LinkedIn is one of those things that you either want to do it right or not at all.
The benefits of having an All-Star LinkedIn profile:
- You can be easily contacted by your network (and beyond) for any of the following:
- career opportunities
- job inquiries
- expertise requests
- reference requests
- getting back in touch
- consulting offers
- business deals
An increasingly popular trend, employers and recruiters are checking your social media profiles as part of their informal screening processes, especially your LinkedIn profile.
Busy recruiters don’t check every single applicant’s LinkedIn profile if the resume shows all three ingredients of the Holy Trinity. As a job seeker with a killer resume, you really don’t need a LinkedIn profile when you don’t have time or don’t want to make time for managing yet another social media account. My role of thumb as a recruiter for checking an applicant’s profile is to validate one or more of the following:
- Missing Contact Information:
- No kidding. I’ve received many resumes without their phone number and email address. Most of the time I ignore them for obvious reasons but I do try to reach out to some that look promising.
- Omitted Job History:
- This is more commonly seen with experienced professionals with more than 15 years of experience. Sometimes candidates try to shorten the length of the resume OR avoid possible age discrimination. My recommendation is to include all but keep the older, irrelevant job history short such as listing companies, years and titles only. If you omit most of your work history without an explanation, it would look suspicious. “How did s/he have all these experiences and titles within 10 years?” “Does s/he own the company?”
Also, the employer will find out about your age eventually- you wouldn’t want to work for an employer who would devalue your worth based on your age, would you? So why waste your time appearing to be ‘younger’ and to be disappointed or dismissed or mistreated later? If you worry about being excluded due to the possible compensation concerns (“Oh s/he’s definitely too expensive for this role with 20 years of experience”), it wouldn’t hurt to include your salary history and expectations along with your explanation such as looking for a career change or enjoying more hands-on projects.
Try to include the reasons for gaps in employment history if possible and appropriate. If you went back to school full-time, state it. If you took a sabbatical, say it. Any legitimate reason without disclosing any or much of your protected class.
- Omitted Graduation Year:
- Again, this is more commonly seen with experienced professionals. No point to hide and it may create some confusion, “Did s/he graduate?” “Is s/he still in school? (We’re looking for graduates only!)” “What year is s/he? (We’re looking for juniors/seniors only for those internships!)”
- Conflicting Location:
- Please explain in your resume if (1) your current work location is nowhere close to your home address, (2) the position you’re applying is nowhere close to your current home address, or (3) the location of your current education institute is nowhere close to your current home address or the position you’re applying (without explanations, I often assume it’s an online program or the person is passively pursuing the degree while working full-time).
- “Do I know this person?” “Oh wait… Bob from Accounting used to work for the same employer during the time when the person was there. Let me check if they know each other.” “Wow…she’s the organizer of a networking group that my friend always goes to. Let me check if my friend knows her.”
- I can’t stress more about the importance of maintaining your professional reputations. Trust me- people remember things about you, especially when you’re stellar or horrible. I hope you’re the former.
- Missing Target Skills or Results
- I check the profile to validate the stated experience in the resume when the applicant didn’t include the target skills (e.g. specific software or technical skills) or results (e.g. executed marketing campaigns with 10 million budget and gained 5% market share in the US healthcare industry within a year)
- Missing (Required) Work Samples or Portfolio
- It’s an unspoken rule that you should have your own website(s) or links to showcase your work for certain occupations such as designers or developers.
- Missing Information that We Asked You to Include in the Resume
- For example: Your resume looks great but we have ten facilities with three shifts in the same city. You don’t answer your phone and we really need to know (or guess) what shift or location you would like to work.
- Any Other Discrepancy
Takeaway for all: invest your time in building both your own professional portfolio and networks either offline or online.