Being on LinkedIn has many benefits and reasons. Fact is that times are changing on us and they are changing fast. Not too long ago you had to fax your resume and cover letter to an employer to apply for a job. Try this today and you will have difficulties finding a fax number for the HR department. The Internet has changed how we find jobs and how we apply for jobs.
Even before the Internet became main stream a certain number of jobs was not publicly available. You had to know the right people to get certain jobs. It’s almost like the “good ol’ boys club” – once you’re in you are set for life.
That’s where LinkedIn steps in. While certain jobs are still only available when knowing the right people, LinkedIn has opened the door for the rest of us to have a better chance of getting one of those jobs. How did LinkedIn do that?
LinkedIn is a networking tool. You connect with friends and co-workers and former co-workers. You can connect with managers you have or had in the past, too. Every member on LinkedIn knows different people and suddenly your formerly small network of people that you know, grows because of the people your connections know. Suddenly you are able to reach out outside of the borders of your own network.
But that is not all that LinkedIn did. It also provides the tools to do so professionally and efficiently. If you become aware of a job opportunity at a company you always wanted to work at, your chances of knowing someone who knows someone at that particular company have dramatically increased. Through LinkedIn you can now get either introduced to that other person through your connection or (depending on your connection level or membership type) you can reach out yourself to that person and initiate contact.
But there is something else that LinkedIn did besides helping you to network. LinkedIn allows employers to find you. All you have to do is to be in LinkedIn and have a profile and eventually you can be found by an employer that is interested in hiring you. Keep in mind this sounds great and easy on paper, but it requires a good LinkedIn profile before you can be found. This and follow-up articles will teach you how to get there and how to be found.
So, the main 2 reasons why you need to be in LinkedIn are networking and to be found by employers. And keep in mind that job search and the search for talent are shifting more and more online, not being on LinkedIn would be a major mistake for anyone who wants to be employed.
But let’s put some numbers on the table to further bring home the point. Jobvite has conducted a survey among employers and the results were incredible. About 93% percent of the respondents pointed out that they actively use LinkedIn to look for talent.
Now I am not sure how many companies were surveyed, but a 93% usage rate among employers is pretty significant. Even if you would say that with a larger pool of participants the number would have dropped to 75% (just making an example here), even that number is highly impressive.
Still not convinced that you need to be on LinkedIn?
It is common fact today that most employers will do some sort of a background check on new hires. This might be a real background check where companies want to make sure you do not have a criminal record, but in many cases it also includes a spot check of what does the Internet “know” about you.
Simply Google your name and you might see what potential employers might see. One of the search results that usually comes back is the link to an existing LinkedIn profile.
Here is what I found for me when doing a Google Search for my own name:
The top search result links to my LinkedIn profile. I did the same search on Bing and Bing actually provides 2 results related to LinkedIn for my name.
Bing links to my actual profile and then Bing also links to a generic “search” result on LinkedIn where LinkedIn would show the visitor all members with the same name. Fortunately there seems to be only one other person with the same name on LinkedIn (and that actually could be my alter ego because at one point I had 2 profiles, but I am too lazy to check really).
Now that you know that a search engine search result will list your LinkedIn Profile very high, you know that you got to do something to use this opportunity. It is an opportunity and not a negative thing to be listed that high. Since employers or customers are most likely aware of what LinkedIn is, you can and should use it to your advantage.
Write a Killer LinkedIn Profile!
This website is filled with tips and tricks (and more are on the way) to help you to write a LinkedIn Profile that shows the best of you.
But before I continue I want to point out the following disclaimers:
Legal Disclaimer: Depending on which company you work for, you might want to make sure you are familiar with any restrictions they might have regarding information you make publicly available. Usually HR can shed light on the corporate guidelines about blogging or posting information online.
There are also certain industries that have legal requirements about what information employees in those specific industries can post online. Please check with HR or the legal department at the company you work for to be on the safe side.
My tips & tricks are not meant to get you into trouble with your employer or any legal entities. Also, if you get asked why you want to have a LinkedIn profile, a good response is always that you want to stay in touch with former and current co-workers and that LinkedIn is a great tool to do so. If in doubt, consult with an attorney.
My LinkedIn Disclaimer: LinkedIn like most other companies often makes changes to their website. While I try my best to provide you with the latest and greatest information, some of the screenshots and step by step information could be off a little bit. Often those differences are just marginal, but if you absolutely cannot find a certain feature anymore based on my instructions LinkedIn has made changes that I cannot control.
Also, I am located in the United States and the content of this website is US-centric. However, most tips are independent from the country of your location and should still be considered valid. However, each country or culture might have different ways how career and professional information is being displayed or used. Please adjust accordingly.
Let’s get going. Let’s create a fully optimized LinkedIn profile. Please browse through the LinkedIn Profile Optimization category for tips and tricks on how to optimize your LinkedIn profile.