Thursday, June 14, 2012

How Not To Use LinkedIn to Find a Job

By Clifford Mintz 



There is no question that LinkedIn has revolutionized the way in which professional can interact with and network with one another online. In the beginning, LinkedIn was new, fresh and exciting! Sadly, LinkedIn’s usefulness as a networking and job seeking tool is waning as much of the material posted in LinkedIn Groups (the best vehicle to look for jobs) is spam and ads by recruiting searching for qualified job applicants.
Despite its shortcomings, most employers allow their employees to post profiles on LinkedIn and permit them to visit the site during working hours. And, because of this, LinkedIn still has value as a job hunting platform. However, over the past several months I have noticed several troubling trends among jobseekers who are using LinkedIn to search for new career opportunities. To that point, I compiled a short list of things NOT TO DO when using LinkedIn to search for jobs.
Incomplete Personal Profiles
Like it or not, LinkedIn profiles are essentially electronic resumes. Not fully completing your LinkedIn profile is tantamount to providing a hiring manager with an incomplete and poorly prepared resume of CV. And, as most experienced jobseekers will tell you; this is the kiss of death. Also, many LinkedIn profiles do not contain personal photos. This is also a mistake. Prospective employers want to see whether or not potential candidates are professional-looking and are attentive to personal grooming. While posting an icon rather than a personal photo is OK, I highly recommend that serious jobseekers post a professional photo (not one that contains your pet or children).
Responding to Job Listings
There are many job listings and messages from recruiters on LinkedIn looking for qualified job applicants. I frequently see persons publicly responding to these ads and queries with “I am very interested; please check out my LinkedIn profile.” I am not sure what these people are thinking but do they really think that they are special enough for a hiring managers or recruiters (who screen thousands of applicants daily) to take time out from their busy schedules to look at their LinkedIn profiles? Also, publicly responding to a job ad is inappropriate. These responses should be private and not for everyone to see.
Publicly Listing Availability on LinkedIn
If you are unemployed or a recent graduate looking for a job, it is perfectly acceptable to post to LinkedIn that you are looking for a job. However, I seriously question the wisdom of persons who are currently employed and post that they are looking for new opportunities or publicly respond to posted job ads. Allowing your current employer to learn that you are not happy at your current job and actively looking for a new one is a good way to get yourself fired! If you are seriously considering moving on, I suggest that you privately respond to potential new job opportunities. The best way to do this is to send the person who advertised the job a LinkedIn note and ask that more information about the opportunity be sent to a personal e-mail address. It is important to remember that LinkedIn, like Facebook, Twitter and other social networks are searchable and anything posted to the networks can be found by performing a simple Google Search.

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