LinkedIn’s stock opened at $45 a year and a half ago. It now sells for $120 per share. Unlike Facebook, one of the primary reasons it has done so well is that LinkedIn found its “killer app” early on and built a business model around it.
For recruiters, LinkedIn is the largest (now 200 million members) and most current database of business professionals in the world. For job seekers, it’s a portal into new opportunities, connections and references.
To learn more about its capabilities as a recruiting tool, we posted an open account supervisor position for our D.C. office on LinkedIn. The resumes have been coming directly to me for the past month. The applicants are unfiltered by a recruiter or the HR department, so that means I felt the direct shot of the power of LinkedIn. As the hiring manager, I learned a good deal about using the online tool and how job candidates can better marketing themselves for posted positions.
Because of the volume generated by LinkedIn, hiring managers have the luxury of trying to find exactly what they are looking for without having to dig too hard to find it. We quickly scan the email summary and the attachments. As a result, candidates need to pay close attention to these six areas:
1. Actually read the job description – Hiring managers and HR personnel spend a great deal of time defining the requirements of open positions. Adapt your resume to highlight those areas that best match what companies are looking for. Don’t make them connect the dots, because they won’t. They’ve already moved on to the next candidate.
2. Customize your cover letter – Tell us why you’re the right candidate for the position in the cover letter, especially if you can’t link it on your resume. Make a compelling case as to why we should spend additional time looking at your resume and background. A generic cover letter is a waste of time -- a sure way to take yourself out of the race.
3. Know that we will check you out – If we find someone we like, we’ll spend time checking that person’s LinkedIn profile, the current and former employers, as well as the candidate’s social profile. For example, a resume that caught my attention was eliminated from the process because I couldn’t find his last two employers on the Web. The takeaway? Companies go out of business or are acquired all the time. Make sure your resume reflects or notes that change. Know that we will “Google” you.
4. Boost your brand mentions – Recruiting firms use keyword searches to pull resumes. I scan resumes also looking for them, too. Again, because of the need for speed, certain words pop. Brand-name companies caught my attention -- whether the candidate worked for them or had them as a client. Schools you attended, the types of skills you have, and your accomplishments, especially if they were award-winning, are all key. I notice the number of LinkedIn connections and references. It does matter, particularly because I’m looking for a good marketer.
5. Using a connection or connections works – Leverage your LinkedIn connections to find a common link to the hiring manager or job poster for an introduction. I trust the recommendations of people I’ve worked with in the past. Do your homework. The closer the connection to the hiring manager or recruiter, the better chance it will get you noticed.
6. Get to the point quickly – I have found executive education programs to be confusing. It took too much of my time to figure out if you graduated or took only a class. Consider moving the latter under skills or experience rather than under education. I also found resumes that were more than two pages too long to read. A summary is good to have upfront, but don’t go beyond more than a third of the page. Highlight experience quickly.
Talent is the lifeblood of an agency and, for that matter, most companies. What you think, say and produce grows our business. We need you, and we have jobs. Help make it easier for us to find you by linking your experience and expertise to our needs. Hurry, I need someone, like yesterday.