Thursday, May 24, 2012

Will LinkedIn Help You Find Your Dream Job?



LinkedIn is, well, let's just see what Wikipedia has to say.
LinkedIn (NYSE: LNKD) is a business-related social networking site. Founded in December 2002 and launched in May 2003, it is mainly used for professional networking. As of 9 February 2012, LinkedIn reports more than 150 million registered users in more than 200 countries and territories.  The site is available in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Romanian, Russian, Turkish, Japanese, Czech and Polish. Quantcast reports LinkedIn has 21.4 million monthly unique U.S. visitors and 47.6 million globally. In June 2011, LinkedIn had 33.9 million unique visitors, up 63 percent from a year earlier and surpassing MySpace. LinkedIn filed for an initial public offering in January 2011 and traded its first shares on May 19, 2011, under the NYSE symbol "LNKD".
What a mouth full.  I should have just typed it's an (a)social networking job site.  Many people have profiles on this site, and like many, I did too.  Well, until about five minutes ago. I never really used the site, nor did I find my dream job from it, but I had an account nonetheless.  I decided it was silly, however, and got rid of it.  

Is my life any better now that I got rid of it?  Not really.  But it's no worse either.  You see, I never really expected to find my dream job (or any other job) from the site, even though at one time I spent some time making an in depth resume and adding a few of my friends and college classmates to my contacts. However, that being said, I have never been asked at an interview about my presence on the site, nor did I ever get an interview or job lead from LinkedIn.  I never found much use out of the site and I never could understand how it could be the job magnet that morning news shows tried to make it out to be.

According to Wikipedia: LinkedIn has also been praised for its usefulness in fostering business relationships. That's great!  However, to me it was just another (a)social networking site, and for that reason I let it go.  I do not know a single person who has used it to get a job, or has been helped by LinkedIn in finding a job.  Perhaps I am friends with people in the wrong field?  However, that being said, I think LinkedIn - like other (a)social networking sites on the internet, having a profile there, and making a profile (and babysitting that profile) - is a huge waste of time.

Most people would agree that making a resume is important in a job hunt.  Many also agree that a good cover letter is important.  Some would say that spelling words correctly on an application and not using textspeak is also something one should do when job hunting.  Some people even may go as far as to say that researching the company you are applying for is important.  Myths and legends speak of people who dress up for an interview and have rehearsed the interview in advance.  However, should one also keep their LinkedIn profile current, just in case?  Perhaps this is a waste of time that could be devoted to another job-hunting task.  Perhaps the marginal cost of being on LinkedIn is too high, and the marginal benefit of having a profile set up and checked in on is too low?

Could it be argued that being on LinkedIn may hurt some applicants?  Well, if someone has information or writings on the internet they are embarrassed of, they may not want to be on LinkedIn.  It is said that a person should always search their name or their internet screen names.  It is a good idea to make sure that your presence on the internet is clean.  Many things on the internet can be a pain in the rear to get rid of, and if a prospective employer finds uncouth media placed by thou on the internet, you may lose the chance of a very lucrative position.  I have heard stories of things posted on sites such as Facebook and Myspace disqualifying people from jobs and college admissions.  People feel invincible on the internet.  You can be whoever you want to be.  You may say something that would have got you punched in the face had it been a face-to-face conversation.  You can lie about how great you are, because nobody can see that you are a pale and frail 23 year old kid who is clad only in Spongebob Boxers behind that faint computer screen glow.

The verdict is still out whether if LinkedIn is good for job hunting.  I never saw it as anything more than a professional (a)social networking site.  I even heard of it called an "Adult Facebook".  I don't know what exactly that means, but if it's compared to Facebook, it can't be too good, right?

Have you had any luck being LinkedIn?  If so, share with us in the comments below.

16 comments:

  1. After having LinkedIn for a year, I can say I've had zero job offers/leads. And I always found the utility that allows you to keep tabs on who views your profile a little strange. Deleted and I won't miss it.

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  2. I don't use LinkedIn for job search purposes. However, my work involves a lot of networking and often finding common connections helps. What LinkedIn has definitely been most useful for in a professional context was using it (in addition to other sources of information) for coming up with a list of candidates to be shortlisted for an expert panel that we needed for a study. Eventually two of the experts in the final panel were drawn from the LinkedIn list, and they have proven to be first class contributors to our work. So from that perspective, it has been really very useful.

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  3. I found my current job through LinkedIn. I've helped my company look for new hires by messaging some of my connections. I receive a new job interview offer almost every single week. I received 3 job offers in one day last week.

    I find LinkedIn tremendously helpful. You can check out my profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/josephlei

    I think everyone should have a LinkedIn profile! Note: I don't work for LinkedIn.

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  4. He works for LinkedIn.

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  5. 3 job offers in a day? Surely you do not represent the average segment of the population. The only way someone is going to get three job offers from LinkedIn (which is a horrible name by the way -- does it annoy anyone else?) is if they have some type of skill that is seriously lacking.

    Either that, or you were getting scammed. Just my two cents, but thanks for posting -- and my mind is not changed. LinkedIn is, in my opinion, a waste of bandwidth.

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  6. @Jyrad

    Why is it so hard to believe that people actually find LinkedIn tremendously helpful for their everyday jobs and for their careers?

    I worked in the marketing department of a company and we work closely with the sales teams. Nearly everything that the sales and marketing team involves using LinkedIn. We use it to look for prospects, connect with managers in companies that we want to target, and to research someone before we make contact. Without LinkedIn, we'd have to go back to cold calling. With LinkedIn, we can easily reach out the Vice Presidents in other companies.

    Is everyone going to get interview requests on LinkedIn? No. When I first got onto LinkedIn 3 years ago, I didn't have anyone contact me for 2 years. I used LinkedIn to look at profiles with careers that I wanted to head into and built my profile over a span of 3 years to what it is now. I've just recently started to get interview requests every week after 3 years.

    Perhaps I'm getting these interview requests on LinkedIn is because I'm in the heart of Silicon Valley with a degree that is in demand. You're probably not going to find LinkedIn useful if you are a florist living in Montana but it still wouldn't hurt.

    Another thing to note is, almost all recruiters are on LinkedIn looking for employees. That's all they use nowadays to look for qualified employees.

    Here's a screenshot of my LinkedIn inbox with names,pictures, and company names deleted: http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/36/linkedinc.jpg/

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    Replies
    1. what does this screenshot prove? That you got spammed a lot as a LinkedIn member?

      Delete
  7. In what sense were you "building" your profile for 3 years? You mean gaining connections and contacts in the real world, then verifying that online and advertising it?

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  8. @Anonymous

    I signed up with LinkedIn 3 years ago. When I first started, my high school office job was my only listed experience.

    As college went along, I added relevant courses that I took. Then I started getting internships and added those. Towards the end of my college career, I found a field that I liked and started adding work that I've done in that field.

    I'm now a recent graduate with 2 internships, relevant business courses, consulting work I done for businesses while in college, as well as all the skills that I've acquired such as photoshop, HTML, CSS, etc.

    To top it off, I wrote my profile by looking at the top employees currently working in my field. I also look at how they got to their current position and where they started off. Most of them started off as entry level, then manager, then senior manager, then director, and finally VP.

    My point is, you can't just throw out a random profile out there and expect to get job interviews. It doesn't work like that. It's taken me 3 years to get any sort of visibility on LinkedIn but it was well worth it. I feel very confident about my career progression knowing that recruiters are constantly asking me for interview opportunities.

    If you like, you can post your LinkedIn profile here and I can take a look at it for you and make suggestions.

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  9. It seems that you have a system for using LinkedIn that the average person does not have. You have obviously spent a lot of time thinking about your career, which can not be attributed purely to LinkedIn. For example, you focused on honing your skills in HTML, CSS, etc. Further, you researched various employees. You partook in internships while in college. All of those things can not be attributed to LinkedIn, as those were choices you made. LinkedIn was merely the tool you chose to use.

    For the average person, and had you not took the route you chose, I imagine LinkedIn is nowhere near the best way in which to find a job. For a dedicated person, using LinkedIn would probably not make much of a difference. In fact, it may be more of a waste of time than anything else.

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  10. @Anonymous,

    Yes, I've developed a system for using LinkedIn which I have successfully taught several friends.

    LinkedIn doesn't work for everyone but if you live in Silicon Valley like I do, it's absolute must.

    When you send in a resume to a hiring manager, guess what? In my field, they Google my name immediately and my LinkedIn profile is the first thing they'll see.

    LinkedIn is very important to me personally and very important to many people.

    You said LinkedIn is nowhere near the best way to find a job. It depends on what you are talking about. I've had former colleagues forward my LinkedIn profile to a hiring manager. My current job, I found through LinkedIn. I receive job interviews on LinkedIn. If LinkedIn isn't the best way to find a job, I'd like to know what's better out there for me.

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    Replies
    1. I still wonder if you work for LinkedIn.

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    2. No, I already gave you the link to my profile. I work for an marketing agency.

      Delete
  11. LinkedIn is a joke. There is no way that being on that site will up your chances of finding a better job. There may be a few cases of good luck, just like picking up a winning lottery ticket, but if you think that your presence on LinkedIn is going to make you a stronger candidate or more likely to be seen, you are just fooling yourself.

    Also, LinkedIn is full of spam and people who power-add people hoping to increase their chances of getting a job. It has become an obsession for some, probably like our friend who shared his account above. While fishing for LinkedIn friends may get you offers for 'scam-jobs' such as stuffing envelopes, ponzi-schemes, or money laundering positions, you will not find a REAL job on LinkedIn. You've been warned.

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  12. LinkedIn is a tool and for many professionals such as myself, it is a tool with poor performance. During the past three or four years we have allowed our staff to use it. In fact I have encouraged staff who have no interest in social networking to use LinkedIn and post their profiles. And I have closely monitored the results. --- Zilch! Nada! Let's start with what we were expecting to see if it was realistic.

    We simply expected to list factual information as clearly and "scientifically" as possible with as little hype as possible but in decent albeit North American style. The focus was to link to current and prospective research partners, display recommendations of the satisfied and communicate with our various stakeholders through groups. We've utilized most of the various functions. Our area is research and development with related literature.

    Despite active participation and information sharing in groups, we've never had a single purchase related to LinkedIn activities. We've never penetrated a foreign market (even a niche market like ours) with LinkedIn. Most important information or other requests for action to our so-called contacts have gone unanswered (the requests have been directed and personal; not spam). We've stumbled upon numerous cases of impersonation, pornographic profiles, fraudulent companies, attempts to defraud users by other users... they've been reported but few measures have been taken to verify identities and employment. I guess that's our job?

    What's worked? Picking up the telephone and using the age old art of politeness, clearness of speech and talking to another human being. Also personal meetings have brought results much greater than cybernetworking. Several high-profile users we've had contacts with have quit using the service because they feel it pales in comparison to real networking or even a phone call. We've allowed our staff who had profiles to leave them up with the occasional update, but not more "social" networking during work hours and projects. That's our empirically-based conclusion!

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    Replies
    1. I have noticed that the old methods are often the best methods. They are methods that have existed for decades, and sometimes much, much longer for a reason.

      LinkedIn is just another (a)social networking fad. It is something that people will invest time in because they find it fun (for some reason people enjoy (a)social networking). But, in reality it's a MASSIVE waste of time. I am sure there has to be something good about LinkedIn (maybe getting a big picture of your talents and past), but that's not going to get you an actual job. It may be time to put the computer away and return to actual "people-skills," something that (a)social networking FAILS at.

      By the way, good comment, you hit the nail on the head. And more proof that LinkedIn is just a huge marketing ploy brought on to sell internet advertising. And people actually thought they would get a job from it. They are laughing all the way to the bank.

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