In case you’re still procrastinating about creating (or completing) your LinkedIn profile:
According to a recent Forbes article, being in an open network (composed of people who don’t all know one another) instead of a closed network (composed of people who all know each other) is the single best predictor of career success. No wonder LinkedIn has 332 million users in 200 countries and territories (as of Nov. 2014).
Whether you are a candidate for a new job, or perfectly happy in your current job, LinkedIn matters. According to a recent blog post by Craig Smith, 94% of recruiters use LinkedIn to vet candidates. Recruiters also use LinkedIn to find passive candidates, candidates who are currently employed, to fill positions. In addition to recruiters and hiring managers, others who are considering doing business with you are sure to take a look at your LinkedIn profile. Lastly, as of January 2014, hiring managers recommended putting a link to your LinkedIn profile, instead of the passé references will be furnished upon request, on your resume.
Think of LinkedIn as your own web page. It’s where you get to display information about who you are and what you do as a professional so that you can grow your network. Why? Because most employment these days is “at will” meaning an employer can let you go at any time for any reason.* Also, depending on which study you look at, somewhere between 80 – 97% of jobs are landed via networking, not via job postings. Be prepared.
Some tips on how to create an attractive profile:
- · Make sure your profile is complete. An incomplete profile sends a message that you don’t care. Potential employers and valuable network connections will pass you up for others with a more powerful online presence.
- · Make sure you have a professional photo. According to Smith’s blog post, profiles with a photo are 11X more likely to be viewed as those without a photo. The best photos are taken by a professional photographer. They are head shots of smiling, well-dressed, warm and sincere-looking people with whom one would like to have a conversation.
- · Make sure your profile summary is succinct. Potential employers and connections will probably only look at your profile for a few seconds before deciding to read more or move on. Craft your summary for maximum impact.
- · Make sure you have some recommendations. Endorsements and recommendations are not the same thing. Anyone can give you an endorsement with one click. Recommendations are written by your connections in order to endorse your work. They should be brief and mention specific results.
- · Don’t list more than 15 years of employment history. Unless you’re a recent graduate, it’s a mistake to go all the way back to your first job out of college. Stick to the most recent, most relevant positions.
In today’s competitive job market, LinkedIn matters.
*This varies by state and does not apply for most union workers.