What is today’s recruitment paradigm? Corporate budgets are being cut, including advertising in the media and online job sites. Human resources professionals are therefore forced to find more frugal alternatives to identify top quality job candidates, and what could be less expensive than LinkedIn, a totally free online networking site!
According to a 2009 study by CareerBuilder, 46% of recruiters already use online networking sites to identify/research job candidates and applicants, and this number is expected to grow rapidly. Besides searching directly in LinkedIn, when a recruiter does a simple Google search on your name, there is a good chance that the first result will be a LinkedIn profile. You want that LinkedIn profile to be yours, and you want it to be effective!
I manage the second largest Israel-based LinkedIn Group (Job Networking in Israel), which currently has close to 7,000 members. I guess that at least 1,000 of these members are either company recruiters or work at headhunters/placement companies. So, joining this group alone (and there are plenty of others as well) gives you immediate access and visibility to a large quantity of human resources people that making hiring decisions.
What is particularly interesting is that from this same CareerBuilder study, it was found that 18% of recruiters actually found content on online networking sites that caused them to hire someone! Job seekers can use LinkedIn to their advantage by creating a strong profile with an excellent summary and recommendations.
Online Branding – The LinkedIn Profile Summary
Your LinkedIn profile is your opportunity to shine! Here you have the chance to create your online brand, a summary with a short and targeted message to potential employers describing the value you can bring to an employer. Mirroring your CV/resume, the profile enables you to describe your education and work experience. And since there is no length limitation, you have the flexibility to include whatever you think is relevant. The profile can and should be used to supplement your CV with more detail, examples of work… Many people include a link in their CV to their LinkedIn Profile.
LinkedIn Profile – The Other Parts
In addition to the summary, education, and (work) experience sections of the summary, there are other components that you should be aware of:
- Recommendations enhance your appeal to companies, and you should find suitable people from previous jobs to write testimonials. Sometimes you may need to help them convey the important points you want to highlight.
- You can add a picture to your profile to personalize your image.
- You can add links to websites/blogs that contain your material.
- You can add applications that enhance your profile. For instance, I use BlogLink; each time I add an entry on my blog, the BlogLink application updates my LinkedIn profile by displaying the new article.
- You can lists honors and awards that you have received.
- Include all of the relevant industry keywords in your profile, so that when recruiters search, you have a better chance to be found.
One note of importance though. As much as we hope that after we create an excellent LinkedIn profile, the job offers will start rolling in, the reality is that this action by itself is usually not enough. The next thing you have to make yourself accessible by connecting with others and joining groups. Finally, and critically important, you can become proactive by doing searches of your own, identifying others that are of professional interest and introducing yourself. The next entries in this blog will focus on these activities.