The LinkedIn Profile Guide for Newcomers in a Job Search

In recent years, LinkedIn has reached critical mass and gone public. It has been ranked as the tenth most popular website in the world and as high as tenth most popular website here in the US for years now. LinkedIn has also become the #1 most popular professional networking website, the #1 resume database/candidate database for recruiters/employers and it is incredibly popular with entrepreneurs, marketing, advertising and sales professionals as a lead generation resource. Finally, LinkedIn is easily the most popular website for job hunters as well. This is because most professionals know that professional networking is the most efficient way to find new employment and advance as a professional.

Yes, it is true a small minority are frustrated with LinkedIn and complain online. However, these people are merely misinformed or they simply do not understand that the following truths apply to LinkedIn profiles just like everywhere else:

  • The Law of Supply and Demand – If your profession/industry is a high growth/high demand one you will do well. Conversely, if you are in a declining/consolidating/cyclical field, be realistic about your chances of being hired or move to a growth industry.
  • Garbage in garbage out – You need to have a top 5% LinkedIn profile here to distinguish yourself from the masses, ditto for your actual résumé and cover letters. Generic content is weak and useless, so avoid the typed work history approach and think of this as a marketing and sales document to be published online.
  • Perception is reality – Hiring managers are paid to judge candidates and select only the best, therefore if your profile and photo is not professional, it will hurt you more than help you.
  • By the inch it’s a cinch, by the yard it’s hard – Most folks are blissfully unaware that a proper LinkedIn profile averages 8-10 pages when printed. That is a lot of writing, editing and proofreading. If you are more experienced, it could be 10-14 pages when printed.
  • Visibility matters – The larger your network is the more visibility you will have on LinkedIn. This is a fact, so forget about only connecting with people that you already know, that is terrible advice if you are or will be in a job search.
  • Search Engine Page Rank is a huge help, thus keywords and SEO Strategy are very helpful.
  • You generally get what you pay for – LinkedIn is not really 100% free, whenever you are in a job search, are actively trying to advance your career, need to generate new business or need to recruit top talent you should have a paid membership. The paid memberships are still very affordable.
  • Employers still have all the same preferences – Local candidates are ideal, hiring someone known/recommended is always the goal, industry-specific experience is essential in most cases and passive candidates are generally favored over unemployed candidates by a 10:1 margin.
  • Hiring Managers, HR Directors and Recruiters are very busy people – Cater to them by having an outstanding summary that compels them to continue reading further.
  • Hiring Committees Make Data Driven Decisions – Tell the truth. Resumes and LinkedIn profiles require nonfiction writing. Hype, exaggeration and storytelling repel employers. They should be reserved for fiction writers and entertaining.
  • Hard Work is Required – You will need some time to build, grow and maintain your network, develop great LI profile content and participate in helpful LinkedIn groups that are aligned with your career goals.
  • LinkedIn Help – Is found on the bottom left of every page on your LinkedIn profile.

If you want better results in your job search/recruiting efforts you can add LinkedIn recommendations to your profile, delegate the writing/editing to a proven professional, pay for a LinkedIn membership, actively participate in LinkedIn groups online/online networking and post a quality LinkedIn profile photo. Otherwise, know that you can make slow steady progress over several months. I am sure it would help you to see how powerful a fully optimized LinkedIn profile can be so, browse around until you find one.

If you are not found in this database today, your job search results will disappointing and your job hunt will be much longer than average. Unless you are in a profession where there is a serious shortage of talent, a LinkedIn profile is a requirement today. Obviously, you will want to be realistic about your expectations because results do take time. Meanwhile be patient and persistent with your job search and continue professional networking online with LinkedIn as well as in person. I am sure you will find your LinkedIn membership a rewarding experience.

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