by Amanda Marie Yetter, Head Editor, INALJ Maryland
LinkedUp to LinkedIn
Welcome to 2013 where networking is important, but you have to break down the hidden wall of the Internet to get a job interview, deal with Web crawlers before you can be hired, and have to use keywords in context (KWIC) to have your resume “pop up” to potential employers. In this blog post, I will talk about the issue of social media in the job hunting process focusing on LinkedIn.
When mentioning social media, I’m going to talk about your social footprint. Your social footprint is anything that you’ve ever posted Online for the entire world to see. First off, if you haven’t done this yet, Google yourself. See what your results are. If you don’t like your social footprint, start making changes now. Potential employers are looking for as much information as they can about your character. It’s not just about your Credit Score and Criminal Record/Background Checks anymore.
I have a LinkedIn account, you can friend me on Facebook and even follow me on Twitter and Tumblr. Nevertheless, the role that social media plays in the job market now is changing and growing each day. Your social footprint means EVERYTHING to potential employers.
Most of my LinkedIn friends, or rather contacts, consist of a variety of connections that I’ve made over the years. I’m connected to my former employers in Chicago, Pennsylvania, and now in North Carolina. I have branched out to include former classmates in the Library Science field and even those from my high school and undergraduate years. Much like Facebook, I felt the need to connect with my relatives. LinkedIn or better deemed by the monomer “professional Facebook” allows an interactive approach to the basic résumé and reference list. Here, potential employers can read recommendations from former employers or professionals to better gage your individualized fit within their company. Unlike Facebook, LinkedIn can cost you some money if you’re interested in broadening your job search. While basic service is free, LinkedIn offers monthly plans to gain even more communication with potential employers including displaying your information before others in your field and even unlocking features to see who has viewed your LinkedIn profile.
In The Everything Guide to Social Media by John K. Waters, LinkedIn is said to be the “oldest and largest social network developed specifically for business and professional networking” (Waters, 2010). Developed in 2002, LinkedIn’s motto is relationships matter. Waters mentions that individuals on LinkedIn can “promote your career, find a sales lead, connect with business partners, supplement a job search, and offer job opportunities” (Waters, 2010). “According to LinkedIn, the average member of this network is a college-educated forty-three-year-old making upwards of $100,000 a year” (Waters, 2010). Waters goes on to talk about the LinkedIn profile as a “public face” not your résumé. A résumé is for a specific job and your “public face” or LinkedIn account is one that anyone who logs into LinkedIn can view your information.
In How to Find a Job on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and other Social Networks by Brad and Debra Schepp, they discuss “build[ing] a strong and vibrant network of professional connections that will allow you not only to job hunt more efficiently but also to enhance your job performance and career goals, no matter what phase of your career you happen to be working on” (Schepp & Schepp, 2010). Find mentors, stay in touch with favorite professors, and locate hiring managers. Never lose touch with colleges you respect and admire. LinkedIn is the “must-have tool for ambitious professionals whether they’re currently looking for a job or not” (Schepp & Schepp, 2010). Being a LinkedIn LION or LinkedIn Open Networker is also discussed. A LION adds anyone who wishes to connect with you and is open to some debate as to whether or not that adds to your profile and credentials or takes away from the seriousness of LinkedIn making it more like other social media sites. LinkedIn also has a learning center where users can find the guide for the site, a section just for job hunters, and a blog. If you have a blog, consider adding the LinkedIn icon to it just to give more of a professional feel and allowing others to connect to you.
Personally, for me, LinkedIn is an easy way to connect with former employers, but getting them to evaluate my work experience is a challenge. It takes time on their part to log in, write a recommendation, and ultimately post it onto my page. However, the popularity of LinkedIn continues to grow, allowing me to find new contacts each day that can add to my profile. Making requests for recommendations could not be easier on LinkedIn. There is a message that can be sent asking professionals to endorse you, pre-written with the opportunity to personalize the message to fit the needs of the endorser.
How do you make your profile on LinkedIn stand out amongst the rest? “Be open to career opportunities, join professional and alumni groups, watch key words, and add a photo” (Schepp & Schepp, 2010). Do not “use cute titles, be vague with job title, brag, and say that you’re a consultant if you’re unemployed” (Scheep & Scheep, 2010). With whom should you add as connections? I’ve now started adding those whom I know and those with important roles that can aide in the future, such as the Director at the Library where I am an Intern and those that I’ve been a volunteer.
Why is LinkedIn an invaluable resource for job hunters and those gainfully employed? LinkedIn allows the user to “maintain relationships with existing contacts in your field, make new contacts in your line of work, create an online identity that brands your professional expertise, keep up-to-date on the latest developments in your field, and have a dedicated forum from which to seek advice on challenging issues” (Scheep & Scheep, 142). Diane Crompton & Ellen Sautter sum up LinkedIn strategies in the second edition of Finding a Job Through Social Networking: Use LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Blogs and more to Advance your Career stating that you should “make LinkedIn a key part of your networking strategy. It provides a way to help others, enhances your effectiveness and speeds your success” (Crompton & Sautter, 126).
Is LinkedIn the future for job seekers? The answer may be vague, but it is likely that more employers will require having a LinkedIn profile or something new may be developed to allow employers to view a snap shot of your credentials Online. I think that eventually all of your records will be electronically stored and then can be uploaded to a LinkedIn profile maybe including your GPA from high school, college, and any other higher education that you may have received and it will be guaranteed through the site to be correct and accurate.
Crompton, D., & Sautter, E. (2011). Find a job through social networking: Use LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, blogs and more to advance your career (2nd ed.). Indianapolis, IN: JIST Works.
Schepp, B., & Scheep, D. (2010). How to find a job on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and other social networks. New York: McGraw Hill.
Waters, J.K. (2010). The everything guide to social media: all you need to know about participating in today’s most popular online communities. Avon, MA: Adams Media.