blog. More importantly, I’ve been told that LinkedIn’s search engines give more visibility to an article posted on their blog than they give to stories you post to your own blog and then link to via a post.
Another easy-to-use function of LinkedIn is its groups. Search for groups that interest you from the search bar on the site.
Experts say school alumni connections are the most powerful so start off by searching for your school alumni groups. Personally, I learned the power of alumni connections when the two people that interviewed me for my first full-time professional job were alumni of the graduate program I was attending. The next day I received a call with a tentative job offer.
You may also find groups for “alumni” of companies you have worked for and companies where you want to work. These are great places to share information and even find job postings.
Other valuable groups could be those that deal with your area of expertise. For example, I have had discussions on resume writers’ groups that have led to interviews for contract jobs. In other words, people in my industry that were hiring saw me as a subject matter expert they should speak with.
LinkedIn will help you be found when “Googled.”
Google and other search engines “index” LinkedIn pages like any other public Web site. Today’s reality is that networking contacts and hiring managers will probably Google your name while you are talking to them. You want to show up on the first search page, and then make a great impression when people click.
Companies pay thousands of dollars for Web sites and search engine optimization strategies resulting in first page Google placement. You can build a profile on LinkedIn and get first-page placement at no cost!
There are millions of members on LinkedIn.
Last, but not least, LinkedIn is valuable because there are more than 660 million users on the site according to a marketing blog. Nearly 166 million users are in the United States. About half of US adults with college degrees use LinkedIn. About 15 percent of its users are senior influencers. Also, about 30 million companies are listed on the platform.
Senior influencers with college degrees are the people you most want to reach during your job search marketing campaign, so this alone is a compelling reason to have a robust LinkedIn profile, and to be active on the site.
We are available to collaborate with you on building a strong LinkedIn profile for your job search, and then using the site effectively. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation appointment on our calendar.