How you manage your own personal career is the exact way you manage a small business. Your brand matters. That is how LinkedIn operates. – Reid Hoffman – Cofounder and Chairman of LinkedIn
LinkedIn has over 259 million members in over 200 countries, and over half of the members are in the US.
I work with many job seekers who once they find a job, they stop being active on LinkedIn. I also talk to people with stable jobs, who tell me that they are on LinkedIn but don’t really use it. I will explain:
- Why you should join,
- How LinkedIn will help you as a job seeker
- How it will continue to help you once you landed a job
- Imperative reasons to continue actively contributing to your LinkedIn community once you have landed.
Today LinkedIn is a necessary part of any job search. Talking to one of my connections who is also a recruiter for NASDAQ, who told that he will not even consider a candidate if they are not on LinkedIn. A recent survey from the website http://www.Jobvite.com reported recently that 93% of recruiters use LinkedIn to check on a candidate, and more and more recruiters are using LinkedIn as a primary source for finding candidates. A career counselor at a local One-Stop career center told me that if you are not on LinkedIn, you do not exist.
Three years ago, I learned this the hard way. I was laid off from a job after 12 years and was just learning about LinkedIn. I will tell you from experience, trying to quickly build a network in months that should have been built in years, is not very effective. Contacts who have not heard from you in years are suspicious of your intentions. Instead, it is best to slowly build your network by connecting with colleagues, former classmates, and friends. Keep your network strong by looking for ways to give back. If a former colleague asks for a lead or connection, look for a way to help. Giving back to your network pays back in dividends.
Groups on LinkedIn are another way to help build connections and show that you are an industry thought leader. By joining groups, and taking part in discussions, people will notice you. I have met people at conferences who recognize me from my contributions to groups we both belong to.
On one occasion, I made a connection in a group after taking part in many discussions started by a career counselor who lived locally. When a job opened up in his office, I asked him for any insight before the interview. He responded by offering to have a phone chat before the interview, filling me in on office culture and what I should emphasize during the interview.
I finally landed a job after being laid off for more than 2 years. I have been at my current job for 10 months, but I continue to blog about my industry and share my knowledge on LinkedIn. As a result, a few months ago, I got a call from the director of alumni services at Fitchburg State University, asking me to present a workshop on resumes. The director told me that she had been watching my contributions to their alumni group on LinkedIn and was impressed with my work.
Passive recruiting is an additional benefit of staying active on LinkedIn. My former director has been recruited a few times in this manner. This kind of recruiting is becoming more and more common.
Once you land a job, it is important to continue to be an active participant on LinkedIn. Today there are no recession-proof jobs, and the average time that anyone can expect to stay on a job is 4 years. I have heard from some of my recent clients who have already been laid off after a few months, and this was after being unemployed for a period of more than 12 months. It is important to stay active on LinkedIn and continue to give back to your network, so that when you are in need again, your network will be willing to help you.
So in summary, here are the reasons you need to be on and active on LinkedIn:
- Networking, Networking, Networking… over 80% of jobs are landed by networking. Even those who site finding a job opening on the internet used networking to find a connection and/or have their application viewed.
- You do not exist if you are not on LinkedIn. Many recruiters will not consider you if you are not present on LinkedIn. You need to not only join LinkedIn, but you need to have a strong profile and be an active contributor.
- And finally, as there are no recession-proof jobs, it is necessary to continue networking after you have a job. Give back to your network and they will give to you.
By day, Rachelle, working mother of two, serves as an education advocate and career advisor for MassEdCO. By night, Rachelle provided career consulting and works to promote green energy. When Rachelle is not writing her blog, advising her students, or coaching her clients, she enjoys camping and going to the theater with her two children.