LinkedIn might be great for job seekers, but it has one big flaw.
Why LinkedIn is great for your job search
No employer likes to think their employees are actively looking for a job outside the company, and that's regardless of whether you're doing it on company time or not. Pretty much every employee understands and knows this.
It used to be that if you posted your resume online as part of your job search and your employer found out about it, you could be:
- invited to an uncomfortable, trust-straining meeting to explain the discovery
- quietly put on an internal HR list of people to be replaced asap (possibly before you find a job elsewhere!)
- or even, fired outright
LinkedIn essentially put an end to this.
Nowadays, most employers expect or even require you to be on LinkedIn.
That's right- where in the past employers frowned upon you having your resume online, those same employers now want you to have your resume online.
However, though you can now have your cake, it doesn't mean you get to eat it too.
Where LinkedIn is bad for your job search
Job search is all about personal marketing. You need to market yourself to the point where at least one employer thinks they're getting a great deal by hiring you.
The most successful marketers (job seekers) are the ones who understand their audience (recruiters) and can best target their message (cover letter, resume, etc.) to that audience.
Just like a movie trailer can get you all excited about an upcoming new release, you want to get employers all excited about meeting you and potentially hiring you.
Movie companies are particularly good at targeting audiences, such as by creating separate trailers for different countries or markets.
For job seekers, the classic way to target employers is to tailor your messages to them (again- cover letter, resume, etc.).
But you can't tailor a LinkedIn profile.
You can't target it to a specific audience.
There's no way to say “if a headhunter visits my profile, show them only these sections, but if another kind of recruiter visits, show them only those sections.”
If you decide to take a risk and manually remove irrelevant past jobs to really tighten and focus your profile, LinkedIn's chronological format exposes the de facto resume gap(s) you just created, and that will likely set off more alarm bells for recruiters than if you had left your irrelevant past job details there in the first place.
You could try to ‘spin' what you did in a previous job to make it more relevant to your current job search, but that will probably leave you with a bland description that fails to impress, and might hurt your chances even more if a given recruiter decides to check references and your ex-colleagues have a hard time backing up your spin.
Taking into account that most people have had many different jobs in their career, that's a lot of un-targeted online resumes.
Tailor your messages to employers as much as possible, but when it comes to a medium that can't be tailored, the best you can do is to show off the best you can do.
In other words, make your LinkedIn profile as impressive as possible regardless of who will see it. For each role you've had:
- Emphasize achievements, using numbers where possible
- Get hard-hitting recommendations from people in the know
- List awards and honors received
And use the Summary to sum up the highlights of all these points, motivating the reader to seek out more details as they become more and more impressed, ultimately inviting you to a first interview.
What do you think? Am I right or wrong? Tell us in the comments.
Top comments on Twitter
— Shannon (@BrandedResume) April 22, 2014
— Bettina Wæde (@bettinawaede) April 22, 2014
— meetyourgig (@meetyourgig) April 22, 2014
@jacobshare LI s/b abt the value you create. By focusing on communicating value, you attract interest and can send a tailored resume.
— Kimberly Sernel (@KimberlyHCS) April 23, 2014
— John Rose CPC (@resourcefuljohn) April 28, 2014
— Vincent Wright (@VincentWright) April 29, 2014
— Karalyn Brown (@InterviewIQ) April 29, 2014
— C-suite Branding (@MegGuiseppi) April 29, 2014
@jacobshare Great advice!
— Lindsey Pollak (@lindseypollak) April 30, 2014
@jacobshare – LinkedIn is a starting point – your own personal formatted page to elicit desire. And you can edit it daily…
— DFWTRN (@DFWTRN) May 1, 2014
— Getajobtips.com (@Getajobtips) May 3, 2014