Your LinkedIn profile is a great way to build your personal brand – if that is important to you! In other words it is a way of marketing or selling yourself. Very often, when people are engaging with you in business they will look over your LinkedIn profile.
Many contractors, consultants and services professionals report that the LinkedIn has helped them secure clients or projects. Some people have found jobs through linked in, although the frequency that that happens is difficult to determine.
Pretty much everyone that is evaluating candidates for positions will be checking your LinkedIn profile. If you are in marketing, sales or business development and don’t have a LinkedIn profile then recruiters may be concerned that you are not engaging with modern promotional tools and systems.
Do you need a LinkedIn profile? It is a choice. An important aspect of career development is promoting one self. Showing that you are interesting, relevant, and ensure that your strengths are apparent when seeking or applying for role and project opportunities. There are many ways to do that, and LinkedIn has become a tool that is widely used to quickly find information on people for jobs, and just about anything else as well.
Having a complete and well thought out LinkedIn profile is highly recommended by most commentators on the best strategies for finding employment and projects.
What is LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is a ‘business orientated’ network service used for ‘professional networking’. Some say that it is a social or marketing network disguised as a professional network. There are a number of aspects of LinkedIn that mean it is used in different ways by different users:
- Individuals can easily build a comprehensive career profile, including history of employment, education and qualifications. Your supporters can write references and others can endorse you for a range of skills.
- Users of LinkedIn can ‘connect’ with other users, which entitles them to send an internal email. You connections may be advised of updates that you post (similar to Facebook) articles that you post to a discussion forum, or changes to your profile.
- LinkedIn is a discussion group and topic management forum. You can create your own or join groups (sometimes that have a great many members) and post articles, or comment on other articles. Your contributor rating increases if you post regularly, but degrades quickly when you pause or cease contributing.
- Employers can search for candidates and contact them via internal email.
- Employers and HR consultants can advertise positions on Linked in.
- Businesses can create a Linkedin ‘Page’, which can be followed. If you follow something, you will see it news posts, and changes to their profile on your news feed.
- Advertising on LinkedIn is big business and is a key part of the LinkedIn business model.
LinkedIn is an open system
- You can obtain the url of your Profile, which you can, for example, add to your PeopleTray profile and your resume. You can also customise your url to include your name.
- Jobs that are advertised on LinkedIn can be linked to an external Application and Candidate management system such as PeopleTray.
- You can download your LinkedIn profile, or anyone else’s profile to PDF which will include the email address for your first level Connections.
- You can download your Connections to a spreadsheet, including their email address for 1st level Connections.
- Linked in has over 300 million users and is global, which has the potential to be powerful. But for many potential users it is intimidating in regard to finding genuine/bona fide opportunities that are right for them.
- While LinkedIn is an International leader, it is not necessarily the market leader from a local perspective. So while it is large, the majority of job opportunities in your region may be advertised on more local (national), industry or niche online services such as Seek, Career One and PeopleTray.
- For many users, and especially those that use it intermittently, some LinkedIn features are not easy to find and use, although usability has improved over time.
- A LinkedIn profile may take time to mature. For example, profiles may be differentiated by the number of connections, the number and quality of References and the number of Endorsements for different types of activities.
- The number of Connections and Endorsements may reflect a zealous effort to improve those aspects of a profile rather than reflecting real experience or relationships.
- Your LinkedIn profile potentially provides a complete history of your career and work activities, just like your resume, hence there are no secrets. The difference between your resume and LinkedIn is that a resume is provided selectively to different people and can be customised. A LinkedIn profile is provided in a single form to all that wish to view it, based on your privacy settings. Not only by potential employers that you invite to view your profile, but also by anyone that that would like to find out more about you.
- LinkedIn is used heavily by people that are interested in low cost marketing. Hence, much of the activity on LinkedIn is marketers selling to marketers.
- Much of the discussion content on LinkedIn is reworked or contrived to facilitate engaging in discussions for the purpose of marketing and hence may be misleading, biased or low quality.
- As LinkedIn is highly geared to marketing, your email address and any other contact details you enter, can easily be harvested and shared.
- Using LinkedIn for business is not necessarily a budget or low cost initiative. We won’t quote costs here as they change.
You can find plenty of statistics and reviews and opinions about LinkedIn via a web search.
Some quick statistics (August 2014):
- There are 300 million users of LinkedIn, 65% outside of the US.
- There are 187 million unique visitors per month. (That means that more than half of LinkedIn users open LinkedIn each month. Another statistic says that 40% of users check LinkedIn daily).
- You profile is 11x more likely to be viewed if you include a photo.
- 40% of LinkedIn users are female, 60% male.
- 70% of LinkedIn users earn more than US$100k per year.
- 33% of LinkedIn users have a University/College degree. 57% of Linked users have a postgraduate degree.