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Why You Should Use LinkedIn - Like Your Career Depends On It

Posted by Alan J. McMillan on Wed, Feb 26, 2014 @ 08:40 AM

I am excited to publish a guest post today from Joshua Waldman, author of Job Searching with Social Media for Dummies.  He is also the founder of Career Enlightenment; a site with a treasure trove of great information that can help you leverage social media to fortify your job search.

I strongly recommend his Dummies book as well as his new book: The Social Media Job Search Workbook. 

Every time I talk to Joshua or read his blog, I learn a lot.

This is part one and there are links at the end to parts two and three on his website. 


 

Why You Should Use LinkedIn – Like Your Career Depends On It

By Joshua Waldman:

If you’re searching for work and have noticed things are different nowadays, well, you’re not alone.

Today, 12 million unemployed Americans struggle to face this new job searching reality. Monster.com’s recent fall from the S&P 500 marks the shift away from the post-and-pray approach of job applications, towards a much more focused, relationship-based approach.

In the past, you might mark your progress by declaring, “Hey, I’ve applied to 20 jobs this week for the fourth straight week in a row. I’m doing everything I can.”

Today, what matters is how good you look online and how many new contacts you’ve made on LinkedIn, not how many job applications you’ve sent out.

Jobvite’s most recent (2013) State of Recruiting study found over 94% of companies use social media to recruit, and LinkedIn is their top tool.

In fact, 73% of companies plan to increase their investment in social media recruiting, where only 39% will expand their job postings on job boards.

These aren’t new stats.

I’ve been tracking LinkedIn’s adoption since 2009 when I first started my blog CareerEnlightenment.com.

Three years ago only about 46% of recruiters had actually hired through LinkedIn. Today, 70% of recruiters have hired over the same network.

Yet for many job seekers, LinkedIn remains background noise, something to deal with every couple of weeks or so, if at all.

They approach LinkedIn like its homework, and it’s a HUGE mistake.

Those savvy enough to really put some polish on those profiles and focus on building a network can expect recruiters to e-mail them on a weekly basis.

How do I know this?

It happened to me when I was looking for work.

During my time at Cisco, I received calls from competitors almost weekly. Then, after getting laid off for the second time in 2009, I continued to rely on LinkedIn to land job interviews.

Below is what I learned.

Know Your Message

Unlike the old strategy of blasting out resumes and applications by the dozens, today, you have to really think about the message you are communicating to your target audience online.

For example, when you first fill out your LinkedIn profile, your headline automatically populates with your most recent job title.

Let’s say that’s “Quality Control Engineer.” Guess how many other quality control engineers will show up on a keyword search? A ton!

But if your message is “I take the quality of our products seriously, and have fun doing it | Quality Control Engineer” now you’re different from all the others.

What is your core message and how will your target audience respond to it? Know this before you fill out your profile.

In my free six-day email course, The Missing Manual to LinkedIn Success, I show you how to really identify your core audience and how to position your message to get their attention.

LinkedIn is NOT Your Online Resume

In many ways, how you show up online is more important than your resume. They say 80% of the sale happens when you’re not even there.

But guess what?

Your profile is not your online resume. It’s a digital extension of YOU, your personality. It is, to use the phrase, your “avatar.”

(I’ll bet your resume doesn’t even come close to that!)

Here are several reasons why copying your resume online won’t work:

  • The context is different. Your resume is read as you apply for a job. Your LinkedIn profile is often read before you’re invited to apply for a job (upstream).
  • The medium is different. Your resume might read well on paper, but will look horrible on a computer screen, spacing, line breaks, in-personal tone, etc.
  • You need social proof: Each Experience section is a chance to demonstrate other’s trust you with recommendations. The number of connections you have shows you’re engaged. Just having a profile isn’t enough, you have to use it to network.
  • Real-time updates: On LinkedIn, you can post status updates about your current life situation giving you a well rounded online personality. The static nature of a resume simply reinforces it’s already two dimensional medium

New to LinkedIn?

Don’t worry, watch these 10 video lessons called, Getting Started With LinkedIn (In Just 10 minutes) on my blog. (They’re *free* by the way. )

Has any of this information changed how you might approach your own LinkedIn presence?

This is the first post in a three-part series about LinkedIn.

Part 1: Why You Should Use LinkedIn — Like Your Career Depends on It

Part 2: Who LinkedIn is for, and Who it isn’t For

Part 3: 4-Part Strategy: How to Use LinkedIn to Get the Job You Want

Topics: Job Search, Job Preparation, Alan McMillan, LinkedIn, Personal Brand, Personal Networking, Professional Network, Multiple job offers, Branding