In the early 2000s, it was MySpace. Since the mid 2000s, it’s been Facebook. And now there is a new social media trend sweeping the nation, but unlike the others, this one does not specifically target Generation Ys and Millenials. Linkedin, the professional networking site, has been expanding rapidly and gaining visibility for the past few years (it currently beats CareerBuilder and Monster with over 33 million visits a month), and analysts say that this global trend is here to stay. In fact, some argue that Linkedin has officially replaced the Rolodex.
Linkedin is similar to other popular social media outlets in that you can upload a profile picture, update your status, and search for friends who are using the site. Linkedin has really differentiated itself from other social media by focusing on the professional and business aspects of a person’s life instead of the personal and social aspects like Twitter and MySpace. Linkedin encourages you to add your work history and detail the responsibilities you had in each position. You may apply for membership to different professional networking groups (University of Georgia Alumni, Marketing Professionals, etc.) in order to branch out and connect with peers in your industry from across the world. Perhaps the greatest advantage of Linkedin over some of its competitors is the incredible job boards and networking opportunities it allows its users. Linkedin’s user friendly interface makes searching for open positions a breeze, and even facilitates easy communication with the hiring company or recruiter.
That being said, Linkedin can only be used to its full potential if you’ve completely filled out your profile information and taken advantage of the things that Linkedin has to offer. Whether you’re actively or passively searching for a new position, it is essential that you’ve not only listed your education and current and previous positions, but that you’ve detailed your work experience and areas of expertise. If you list that you worked for Johnson & Johnson from 2004 to 2011, a hiring manager screening your profile won’t know whether you’ve been working in the sales department or in the lab doing research and development, and therefore cannot qualify you for the open position he’s looking to fill.
You may be thinking “I’ve been in the industry for 20 years and I’ve got an incredible resume to prove my value, I don’t need an online profile to land a job.” Yes, yes you do. As a recruiter in the clinical research industry, I can tell you that a candidate’s Linkedin profile is opened on my computer screen immediately after I open their resume. An updated profile is absolutely essential because the resume I have on record may be the one you sent me in 2010, but your Linkedin profile will allow to me to supplement your outdated resume with your current work. Essentially, your Linkedin profile is your resume and should be treated as such.
With the decline of the economy, Human Resource departments have been the first to experience hiring freezes and layoffs. Linkedin provides hiring managers an easy and extremely cost effective way to search and screen candidates, a job that would normally fall to the HR department. Linkedin currently has over 9,200 corporate customers, and they are looking for YOU. Having a strong Linkedin profile will communicate your expertise and professionalism, connect you with industry peers and hiring managers, and put your resume and qualifications in front of the people ready to offer you an amazing employment opportunity.
Written by Katie Fidler
Investing in a Lifetime of Success,
Are you considering a career change? If so, sign up for our Job Seeker email course which provides valuable insight into how to become more competitive in the marketplace.