Allison Cheston, Contributor
You’re on LinkedIn, of course. But do you use it? Do you connect with people regularly, do you worry about your profile, is it part of your routine? Engagement with LinkedIn seems to be part generational, part whether you’re marketing-oriented or not. Despite LinkedIn’s penetration of the professional market, there are still a lot of skeptics who don’t believe it will help them enough to warrant spending time on it.
As a career advisor who works with both senior professionals and those just starting in their careers, I deliver workshops on finding your right career and how to change your career. As I speak with job seekers at both ends of the spectrum, I’m continuously surprised that so many people still don’t use LinkedIn effectively. In fact, I find that many active candidates don’t even have a LinkedIn profile.
I’ve had job seekers range from dismissive to downright hostile when I’ve strongly suggested that having and even more importantly, building out a LinkedIn profile, is key to finding a good job. Since I believe that LinkedIn is pretty much ground zero for discovering your right career as well as for a specific job search, I decided to confirm that recruiters and retained search firms agreed with me.
Why be on LinkedIn in the first place? Michelle Kedem, a partner at search firm On-Ramps, said there are two reasons: “First of all, if you want to be found by recruiters and have recruiters know who you are, you should be on LinkedIn. The flip side of this is if you don’t want to be an active job-seeker but want recruiters to know who you are, then you need to be the seeker and not the sought-after, which is tougher, especially if you have a full-time job.”
“The second reason is that if someone tells me I should talk to (x person), the first thing I’m going to do is look them up on LinkedIn. Using LinkedIn, I can quickly figure out whether someone is worth speaking to, which saves me a lot of time.”
Everyone interviewed confirmed that LinkedIn was frequently recruiters’ first point of entry to a candidate. What if a candidate could not be found on LinkedIn? Kathleen Yazbak, a partner at executive search firm the Bridgespan Group, said “For senior folks I’m assuming they have a strong network, cultivate it, and are seen as a leader in their field. Without a LinkedIn profile, I’m not sure how they can say this.”
Cindy Stamer, who’s responsible for recruitment for Bloomberg’s Media Group, told me, “I use LinkedIn continuously to locate and screen candidates for positions. In addition, outside of my recruiter role, I find that I use LinkedIn more and more personally to connect with people I meet or know already.”
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