I’ll never forget the conversation I had with a senior marketing professional at Hubspot’s INBOUND Conference about a year ago.
We sat next to each other in one of the sessions and gradually ended up talking about the weather, Boston, recruiting, and entry-level jobs, probably in that order. At that point, I was just beginning my job search and expressed my frustrations formatting a résumé specifically for each position I applied to.
His words: “Don’t bother. When I hire, I only use résumés to search for the person’s name on LinkedIn. Then, I throw the paper résumé out and just read their profile.”
At first, this tendency struck me as strange, unfair even. What about all the students and interns out there that didn’t even use that platform?
As I reflected on it more, and eventually, as I met and spoke to more senior leaders, I started to see that his reasoning made perfect sense. And, needless to say, I spruced up my profile immediately.
Robust Platform = Show Your Work More Easily
A piece of paper that lists your skills and accomplishments in plain, bulleted, black ink: not an exciting way to show yourself off.
A social media profile accessible at any time, with the ability to link to specific projects, skill endorsements, and other members of your network: a significantly more exciting way to show yourself off.
LinkedIn is effectively the future of the résumé. The world’s getting increasingly digital and social, and a lot of the platform’s features capitalize on those trends. Some of my personal favorites include the connection/project link tool, which allows you to display connections that helped you with a project, and the endorsement tool, which lets connections “+1” the skills you display on your profile.
Having a LinkedIn helps hiring managers locate your information (what do you think the lifespan of a single piece of paper on somebody’s desk is?) and gives them a fuller view of you as a candidate. Therefore, it’s well in your best interest to have one!
LinkedIn Profile = Digital/Social Savvy
Having a LinkedIn profile immediately shows future employers two things: you understand the importance of digitally branding yourself and you’re at least somewhat competent with social media.
Why would somebody hire you for a marketing position if you couldn’t immediately prove that you value two of the largest channels in the field?
Even outside of marketing, employers from all industries are beginning to value social and digital competency more and more. Not having a LinkedIn could easily be (mis)interpreted as a lack of skill or knowledge of new technologies. It might not make or break an application, but it’s akin to a more “conventional” job-hunting faux pas, like spelling a word on your résumé wrong or using your ridiculous childhood email address in a professional setting.
Recommendations = Very Important
The best feature on LinkedIn by far is called “recommendations.” Just as the name implies, this tool allows past and current coworkers, teachers, and bosses to write recommendations for your work that are publicly displayed on your profile.
Have you ever heard a manager describe a candidate and say something along the lines of, “They looked great on paper, but when we brought them in to interview, we knew right away it wasn’t a good fit”? Recommendations nearly eliminate that problem.
Anecdotal feedback about your accomplishments, work ethic, and personality add quite a bit depth to your candidate profile. A few solid recommendations can show a recruiter that you’re not only the right professional fit but the right cultural fit for the job as well.
Have any other LinkedIn tips? Let us know in the comments.