Does Your LinkedIn Profile Stack Up?
By: Steve Gibson, TalentServed
Have the experience lately of finding the perfect job online, sending in your resume, and getting zero response? It might be due to your LinkedIn profile, or lack of one if you haven’t yet created one.
In the digital age of hiring that we’ve grown into over the last decade, the number one source of information on candidates isn’t their resumes anymore. Instead, it’s right at every hiring authority’s fingertips…Google.
Researching the Candidate
The beginning of today’s vetting process works like this: you submit your resume in response to an ad or job posting. The hiring authority receives it and will look quickly for key information that (dis)qualifies you for the job. If your professional experience has potential to be a match, it’s Google time!
Search your name and see what comes up. No mug shot? Good start, keep digging.
Search for you on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. Do they all look clean?
Click through to the hiring authority’s favorite site to validate your resume — LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is where we make sure the dots are connected. Does the stated job history on your profile page match up with your resume? Are the dates exactly the same? Job titles exactly the same? Does the listed education match up with what‘s on the resume? Is the person’s image professional?
If the answer is YES to all of those questions, congratulations! You passed the online screen and are likely to get the interview.
If the answer is NO to any of those questions, you have just injected doubt into the hiring authority’s mind about your truthfulness or professionalism and will most likely NOT get that interview.
Controlling the Message
The stakes are high but the solution is simple. If you are responding to job ads online, someone on the receiving end will search for information about you to help them decide if they will engage with you or not. Use this knowledge to your advantage and be in control of what they are going to find.
Any discussion of vetting candidates by checking their social media profiles without mentioning other primary sites wouldn’t be sufficient. If you are active on any social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., the smartest move you can make is to ensure your posts are private. And, if you choose to allow your posts to be public, be sure to keep it clean! Nothing will kill your chances of getting a new job faster than the hiring authority discovering profanity or other offensive materials in your Facebook feed.
Optimizing Your LinkedIn Presence
If you do not have a LinkedIn profile page, set one up now. Why? LinkedIn is today’s universal resume database. Having a profile page does not mean you are looking for a job; but, it does allow you to manage your professional brand, make contacts that can help advance your career and gain credibility within your field. If you are a member of today’s workforce, you will most likely change jobs at some point and when you do, LinkedIn is your friend.
It’s not enough to simply have a profile page, it has to be 100% accurate. Go to your profile and double check the details. Are the job titles listed in your experience section exactly the same as the titles on your resume? Are the dates of your employment (months and years) exactly the same as what’s on your resume? Are your educational achievements captured on your profile page and do they perfectly match your resume? Hiring authorities are looking for any discrepancy they can find and even the slightest discrepancy between your resume and Linkedin profile may be enough to disqualify you.
Then there’s the issue of your profile picture. Selfies of you hugging on a friend are not what’s needed here. Nor is a picture of you holding a can of beer or glass of wine. Unless you are a sommelier; in that case, I highly encourage you to have wine in your picture!
The very best profile pics are those that show you in your environment doing what you do best. If you are a Chef, a photo of you showing off your knife skills is perfect. If you are the General Manager of a fine dining restaurant, a picture of you dressed to kill in front of a wall to ceiling wine rack would hit the mark. You get the idea. We’d much rather see you naturally in your professional environment than wearing an uncomfortable smile and an ill-fitting suit.
Whatever you do, don’t be one of those people that has no profile picture. It sends the message to the hiring authority that you may not be comfortable in your own skin. The lack of a picture leaves you with no identity, no personality and diminishes greatly the chance a hiring authority will stay on your profile page long enough to completely read through your credentials.
The digital age is upon us and every job applicant has to consider their Internet tattoo. What story are you telling online beyond your resume? The reality is that your LinkedIn profile has replaced the resume and will deliver the first impression you make to employers in pursuit of your next job. Make it a good one!
Now that you have created an awesome profile, let’s connect!