Businessman holding a LinkedIn logo.
Will LinkedIn connect you with real people that will benefit your job search?

LinkedIn is considered the top social networking website for jobseekers. As Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, explains it, “Post a full profile and get connected to the people you trust. Because if you’re connected to those people, and you posted a profile, then when other people are searching for people, they might find you.”

We’ve done a number of posts on LinkedIn topics, including “8 Elements You Should Include for LinkedIn to Consider Your Profile Complete”, “13 Tips for Your LinkedIn Profile Photo”, and more. The purpose of this post is to review the basics, and discuss what LinkedIn is and what it is not.

The takeaways from this post will be that LinkedIn is:

While LinkedIn is powerful, it will not be the solution to all your job search issues. You will still need to personally contact many people you know, and expand your reach to business professionals you do not know. Also, you’ll need job search marketing tools, including your resume, LinkedIn profile, and job search letters to get the best job for you. We can help you with that step.

The LinkedIn platform is a dominant business social media site.

LinkedIn had more than 575 million registered users as of January 2020. More than 250 million users access the site monthly, with 40 percent of users logging in on a daily basis. With so many members, the rate at which your network expands on LinkedIn can be truly amazing. A hundred strategic contacts could mean access to millions of people in a short amount of time. You’d have to attend dozens — or hundreds — of in-person networking events to equal the reach you can get on LinkedIn. Of course, most in-person events have been cancelled for more than a year as of June 2021, and many may not restart for some time.

LinkedIn allows you to leverage the power of your network — the people you know, and the people those people know — to help you connect to a person who is in a position to offer you a job. It’s analogous to finding work through “a friend of a friend”—an experience many of us have had during our careers.

Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, put it this way: LinkedIn is about “connecting talent with opportunity on a massive scale.”

Executives from all Fortune 500 companies are on LinkedIn. Recruiters from every discipline and industry are on LinkedIn, too. More than 20 million companies have profile pages on LinkedIn, five times as many as in 2017.

You should do job search on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is also the place to find jobs. There are 14 million open jobs posted on the site, and 90 percent of recruiters regularly use LinkedIn. In addition, one study found that 122 million people received an interview through LinkedIn, and 35.5 million were hired by a person they connected with on the site. A recruiter I speak with regularly has told me companies hire him specifically to search LinkedIn for talent. Another recruiter has described LinkedIn to me as a “full-featured applicant tracking system (ATS)”, so companies and recruiters can subscribe to LinkedIn Recruiter products instead of subscribing to or buying an ATS.

Author Guy Kawasaki puts it best: “I could make the case that Facebook is for show, and LinkedIn is for dough.”

LinkedIn can be similar to in-person networking—but it is not the same!

Once upon a time, attending networking mixers, industry events, and Chamber of Commerce meetings were the best way to make new connections and build business relationships. Since the start of the Pandemic, many of these activities have moved online. It is much less expensive and time-consuming to host and attend online programs so much of this activity may remain on Zoom and other webinar platforms.

With LinkedIn, Zoom meetings, and webinars you get many benefits of networking in-person, with less hassle. Instead of going from business lunch to business lunch hoping to meet people, LinkedIn and online meeting sites provide platforms for you to specifically search for, research, and then communicate with individuals who you know will directly add value to your job search. Remember that in-person contact is more powerful than contact online or over the telephone, so arrange in-person meetings when it is practical, safe, and economical.

LinkedIn allows you to identify, research, contact, follow-up, engage, and maintain your contacts in one place. Its ability to facilitate business networking is unmatched by any other social network. In other words, your LinkedIn profile is a resume, business card, and elevator speech all rolled up into one.

A LinkedIn profile is more powerful than a resume.

Your LinkedIn profile is not your resume. LinkedIn is a personal branding page. You need both a resume and a LinkedIn profile, and they should be in sync with one another, but not be exact copies. The information on your resume should match your profile (in terms of positions you’ve held, your educational credentials, etc.), but the content you include on your LinkedIn profile may be different than what is included on your resume.

Your profile should serve as an online portfolio of accomplishments — by facilitating embedded video, links to content posted elsewhere on the Internet, and the ability to create highly shareable, long-form content in the form of LinkedIn’s “Publishing” feature. Essentially, you can use LinkedIn as your blog, as well as your portfolio, instead of creating your own website for a portfolio and blog.

LinkedIn supports more than 400 content providers, including video, images, and rich media (YouTube, Instagram, and SlideShare). Content can include documents, links, videos, images, audio files, animations, PowerPoint presentations, eBooks, and more. Linked content must be hosted online (requires a URL). Or you can upload files directly (limited to 100 MB each) in a variety of supported file formats.

The LinkedIn platform then is an excellent starting point for developing the business contacts you need for landing the best post-pandemic job available. It will serve as your virtual business card, portfolio, 30-second pitch, and job search database. It cannot do the hard work of having conversations with people in your business or profession that will partner with you to identify and exploit opportunities. Business networking is still a game of personal contact whether you attend in-person meetings or online meetings.

We will work with you to develop a consistent marketing message for your LinkedIn profile, resume, and job search correspondence. Click here for your no cost consultation.  

This content was originally published here.

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