With 130 million profiles on professional networking website LinkedIn, there’s great potential for you to increase your professional visibility among those in your industry and beyond. It would be almost silly not to consider the benefit of actively participating in LinkedIn’s social networking as well as maintaining an up-to-date resume. But despite the fact that social media networks are fast becoming a primary form of communication for millions of users, some people aren’t quite convinced that a social network for professionals is worth their time.
There’s evidence, however, that social networks are useful for the job market: more hiring managers are turning to social networks like LinkedIn to find and screen potential job candidates. And since many recruiters use LinkedIn, you should ensure that you know everything that they know about the online resource. LinkedIn can create visibility for prospective employees and employers. LinkedIn helps to link each industry in a small web-based community, and when you seek to become a part of that community, you may find your options broadening at the same time.
While your resume is a unique document that can make you stand out, LinkedIn is essential in today's job market. That means it’s important that your resume and your LinkedIn profile work together in your job search. There should be similarities between your LinkedIn profile and your resume, but the two should complement each other, and serve to give HR professionals a more complete picture of you as a potential employee.
LinkedIn vs. resume
Although your LinkedIn profile and resume should be somewhat similar, one of the fundamental differences between your LinkedIn presence and your resume should be the tone. Your resume should serve as a “just the facts” report of your work, skills and educational background. It should also provide a recruiter an organized copy of your quantifiable success and career history. Often, companies require that a cover letter accompany your resume when applying for jobs. A cover letter gives you a chance to stand apart from candidates with similar professional backgrounds. Similarly, LinkedIn combines the uses of a cover letter and resume. Using a LinkedIn profile can be a real asset during your job search.
But although your resume should be somewhat cut-and-dried, your LinkedIn profile should be more detailed and provide more information about you. LinkedIn allows you to expand on your skills, education and experience in a much friendlier and congenial tone than a formal resume. LinkedIn also encourages you to combine the two purposes of your profile and resume, giving hiring managers a good idea of your personality as well as what you can bring to the table in terms of your professional background.
Leveraging social media
The modern workforce has become increasingly more reliant on social networking. From high school to post-secondary learning, students and workers alike are integrating technology into their everyday lives. Since LinkedIn’s features include the opportunity to write recommendations of your peers, colleagues and managers, it creates a platform on which you can give a full presentation of professional objectives and your personality to your target industry. Don’t be afraid to add multimedia to your LinkedIn profile: slideshow presentations you’ve done for school or other jobs, video, and other media can show a side of you and your professional experience that hiring managers almost never see in a simple resume.
With the use of smartphones and tablets on the rise, particularly with the younger generation of job seekers, using social networking as an effective job search tool is critical to today's mobile culture. Keep that in mind while you craft your LinkedIn profile: while your profile should be designed to show more of your abilities and strengths, it should still strike a balance between detail and conciseness. Smartphones are becoming as user-friendly and as powerful as computers, but a profile that’s easy to read from a smartphone might make the difference between drawing readers in and readers skipping over a profile.
Don't ignore the power of LinkedIn
While it’s still vital for job seekers to make real life contacts and build professional relationships, it would be unwise to ignore the power that LinkedIn wields in the professional world. The best idea is to maintain both your real world contacts as well as cultivating an online presence.