It can take a long while to see the point of using Linkedin, especially if you’re lucky enough to already have the job you want but there’s been a group epiphany at IMAGE Towers of late (we’re rarely early adapters unless you’re talking fashion). Not only is The Link a fabulous recruitment tool, it’s also the ultimate business card- no printing costs, you can always have one to hand and it doesn’t get all hairy at the bottom of your purse. Our preferred social media platform du jour also provides a home to all those folk you want to ‘know’ but preferably only between the hours of nine to five. Friending was always such an awkward grey area.
At the opposite end of the foodchain, if you’re looking for a job or ever planning to be in the market for one, The Link really delivers, too. We know first-hand in this very room (no Urban Legends here) of not one but two Irish people who got their dream jobs, and we mean Dream with a big D*, in a matter of weeks without a piece of paper ever having been exchanged and more importantly without an ad ever having been placed – a concept old school management has serious trouble grappling with. People can’t help but look at profiles all the time- they’re pretty compulsive viewing. Once they look, they inevitably connect the dots for use at some point if not immediately so never scrimp on detail when building your profile. Don’t delude yourself- this is one self-promotion tool that isn’t optional anymore.
If you are in career transition, joining alumni groups from college to check out postings is a good idea and according to digital expert Krishna De, “LinkedIn is a great platform to keep up to speed with news about organisations and their current vacancies by following Company Pages and participating in Groups.” There’s no harm in contacting companies even if they haven’t posted any vacancies.
In lieu of a site like Glassdoor, which is big in the States and gives prospective employees a glimpse inside the HR practices of big companies by revealing average career trajectories, employee comments and even interview questions from anonymous insiders, you can do loads of detective work on Linkedin if you’re motivated. If you’re considering a position at a company, identify current and past employees, trace their CVs back and forward and you will get a pretty good idea of whether a company is a good fit for you or not.
The one area that disappoints is Endorsements. Just as Trip Advisor is inflated with false reviews, friends and relatives who have absolutely no idea whatsoever of people’s skills or work manner are usually the very first to tick boxes. Recommendations are another matter- the pull-out quotes from past employers are excellent sources of information (and so are the lack thereof). In a small country like Ireland, the cross-referencing power of shared connections is nearly best of all, though- it’s not a case of six degrees of separation so much as two. In other words, if you have a few hundred connections under your belt, you’re pretty much guaranteed to be able to track down the truth about an applicant’s skillset and nous very fast. Then all you have to do is direct message them.
It’s key to keep recommendations up to date- the first thing you should do when you leave somewhere or are about to leave is nail some references for your profile. Going back to an employer months or years after you’ve left and asking them for a few words is like pulling teeth, even if you worked like a Trojan.
For the time being, it’s the best platform out there and we’re busting a gut to get to the magic 500+ connections (do you get a special screen like when you get to the last level of a video game?). The Wall Street Journal is set to launch their own version later in the year but until then the only burning question is whether to upgrade your Linkedin to Premium or not. It’s a pity even that doesn’t allow you to customise your CV display or let you snoop deeper into old boyfriends’ histories without them knowing. But at least you can block them from seeing yours unless they’ve upgraded, too.
Check out our new LinkedIn Page (and yes we are recruiting now – for our advertising department)
* Marketing at Jo Malone London and Creative Development at Anthropologie Philadelphia