YES! LinkedIn is the standard online branding tool in the marketplace. Owing to its immense network-effect advantage where not being on LinkedIn is a disadvantage for job-seekers, you simply have to be “in it to win it.” Hiring managers and recruiters are using LinkedIn extensively as part of the search process. Maintaining a presence on LinkedIn could lead them right to you. If you have a job and are not necessarily looking, having your LinkedIn profile up to date is still imperative. Below are some reasons why LinkedIn matters to you and suggestions on how to keep it relevant so it remains a tool that works for you.
20 million users and growing
The number of people on LinkedIn keeps growing and growing. Like Facebook, many people don’t want to have to use it, but the convenience of being able to network quickly through the internal system and receive regular updates is too compelling to ignore.
Despite automated search bots, human recruiters still use it to find you
Yes, automatic searches on LinkedIn run by big staffing companies may not lead the best job leads for you, but human recruiters who apply a bit of logic are out there and potentially looking for you. If you don’t have a profile up, how can they find you?
The longer you are in your career the connections in your past can seem out of reach and too far out of mind. LinkedIn can limit that feeling by providing you with updates about people from your first job out of college back in 1999 and spur you to re-connect. These types of reminders can boost the odds that people from your past remember you and you them, and with some engagement increase the chances that they will help you.
The minimum you need to do
Upload a current, and professional quality photo. The worst thing about LinkedIn that can be a brand-wrecker is the photo. The empty photo just makes your profile look so incomplete. Adding a photo is a net plus. After getting a decent photo of yourself, have your most recent jobs (from last 7-10 years) listed correctly — company name, job title, and years. Make sure you include some compelling content. This does not mean you should list everything on your résumé. Include enough strong information to whet someone’s appetite.
LinkedIn is a powerful tool, one that should not be ignored. To do so, you will significantly hamper your job search activities and eliminate your odds of being found in a critical online forum.
Debra Wheatman is a certified writer and career coach who has guided the professional development of thousands of clients globally. She is reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org.