(The following article is written by Laurie J. James, MCD, CCELW)

 

If you’re expecting a dissertation on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube or Twitter, you might be disappointed. The truth is that LinkedIn is where you should concentrate most of your social media efforts as you look for a new career … or as you look for prospective clients … or as you look for valuable people to follow in this great community that we call Acadiana.

LinkedIn.com is a FREE professional social media website that “links” recruiters and candidates to fill jobs. It also “links” you professionally to clients, colleagues, fellow alumni, government, institutions, and companies - basically the whole world.

Do you currently have a LinkedIn account? If not, why not? If so, are you utilizing this social media to its full potential? If not, here are a few quick facts to get you up to speed on the value of LinkedIn and how it can work for you on the job search:

1)     LinkedIn operates the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with more than 380 million members in over 200 countries and territories. Professionals sign up to join LinkedIn at a rate of more than 2 new members per second.

2)     Over 5.7 billion professionally-oriented searches were done on LinkedIn last year!! Millions of professionals find others and get found through a LinkedIn search. Whether you’re searching for people, jobs, companies or groups, LinkedIn provides the most relevant results based on your professional identity, your network, and how the people in your network engage with LinkedIn.

3)     Searching on LinkedIn is getting even smarter and more streamlined. The search experience is unified so you don’t need to search for people, companies or jobs separately. All you need to do is type what you’re looking for into the search box at the top, and you’ll see a comprehensive page of results that pulls content from all across the LinkedIn world, including people, jobs, groups and companies.

4)     LinkedIn is currently available in 23 languages: English, Chinese (simplified), Chinese (traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Tagalog, Thai, and Turkish.

5)     Languages supported for LinkedIn mobile applications include: Android, Blackberry, iPhone, iPad, Nokia Asha, and Windows Phone.

 

WHY THE RéSUMé IS NOT ENOUGH ANYMORE

Your résumé should do a great job of selling an employer on what you did. Because of its inherent format and design, it falls short in selling an employer on what you will do for them.

So in this age of highly competitive job markets, employers can afford to be extremely picky with whom they hire. They’ll often choose the person who can effectively demonstrate the least amount of risk and the highest amount of value.

This makes the résumé an incomplete document for most employers. They will probably say, “Send me your résumé,” and then they’ll Google your name or look for you on LinkedIn. Trust me … this happens a lot!!

Like it or not, you will be highly researched before a new company invests in you. Have you Googled your full name recently? That’s what a prospective employer will do when they receive your résumé. Then they’ll look at your LinkedIn profile to see who you really are. Most employers will rethink hiring you based on one or both of these searches, so be sure that your online presence is both clean and professional.

 

THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN RéSUMéS AND LINKEDIN PROFILES

Listed below are some significant differences between your résumé and LinkedIn profile:

 

1)    TENSE

A)    Résumés: Write your résumé in first person. In doing so, exclude the first person - I, me and my; it’s already understood that the résumé is from your point of view.

B)    LinkedIn: Write in first person, using I, me, and my. LinkedIn provides a platform for a virtual and intimate conversation between you and the reader. The presumption is that the reader is seeing this on an electronic device, hence it’s a one-to-one conversation where first person tense makes sense.

 

2)    HEADERS

A)    Résumés: Letterhead, Skills Summary, Profile, Education, Experience, & Affiliations.

B)    LinkedIn: DO NOT simply copy directly from your résumé!! Add creativity to make it different!!

 

3)    VARIETY OF PLATFORMS

A)    Résumés: You should customize the contents of a résumé for each job so that the employer feels that you are ONLY applying for that job.

B)    LinkedIn: As this is a virtual platform, you have much more space to create your message. Be sure to choose your keywords wisely. You will want to utilize these in your Summary Statement (under Background section). With so many more headings and uploading options to tell your story, LinkedIn is a vital resource for your job search.

 

4)    UPDATING

A)    Résumés: Your résumé should be customized for each and every job you apply for. This is great, because you get to change it to suit the needs of the employer whom you have thoroughly researched. However, there’s really no opportunity to make changes once you’ve uploaded the document. You can always send a second version, but you might run the risk of confusing the employer who receives your information.

B)    LinkedIn: Your LinkedIn profile can be edited and reconfigured as often as you like to keep it current. Remember, you only get one LinkedIn account … use it wisely!! NOTE: Turn off the “Notify Your Network?” option on the Edit Profile page. Otherwise, your connections will see every single update you make to your LinkedIn profile, and this will annoy them!!

 

5)    PURPOSE

A)    Résumés: This is your marketing masterpiece which should be heavy on experience.

B)    LinkedIn: This is a virtual snapshot of you, where your experience is brief enough that it can be scanned over by the human eye in about eight seconds. The trick with LinkedIn is to get noticed quickly.

 

6)    LENGTH

A)    Résumés: You’ll want to keep this at 1-2 pages with references on a separate page, and the cover letter (or e-note) handled separately as well.

B)    LinkedIn: Your LinkedIn profile can be much longer, because the specific headers allow you to expand your information for a more complete look at who you are. As long as you keep focus, you should get as much information as possible onto your LinkedIn profile.  And because the reader is using a mouse to click through your information, the profile can be scanned, scrolled and tabbed through quickly and efficiently – with the option to revisit at a later time. NOTE: There are limits to the number of characters you are allotted in each section. You’ll have to be creative to utilize the space to your best advantage.

 

FINAL NOTE: LinkedIn users with completed profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through its website. That means you need to upload a current and professional résumé, work on getting connected with at least 500 (yes 500) people to give your profile weight. And be sure to utilize the Summary section, as most people don’t take the time to fill this part out. Follow these steps and you will ensure that your LinkedIn profile hits the mark. - LJJ