Whether you want to participate or not, LinkedIn has become a "hiring tool" for recruiters and employers, and anyone looking for a job should know what that means.
Luis Perez, principal staffing manager & manager in the National Technology Contracts division at WinterWyman, says it can be the most effective way to network to your next job-or a problem that stops you from getting it.
Here are his tips for making your LinkedIn profile work for you:
A LinkedIn profile does not a resume make: The most common mistake by job seekers is using their personal LinkedIn profile as a resume. A LinkedIn profile is NOT a resume; it is somewhere between a resume and a Facebook profile. It needs to be professional, yet personalized; to allow recruiters and hiring managers to reach out and say, "This is what I like about your background" or "I noticed you belong to the IT Networking Group", pulling info from the Groups section of the profile which is professional.
Make it personal: Personalize your profile to reflect who you are and to allow recruiters and hiring managers to get to know you or make a connection, "By the way, I'm a Sox fan, too". Another example would be a recruiter who is a Red Sox fan seeing a potential job candidate with a Red Sox icon on their LinkedIn profile, that gives these two people a way to connect, and keeps that person's profile from being generic. Other examples, other interests could be joining groups / associations...technologists can be experienced in a lot of technologies but may only be PASSIONATE about a very few and can join those groups. This is a way to make that match with a recruiter.
This is your 'first impression" are you approachable? Recruiters are trying to determine if a potential job candidate will respond to them. The reality is that recruiters use LinkedIn to contact people they don't know, but that they feel are approachable, i.e., is the potential candidates' profile summary extremely formal, is it written in the 3rd person, or did that person effectively summarize what they like to do, describe their passions, make themselves approachable?
Everyone who has a LinkedIn profile should update it with the following qualifications:
- Quality of companies worked for
- Career progression: One of the really useful aspects of LinkedIn is the flexibility it gives each person to highlight their individual story whether it is a career change or a move from one project to another. The structure of LinkedIn gives each person the ability to make a decision on how you explain each part of your career.
- Keywords: Be sure to describe each of your positions with important industry-specific keywords; this is how recruiters search.
- Academic background: Make sure to list all degrees, industry affiliations and certifications.
- Be active: Have a large number of connections, but most importantly make them meaningful. Both quality and quantity are important. Once you are connected to people, recruiters and hiring managers are going to evaluate whom you are adding and that is part of how you can brand yourself.