Is Linkedin Changing the Face of Recruitment?

Is Linkedin Changing the Face of Recruitment?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 10 years, you’ve probably heard a fair bit about the professional social network Linkedin. Its success has changed the working world in many positive ways, allowing us to stay in touch with other professionals and network from the comfort of our desk. But the area most fundamentally affected by the rise of Linkedin has to be that of recruitment, with a vast majority of employers now reporting that they have recruited someone via the online platform.

Outside of Linkedin, the most common way of recruiting for mid to high level experience positions is through head-hunters and search firms. These professionals have a database of potential candidates at their fingertips and are constantly scouting for new talent. This means that when a new position becomes available, the head-hunter can match a potential candidate to the post and act as a mediator between company and employee. The ever-growing usage of Linkedin means that more and more of this personal information stored in headhunter databases is publically available, and so employers are increasingly choosing to recruit independently in this way. But is this a good thing?

Sure, it’s an incredible feat that Linkedin have achieved. Employers now have a seemingly infinite pool of candidates at their disposal, which means that they’re bound to find the right person for the job, right? Not necessarily. Employers choosing to recruit in this way are missing out on the personalised filtration of candidates provided by head-hunters. Admittedly, there are filters available on Linkedin that will allow you to select based upon level of education, experience, amongst other factors, but what is lacking is the human aspect. Linkedin cannot tell you whether a candidate is willing to move for a new opportunity, or whether they are interested in working in the relevant sector. A head-hunter would already know this information before presenting the company with potential candidates, thus preventing time wasted pursuing candidates who were never going to be interested in the first place.

For candidates too, the prevalence of Linkedin based recruitment can pose a problem. With recruiters, candidates only have to have one conversation about their professional goals, flexibility, desired salary etc. whereas when recruitment is done directly between individuals and companies, the candidates are obliged to repeat the same information each time they speak to a new company, often without any results.

Recruitment services provide a personal touch to the whole process. Naturally, a human can understand you and your needs, be you a candidate or an employer, much better than a simple Linkedin search can. Technology is encroaching on a variety of sectors of work, but recruitment is not yet ready for this takeover; it is to be resisted if we want efficient, personalised recruitment rather than a quick fix that ultimately doesn’t work.

If you enjoyed this blog, you can read more of the same here, and why not try out a recruitment service yourself? Take a look at our offers and send us your CV today!

The French vs. the British

Talk of cultural differences has fuelled the love-hate relationship between the French and British for centuries.  Yet, for the first time, some groundbreaking research in the name of LinkedIn buzzwords could distinguish the French frogs from the British rosbifs.  The largest professional networking site has released the top ten most common words to feature on its users’ profiles in 2014 in both France and Britain.  So, in light of this, how differently do the French and British describe themselves in a professional context?

Firstly, here’s a copy of the top 10 buzzwords or mots clés for both countries:


Interestingly, both the French and the British overwhelmingly described themselves as “creative”, “motivated”, “passionate” and “strategic” in the workplace.  So far then, so much in common.

Yet after this, slight differences between the two nationalities begin to surface.  According to LinkedIn, the French are self-declared “experts” with a “specialist” skill set.  The British, on the other hand, believe themselves to have a “wide range” of abilities.

Contextually, this doesn’t really come as a surprise.  Hierarchy in France is very much respected and getting to the top requires years of studying, so to call oneself an expert in a certain field is to be held in the highest esteem.  The majority of professions require a corresponding Masters degree and a considerable change in career is notably harder to achieve in France.  The British, on the other hand, are relatively more lax about degree titles and regard professional experience as more important.  What they lack in educational expertise, they make up for with a proven “track record” of “extensive experience” as well as “drive” and “enthusiasm” (or so they claim)!

The critical difference, however, is that the French declare themselves to possess “international experience” and “multicultural” skills, noticeably absent from their British counterparts’ list.  With the global business language being English, perhaps the Brits feel international experience to be less vital.  The French, on the other hand, faced with a more challenging economic situation, may feel obliged to prove themselves capable of adapting to foreign markets.

Nonetheless, LinkedIn has such a considerable following in both countries it seems that the world is getting smaller rather than bigger.  The fact that both French and British workers have chosen to use an American networking site to sell their skills suggests a move towards the international worker, where cultural specificities are becoming irrelevant on the global market.

So, with these points in mind, what does your LinkedIn profile say about you?  Do you use more English or French buzzwords?  If any at all?  On a final alternative note, an interesting outlier comes from the Netherlands where “sustainable” made the list of top ten buzzwords last year: does this mean their offices are filled with environmental enthusiasts?

If you liked this article, take a look at our blog for more.  And if you’re currently looking for a job, whether you’re French or British (or any other nationality for that matter), consult our job offers here.

Comment gérer votre e-réputation bien

Récemment, j’ai lu un article, ‘Must-have Job Skills in 2013’ et il ressort que l’une des compétences désirée et nécessaire est le <<personal branding>>. L’influence des réseaux sociaux est incontestable si l’on en juge par la croissance de Facebook, de Twitter,  de LinkedIn ces dernières années. Malgré la perception erronée qu’il vaut mieux éviter les réseaux sociaux, il vous faut profiter de cette occasion pour contrôler et optimiser votre image professionnelle.

Image via s_falkow

Pourquoi être présent sur les réseaux sociaux ? D’abord, l’internet est la première étape de recherche pour les recruteurs donc il est nécessaire de saisir la chance pour donner la meilleure première impression. En outre, les entreprises commencent à reconnaître le pouvoir des réseaux sociaux. De plus en plus entreprises demandent à leurs employés à de tweeter sur leur nom, d’écrire un blog, afin de contribuer effectivement au développement des médias sociaux d’entreprise. Il est donc essentiel que vous sachiez comment utiliser les médias sociaux à votre avantage. Finalement,  vous pouvez vous représenter  comme un expert dans votre domaine et cela permet de vous ouvrir les portes plus facilement. Donc, ce serait une erreur de croire que l’on peut ignorer les réseaux sociaux.

Afin de bien vous représenter bien, décidez les meilleurs méthodes et moyens pour communiquer. Commencez par être présent sur les réseaux sociaux principaux cela  veut dire Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn.), écrivez des blogs pour démontrer votre savoir-faire, interconnectez vous en partageant des articles de vos connections et répondez aux questions et discussions sur les forums. Pour être efficace, ne partagez que des articles etc., donnez votre avis et partagez vos pensées. Toutefois, n’hésitez pas à montrer votre vie en dehors du travail, il est important de montrer vos intérêts et votre sens  de l’humour pour bien faire savoir que vous êtes humain ! Ces mesures contribueraient à bien établir votre e-réputation.

Il faut cependant considérer les choses à ne pas faire pour optimiser votre <<personal branding>>. Premièrement, un profil incomplet est une erreur très facile à éviter.  Comme je l’ai déjà dit, vos comptes de réseaux sociaux sont votre première impression et un profil incomplet peut donner une impression que vous êtes paresseux et vous vous souciez peu de votre image. A noter également qu’une présence inconsistante nuit à votre efficacité en ligne. Essayez de mettre à jour vos comptes régulièrement ainsi que les transmissions des nouvelles et la maintenance des rapports en ligne. Sans aucun doute, la chose la plus importante  à retenir est qu’il est essentiel de toujours présentez une image professionnelle de vous. 69% de recruteurs ont rejeté un candidat à cause de son image représentée sur les réseaux sociaux. Les principales raisons ? 13% ont menti sur ses qualifications, 11% ont dénoncé son chef ou ses collègues et 10% ont publié un contenu inapproprié. N’oubliez pas qu’il est très facile d’accéder aux informations et les gaffes en ligne ont une tendance à réapparaître. Par conséquent ayez la sagesse rétrospective et pensez bien avant de publier en ligne !

Naturellement, il faut être sensible aux pièges des réseaux sociaux mais leur croissance marque indéniablement un changement sur lequel on doit s’adapter.

Alors, qu’attendez-vous ? Inscrivez-vous et créez votre e-réputation !

Job Seeker Top Tips

As you embark on your job search, the amount of job search methods on offer may seem daunting. Amongst the plethora of job boards, social networks, agencies and job fairs there are certainly plenty of different leads to choose from. We’ve set out the different tools at your disposal below and encourage you to work with all of them in order to multiply your chances of getting that elusive job offer.

Job Boards

Job boards are a great indicator of the jobs on offer and the state of the job market in general. The concept of job boards is straightforward: you can search for job offers and send in your CV and cover letter or you can post your CV as a speculative application. By registering with a job board, you will be able to save a keyword search tailored to your job search and receive job alerts suited to your profile. Nowadays, most job boards are available online with the big players in the job board domain being Monster, Career Builder, LinkedIn and APEC (for those residing in France).  In order to use job boards effectively, keep in mind to use a variety of job boards, such as broad-based job search engines such as Indeed and sector-specific search engines for example, Village de la Justice for the legal sector, to get the best return of results.

Recruitment Agencies

Many potential employers use recruitment agencies to handle their recruitments so they are an essential medium for you. Recruitment agencies are free for job searchers as it is the clients who pay for the service. The process of recruitment agencies is simple: you apply for a job advertised on their site or send in your CV and if successful, you will be called in for an interview. After the interview, the recruitment consultants will find the candidate suitable job offers and forward the candidate onto the prospective employer. The recruitment consultants should keep in touch with the candidate and deliver feedback to both the candidate and the client. A good recruitment agency will also advise you on your CV, interview technique and job search, potentially becoming  a career partner throughout your professional life. As above, there are broad based recruitment agencies and specialised agencies, for example TM International deals with the recruitment of bilingual admin jobs in Paris, so make the most of the variety of recruitment agencies on offer.

Social Networking

Businesses regularly use social networks to advertise job vacancies. Do your research, look for businesses you wish to target and follow their Facebook and Twitter accounts for their latest job offers.  Furthermore, take advantage of the Twitter hash tag and search for job vacancies that are suited to your profile. Keep your eye on the ball and visit business social network accounts regularly.

Professional Networking Sites

LinkedIn and Viadéo are where the majority of recruiters do their headhunting. In fact, a recent survey has shown that more than 98% of recruiters use LinkedIn, so this is a great way to look for jobs.  Catch HR managers’ attention with a complete profile with all professional experience, skills and recommendations included. Increase your online presence by participating in discussion groups and share articles of relevance in your domain. If you haven’t already got a profile on either of these sites, it is essential you sign up today!

Job Fairs and Networking

Direct contact with employers is a brilliant way to find jobs that aren’t openly on the recruitment radar. Websites such as LinkedIn and Meetup regularly advertise opportunities to meet prospective employers such as conferences, job fairs and after-work networking events. Make sure you sign up for them and come prepared with business cards with your contact details.  Don’t forget to contact your professional connections and friends to get the word out that you are seeking a job. Through your current contacts, you can reach their contacts in turn, one of which could be the key to your new job. To network effectively, it is necessary to chase up contacts, persevere and use all possible avenues!

What job seeking methods have worked for you recently? Which job boards or other job searching methods would you recommend?

Social Media privacy: So who exactly can see my personal information?

Since the birth of social media sites such as Facebook, parents have internationally spent many an hour worrying about what exactly strangers can see on their children’s profiles. Today, however, social media privacy is not just a worry for anxious parents. Recent privacy breaches and ever-changing social media privacy laws have brought privacy on such sites to media attention of late. According to a recent survey, a staggering 50% of social media users report to have had problems concerning privacy. It is clear to anyone paying the smallest amount of attention that the popularity and growth of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn show no signs of slowing. With consumers sharing a growing volume of increasingly varied content, there is a growing awareness of the need for stricter rules concerning privacy. So what can you – as a user – do to keep your information private?

I was extremely shocked recently when I read about a new smart phone application (developed in Russia) called “Girls Around Me”. Combining details made public by Facebook, Foursquare and Google Maps, the app (targeting young men) plots a map of attractive girls currently in the area surrounding the user. For an application to be exposing the whereabouts of individuals (while they have no idea whatsoever) just seems completely wrong. But is it really? Millions of people around the world regularly make use of social media, but 68% of American users say that they don’t understand what information they are sharing or who they are sharing it with. You could argue that if social media users are willing to share their personal data without ensuring that they completely understand privacy settings, then more fool them. Yes, all networks do offer default security settings, but in general these are fairly loose. They will not – for example – protect photos that you have been tagged in if a recruiter searches your Facebook profile. Many users are in fact surprised by just how little information is protected by the default settings. There is nearly always an option to customize privacy settings, enabling users to limit who can see what. Job seekers in particular would be wise to look into customizing their settings if they don’t want their next interviewer to see those photos.

We have all heard that hiring managers may well search our social media profiles before an interview to see what extra information they can find. It surprises me just how many avid social media users I have heard pondering over what exactly a recruiter or potential boss could see. Fully aware of the consequences, many of us still do not check what we are sharing with others, or take two minutes to adjust our privacy settings. It is clear that there is a real need for users to educate themselves on exactly what they are sharing through their use of social media. Did you know, for example, that every time you click “I agree “ to use a new Facebook application, you are agreeing to a new set of rules on sharing your information. Sure, nobody ever reads Terms and Conditions, but perhaps it is worthwhile taking the time to delete apps you don’t use and to look into the privacy settings of those you find useful. This may make you think twice about which applications you really need.

Given the nature of the information shared, Facebook is usually the network causing the most concern regarding privacy. The undeniable growth of social media motivates us to share more and more information. “Check-ins” on location-based services are a more recent addition to social media. As the “Girls Around You” example clearly illustrates, users should be very wary when using such applications. Countless stories in the news of youngsters mistakenly advertising the address of parties they are hosting to thousands of strangers perfectly illustrate the need for care. In an ideal world, it is best just not to use location-based services. Being quite this strict however does put restrictions on your use of social media.

So to really be safe, users can set up specific email accounts to use for social media (to avoid directing any spam brought about by social media to your main email account). Furthermore, it is advisable to make passwords as strong as possible (with numbers and letters, upper and lower case, no memorable names or dates…) and to change them regularly. To go even further, those really concerned about social media privacy could simply share less. If you don’t want the world to see a picture, don’t post it. If you’re not sure about the privacy settings of an application, then don’t use it. Simple! Such a strict approach however is easier said than done.  If you follow all the advice out there, your profile will be well protected, but probably not nearly as much fun. Really making the most of today’s social media experience necessitates a certain lack of privacy. Yes, it’s unwise to share your details through location-based apps, but how many avid social media users are honestly going to pass up the opportunity to take part in social media’s latest trend? It’s up to the individual to weigh up their own priorities and to decide what they value most highly; their social media freedom, or their privacy.

The LinkedIn mistakes that you need to avoid.

In a job search – perhaps even more than in private life – it is close to impossible to avoid social media. We all know by now that sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are invaluable job search tools. Whether you share your details or not, it is safe to assume that your interviewer will google you at some point in the interview process, if they don’t go straight to LinkedIn and look up your profile directly! These are both easy ways for potential employers to use your online professional presence to get a feel for you as a person before they even meet you. For this reason, it is vital that you keep all social media accounts relevant, professional and up-to-date. As arguably the most valuable of all such tools, keeping your LinkedIn profile up to scratch is absolutely vital.

As is the case for all types of social media, LinkedIn is a tool to enable interaction; be it making new connections, developing existing professional relationships, or discussing content. In signing up for a LinkedIn account, users are stating that they want to make new connections and get noticed. This won’t happen if you lay low and just wait for the right person to stumble across your profile. LinkedIn Groups allow users to form communities based around a particular centre of interest; sharing and discussing content. This is an easy way to make connections and get noticed for your knowledge and opinions – and isn’t that exactly what we all want potential employers to notice? So post content and ask questions that you think might interest others to generate discussion. Make sure to show that you’re active too; reply to comments sent to you and let others know when they’ve made an interesting point!

As is human nature in many day-to-day situations, many LinkedIn users tend to hang back to see what others are doing before putting themselves out there and engaging in discussion. While this is wasting a valuable tool, it is also unadvisable to go too far and interact too much. LinkedIn allows users to link tweets to the site – in other words showing everything you write on Twitter to your LinkedIn connections too. While this might seem like a great way to step up interaction, it is a risky choice to make. LinkedIn and Twitter serve very different purposes and while Twitter can also be used as a valuable job search tool, many of us post more personal content on Twitter. Is that really relevant to show to connections you are making to further your job search? Instead, choose to link just relevant, selected tweets to your profile.

It is also important to avoid over-selling yourself. So you’ve sought out a connection, great. Wait a while before bombarding them with messages, queries and requests for help. Better still; see if they will contact you. While it is definitely unwise to sit back and wait for things to happen to you, you don’t want to put all your new connections off before they’ve even had a chance to look at your profile! Have patience, but do get in touch after a while if it’s suitable.

Your LinkedIn profile is a virtual representation of you – the only impression others can get without actually meeting you! While it may seem obvious, many users ignore just how important it is to ensure their profile is complete. An incomplete profile will make you come across as sloppy and unprofessional. We have all heard that profile photos are important, but countless users nevertheless ignore this completely. The eye is first drawn to the space usually taken up by a photo, so a lack thereof is noticed straight away, perhaps also suggesting a lack of attention to detail.

A complete profile gives you the best possible chance to come up in searches, optimising your chances of the right people finding your profile and developing the right connections. Another tool offered by LinkedIn that many of us refrain from using is recommendations. You can leave a recommendation for a past colleague, which will usually prompt them to leave one for you. Just like a review for a book or film, LinkedIn recommendations encourage others to believe in your profile.

Finally, many users are unaware that Linkedin offers personalised URLs. This means that your whole name or keywords describing your profession can come up at the end of your URL rather than the jumble of letters and numbers that are generated automatically. Not only does this personalisation look more professional, it also helps your profile’s SEO (helping your profile feature highly in searches). This change can be made through a quick adjustment in your account settings, so there’s no excuse not to! Key words are enormously helpful for your SEO, but not just in your URL. They are also useful in descriptions of what you’re looking for and previous work experience.

LinkedIn is undoubtedly a fantastic job search tool. Pro-activity will ensure that you get noticed by others for your interests and opinions and a complete profile will help you come up in searches. With just a little time and attention, your profile will be optimised to support your job search.

Good Luck!

Is there a future for recruitment agencies?

 

The modern day recruitment industry was born in the 1940s as a direct result of World War II.  With much of the working population serving in the military, the positions left behind needed to be filled and once the war had ended, the returning soldiers were in need of employment.  This is where employment agencies came in and the industry took off to become what it is today; an industry not limited to public and private sector employment agencies, but with other divisions including head-hunters and executive search firms.  But with the Euro zone in turmoil, fears of an imminent financial crisis and constant cuts being introduced by the government, what hope is there for recruitment agencies in a time of cutbacks?

 

According to the Office for National Statistics, the unemployment rate in the UK is at its highest since 1996, with 2.62 million people unemployed. Many companies have to keep costs down when it comes to recruitment and some simply can’t afford to take on new staff at all. On the rare occasion that there is a vacant position, companies might choose their own in-house recruitment process rather than opt for a recruitment agency, given that the main rivals, online career sites, generally charge less, if anything, for their service.  The websites “Monster” (launched in 1999) and “LinkedIn” (launched in 2003), certainly pose a threat to recruitment agencies.  At face-value they provide a cheaper alternative, whilst at the same time granting access to millions of job seekers.  How can agencies remain the viable option and contend with the likes of “Monster,”  “LinkedIn” and other job boards?

 

Boasting over 145 million professionals, LinkedIn presents a clear threat to recruitment agencies. With a growth of about 2 members every second, its popularity is clear. This network allows access to a rapidly increasing database of professionals for free. The job site Monster also continues to grow. As well as reaching out to millions of people (Monster has over 150 million CVs in its database), the cost of posting a job is not, comparatively speaking, extortionate.  One “Premium Post” on Monster costs £199 and lasts for 30 days, whereas using a recruitment agency generally costs the employer between 10 and 20 percent of the employee’s yearly wage. With the pressure on businesses to keep costs down, many companies are making the effort to recruit themselves rather than handing out large fees to agencies.

 

There may be advantages to using the above-mentioned sites, but, for employers, signing up to them does not guarantee a job position being filled.  LinkedIn allows you to build connections and enlarge your talent pool by networking, but this does not necessarily lead to employment.  As for Monster, the job posting section comes at a cost and quite often simply posting a job online and bearing the cost is not enough.  As I have mentioned, with Monster, a “Premium Post” lasts for 30 days, but 30 days is a relatively short amount of time to find the right candidate, especially in the case of executive roles.  Naturally, it depends on the company and the position, but if the applicants within this time period are not up to scratch, then more money and more time need to be spent on the recruitment.

 

Despite what it may seem, there are many benefits to be gained for both candidates and employers by using a recruitment agency. It is true that time means money and so any time spent by an employer on recruitment is, in essence, an extra cost to the company.  Employers need to consider whether they have the time and resources required to recruit a high-quality member of staff.  The recruitment process takes time; writing a job description and posting it to various online job boards, sifting through the CVs received as well as those in the databases on sites such as Monster, looking through social media websites, ensuring that the job is well-advertised and finally arranging and organising interviews with applicants to fit both with their schedule and that of the interviewer.  Recruitment agencies have databases with hundreds of candidates, each one carefully selected, interviewed and assessed.  What’s more, there are many recruitment agencies which specialise in certain areas, making the process faster whilst increasing the likelihood of employment for both parties. Provided they have been well-briefed on the position, a vacancy could potentially be filled in a few days.

 

As much as it would seem otherwise, recruitment agencies do save clients money.  The agency incurs all of the advertising charges and the job specification is likely to be posted on more than one website.  This is in addition to the fact that their time is spent and is only paid for upon results.  Furthermore, some agencies offer a guarantee, whereby if it turns out that the selected candidate does not fit the bill within a certain time frame, a replacement is provided free of charge.

 

For candidates too there is nothing lost in signing up to an agency.  Registering usually costs nothing and you can benefit from being able to work full-time whilst simultaneously looking for new jobs.  Moreover, recruitment agencies will have more clients who are larger organisations of 50+ employees, and so is a great opportunity for those candidates who want to get into large, corporate environments.  However, of course candidates cannot rely on agencies as their only means of getting a job.  There are always more candidates than jobs, so it is certainly worth registering with the online career sites and actively searching at the same time.

 

Recruitment agencies have survived thus far and according to the Survey of Recruitment Agencies conducted in 2007, there were approximately 16,000 agencies operating in the UK. The industry obviously took a blow during the credit crunch, but it is making its comeback.  Monster and LinkedIn, thought at first to be competitors to recruitment agencies are now actively used by them to improve the quality of their services.  So it’s not just the way that people search for jobs has changed, recruitment agencies have also changed the way in which they work and have adapted.  In recent years, the industry has suffered casualties but continues to not only survive, but grow as well: proof that despite economic uncertainty there is still demand for the service.  One advantage which recruitment agencies will always have, and which may well ensure their future, is the personalised service which they provide, something with which technology cannot compete – well, at least not for the foreseeable future…

The Dangerous World of LinkedIn

 

LinkedIn’s a great social network. Currently home to 145+ million users, it has a growth rate that is quite simply astonishing. It’s great for job seekers, it’s great for recruiters and it unquestionably rules the world of B2B. So basically it’s great, right?

Well, yes but as with everything in life it’s got its drawbacks. I’ve spoken previously about how LinkedIn can be an incredibly beneficial tool for job seekers (and of course other professionals) but today I want to discuss its dangers. What are the risks involved when using a LinkedIn account and what should you be avoiding?

I’m going to start with one of the hottest topics at the moment when it comes to social networking. This is something which has sparked global debate, and outrage in certain cases, and is probably the no.1 danger of LinkedIn. This is of course privacy. Now I’ve talked about privacy a little bit previous to this but in that case I chose to concentrate on the social media giant, Facebook (so if you’re worried about your privacy on Facebook then feel free to take a little look at that). But, as the title quite bluntly underlines, today is all about LinkedIn.

The problem with a social network is exactly that; it’s social. And the problem with that is the extreme difficultly to be simultaneously social whilst maintaining details about yourself to yourself. But the privacy issue with LinkedIn is not the same as it is with Facebook, or other social networks for that matter. In fact LinkedIn is one of the better social networking sites when it comes to account and profile privacy. The problem here lies in the user’s desire to share things about themselves without thinking carefully about who is going to see them. I’ll give you an example. I read an article on Forbes the other day which described the case of John Flexman, an employee of the gas exploration firm BG Group. I’m not going to go into too much detail about this specific case but basically Flexman had ticked the box highlighting his interest in “career opportunities” which resulted in him being fired. As crazy as that may seem, this is not an isolated incident. The details which you post on LinkedIn are going to be looked at, so make sure not to include information which could easily be misinterpreted!

But it’s not just selecting the options that LinkedIn gives you that causes problems. Many of you job seeking LinkedIn users will have included a summary on your profile. A little blurb about yourself which you think sums you up. Unfortunately, the way you describe yourself may not look as good through someone else’s eyes as it sounds in your head. I’ve read countless summaries which include paragraphs of irrelevant waffle that will immediately turn a potential employer into someone who’s never going to look at your profile again. Remember there’s difference between LinkedIn and a network like Facebook. Yes, LinkedIn is a social network but it’s also the professional one. I’m not saying you should make your profile over professional and incredibly boring but if you’re a job seeker my advice to you is simple: Use the summary as your job pitch. Tell them, whoever they might be, why you should get the job. Keep your stories about your crazy hobbies etc for your personal friends.

Another thing which is partially relevant to the privacy issue is the profile picture. Whoever visits your profile, or comes across you in a search, the first thing they will look at is your profile picture. So you would think the users of the professional network would take this into consideration and upload a suitable picture. Yet, the number of times I have come across a picture of someone drinking a beer or lying on a beach is quite simply astonishing. It’s fair enough that you want your LinkedIn profile to have personality, but a silly profile picture is not the way to go.

So there are just a few things which can cause problems on LinkedIn. Whether you’re a job seeker or currently employed the overall message is the same: Don’t rush the creation of your LinkedIn profile, don’t throw LinkedIn into the same pile as Facebook and ultimately make sure every bit of information, text or anything else that is visible is something you want people to see. And most importantly, if you avoid the problems, LinkedIn really is a great tool.

How to market yourself online with LinkedIn

LinkedIn was launched on May 5, 2003, home to 4500 members.

It now boasts over 145 million users in over 200 countries worldwide.

LinkedIn is the professional network.

There’s no question that LinkedIn is the place to be for professionals everywhere. It offers the perfect interface to network with people in your industry, people who you would otherwise not be able to meet. Quite simply if you’re a professional and you’re not there, you should be.

Unfortunately though, LinkedIn seems to have become somewhat “over-professional” and is being labelled by many as boring. I recently discussed its lack of sex appeal in my post on the threat posed by Facebook and Google+ but today I want to talk about how to make sure your LinkedIn profile isn’t dull and isn’t being treated like a resume.

So, it’s time for a change.

We now live in a time where managing your reputation online is essential, not only for businesses but, for job seekers and professionals as well. If you can maintain and improve your e-reputation then you stand a far greater chance of getting employed (or keeping your current job!). You need to market yourself to your network and your LinkedIn profile is the perfect way to do so.

Let’s start with what a lot of LinkedIn users have been doing wrong.

As I have mentioned already, many LinkedIn users have filled out their profile in exactly the same way as they did their resume. People don’t want to only see a list of what you’ve done, nor do they want to see an uninteresting few bullet points of who you are. The point of your LinkedIn profile is not to copy and paste the exact information from the standard CV that you’ve been sending out to every employer (and you shouldn’t be sending out the same CV to different jobs either but that’s a different point). The chances are that, if you have done this, you will have forgotten to add keywords as well and therefore you are making it very difficult for people to find you. Finally, some users have not recognized LinkedIn as a professional network and therefore have uploaded a profile picture which I can only describe as inappropriate. Your picture is the first thing people look at so if you don’t look professional, it will only have negative consequences. You may be missing out on potential connections so remember not to make these mistakes.

But if your LinkedIn profile shouldn’t be used as a resume, then what should it be? And how can you fix the problem and better market yourself online?

Well, instead of just telling people who you are, your LinkedIn profile should represent who you hope to be and what you hope achieve. It’s all about marketing yourself to your potential network. I mentioned keywords, and I can’t stress the importance of these enough. By converting your skills, education, goals and even interests into keywords you are allowing people to find you more easily. However, be careful not to use the generic keywords which everyone will use. Think of some which are specific to your industry, words that the industry professionals are likely to type in their search engine. Of course you want to include your most important keyword in your headline to maximize your chances of being found.

I also mentioned the profile picture. It is statistically proven that the first thing a person looks at on a profile (on any social network) is your profile picture. You need to represent yourself as a professional. People always ask why they can’t represent their personality in their picture and why they have to look so serious and business-like. Well, that’s not what I’m saying. Just because you’re wearing a suit doesn’t mean you can’t smile. All you need to remember is that people will make a spilt-second judgement of you when they see you for the first time, so don’t let it be when you’re sunbathing on the beach! (Or something equally as unprofessional).

The next point of key importance is actually similar to what you should be doing on your CV. Think about what job you want to aim for and take a look at your employment history. One thing that is essential on your CV is being relevant to the job that you are applying for and you should take that into account when completing your LinkedIn profile. You only want to include work experience which is relevant. For example, writing a detailed description about how you worked in a bar some years ago when you are applying for a job as a management consultant isn’t really worth putting. In fact, it can be pejorative because it may act as a distraction. So, make sure your employment history is simple, easy to read and well laid out.

Another essential addition to your profile, which is guaranteed to help you improve your marketability, is getting recommendations. Now, most people are aware that most recommendations come about by you physically asking someone for them, but that doesn’t matter. Recommendations can help back up everything you’ve said about yourself and, according to the experts, people tend to trust them.

Finally, one thing that might not have come across perfectly yet is your personality. You’ve focussed on everything LinkedIn has set specific titles for but now you should try to include something which shows your passion, your enthusiasm and your ambition. Tell people what you love and what you want to achieve (A few keywords added into this can also prove beneficial).

So there are a few things you can do to market yourself better on LinkedIn.

Just remember your LinkedIn profile isn’t your CV. It is the perfect opportunity to market yourself to an ever-expanding network of professionals. So give your profile a personality and increase your chances of getting the job you want.

Will Facebook and Google make LinkedIn obsolete?

At the time of this blog being written, LinkedIn is the number one professional network. It is home to around 116 million users, a number which continues to climb. Its profits have risen and its stock remains buoyant. It operates within its own niche, tactically deciding to avoid competing against the social network powerhouse that is Facebook. It seems to be doing everything right, so why is there the feeling that this may change in the future?

Well, there has been a lot of debate recently surrounding the battle for social dominance. Facebook, the current King of the social networks, is now not looking so comfortable on its throne. As I have discussed in previous posts, Google+ is on the rise and poised to take that crown. But what’s this got to do with LinkedIn?

It is clear that Facebook itself has purposefully avoided targeting the professional crowd and Google+ has only just begun its exploits in the world of “social business,” and it certainly hasn’t outlined plans  to target professionals from the get go. But as the struggle for dominance grows it is becoming clear that the only way to win/succeed will be to offer new, and better, features for users.

Unfortunately for LinkedIn, the job market and the professional crowd seem the perfect area for Facebook and/or Google to expand into. With these two internet giants entering into this niche, and therefore directly competing with LinkedIn, it spells trouble for the current, almost unchallenged, professional network. Now, I’m not suggesting that this is going to happen right away, but what must be underlined is that it really is a question of “when” rather than “if”. It is a natural progression for both Google and Facebook and it’s one of the key strategies to keep the competition alive. But can we just write off LinkedIn?

Well, a lot of people are. LinkedIn has experienced a barrage of criticism recently and there have been a number of hints at its potential downfall. The “problem” associated with LinkedIn is that it’s boring. There’s no sex appeal and a clear lack of imagination in its creative team. Although it does have an impressive user-base, the number of unique visitors is much lower and many current users have admitted to ignoring the site. So does this mean that LinkedIn is heading for a fall?

Well, not necessarily.

Yes, LinkedIn isn’t the sexiest social site and it’s not one that constantly updates and adds new features to enthrall its user-base, but it never wanted to or said it was going to.

LinkedIn is the professional network.

I would happily bet that an overwhelming majority of LinkedIn users also have a Facebook profile. This is simply because they want to separate their personal and professional lives, and this seems the general consensus amongst my colleagues and my friends. LinkedIn has been described as social media with no buzz and no sex appeal. For example: Facebook can get you friends, Twitter and YouTube can make you famous but LinkedIn is unexciting and unstylish.

Whilst I do agree that it could use a “sprucing up” I also feel it’s important to stress that it isn’t a site with no buzz. The buzz, or appeal, of LinkedIn is that it can get you a job or get you more business. So do I think it’s just going to disappear whilst Facebook and Google take the reins?

In a word, no. LinkedIn isn’t going to just disappear any time soon. It has a loyal (and growing) user base and remains the preferred professional network. LinkedIn’s critics say its downfall will be a result of its lack of sex appeal, but what they don’t seem to have recognized is that the LinkedIn user-base don’t want sexy, they want professional. The young users want jobs and the older executives want to generate business. That said, Facebook and/or Google are sure to start targeting the professional crowd in the coming months and they will be prepared to fight for market share. What is certain is that it promises to be an interesting future for social business. But if you remember one thing, let it be that LinkedIn will not go down without a fight.