In our last Conversations from the Corner Office blog, Seth and I discussed success strategies for using LinkedIn from a networking and thought leadership standpoint, but let’s face it – many people simply see LinkedIn as a tool for landing their next job. And while that’s certainly a reasonable viewpoint, that doesn’t mean you should neglect your account until you need to find a new career opportunity. Think of it like this – you don’t only want to call your friends when you need something because they’ll pick up on it and quickly start to tune you out. You don’t want your LinkedIn account to reflect that type of behavior and turn off prospective employers before they get a chance to meet you.
This week, we’re going to break down LinkedIn and how you should use it in a job search. What are employers really looking for? What are the tactics that work, and which ones should you avoid? Here’s what you need to know:
SG – If you think you’re only going to use LinkedIn when you need to look for a new position, that’s your first mistake. People who are going to be successful using LinkedIn in a job search are the ones who use it regularly and take the time to cultivate a meaningful profile. You can’t do that overnight, and I can see right through the people who think they can. There’s no substance. These types of profiles tell me that the person is only on LinkedIn because they want something, and they’re not really interested in giving back to the digital community.
SG – When I look at a candidate, the first thing I do is check out their LinkedIn account. I almost see resumes as becoming obsolete, and I can actually see LinkedIn replacing resumes in the future.
SG – I see LinkedIn as how you present yourself in the digital world, and it should reflect who you really are. When I recruit a salesperson, I look at who they’re connected to, how many connections they have, and are those connections relevant. I also look at the things they’ve liked, the comments they’ve made, and the accounts they follow. This helps me develop thoughts about the type of interview questions I might ask them, and it can help me get a sense of their personality profile and whether it will be a good fit for my needs.
SG – Organization is really important. If your profile isn’t well organized, it says something to me about how you would present yourself in real life. If your photo isn’t up to date, if the connections you have are old and aren’t relevant to your current position, if simple things like company logos aren’t finished, it says something about the level of detail you put into yourself and your career. If you can’t promote yourself, how can you promote the company you work for?
Another red flag is when a profile doesn’t reflect someone’s true resume. If I notice someone’s titles, timeframes, and responsibilities aren’t consistent with what’s on their resume, I’ll dive deeper. I’ll even go look at descriptions of other people who have the same title at the same company to try and get the real story. And speaking of titles, use your real title (i.e. sales development rep) – don’t put things like “entrepreneur” or “thought leader” unless your recommendations and endorsements can back those things up.
SG – Endorsements are interesting because they give me an idea of your reputation and how your network perceives you. For example, if you say you’re good in sales and you have 5,000 connections, your endorsements should reflect that. If you don’t have those, it makes me wonder if you’re being perceived well – and it should make you wonder, too.
SG – It’s a personal choice rather than a requirement, in my opinion. Not everyone needs to be a thought leader or out there sharing their opinion. Actually, I’d rather see people post nothing than put out a bunch of junk. That makes me wonder if they’re really focused on doing the best for their company or team.
SG – In the past, when I saw that I’d think, “What’s wrong with that person? Why would they put that out there?” Now, though, I’m starting to rethink that viewpoint. I see it like, “Wow, this person is really willing to be honest and straightforward and market themselves to a mass network.” If they’re going to put themselves out there, I feel like they’d be willing to do it for our company. I’ve interviewed a few people like that, and even if I didn’t offer them the job, I was able to interact with them and give them some feedback they could use in the future.
SG – The ones who have attracted me will be pretty straightforward – here’s my background, here’s who I am, that I want to be your top person and number one, and that I’m ready to get to work. Really, the people who have a high D personality (motivated by new challenges, setting and achieving goals, and seeing tangible results).
SG – I say follow up by any means necessary, especially if you’re seeking a sales or customer service position. Recruiters are overwhelmed. You don’t want to let your resume get lost in the shuffle.
SG – I’ve had a lot of success doing this. I’ve probably hired 30 people directly from my LinkedIn posts. It’s my go-to platform for hiring because not only is it a cheaper, faster, and better way to interact, I’ve discovered you find better talent because the people are engaged. I usually get 30-50 inquiries every time I post a job.
SG – I try to ask a very specific question in my posts, such as “Why would you be a good addition to my team?” Now, if someone writes back and says something like, “I’d like to learn more about the opportunity,” it tells me that person doesn’t care enough to do a little research – plus they didn’t answer the question! The good ones will take the time to actually answer the question in a thoughtful way and apply their set to the roles we’re seeking to fill. Basically, if you spend a little extra time on your answers and demonstrate you’ve done your homework, you’ll set yourself apart from people who are basically just phoning it in.
SG – Go onto your LinkedIn profile and make sure all your information is relevant and accurate, and schedule some time on your calendar each quarter to review your profile because things can change. Also, if you are currently job searching, spend a little time elaborating on the tasks and responsibilities associated with each of your positions so employers can easily see them. If you’re not, it’s OK to keep things a little simpler. Basically, it really doesn’t take much time to keep your LinkedIn up to date, and trust me, it’s well worth it.
Want to know more about LinkedIn? Check out our previous Conversations from the Corner Office where we’ll talk about how to use LinkedIn to network like a boss.
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