Author: Stephen Jamieson, Director & Managing Consultant at Tier 1 Procurement
Realistically, LinkedIn is currently the most powerful and effective tool for companies to shop online for talent without the need for large recruitment campaigns.
The site isn’t perfect – everyone’s profile looks similar and endorsements are dished out without the endorsed person’s control.
However, LinkedIn remains a massive talent resource for organisations.
We estimate that in the current digital era, around 50% of jobs are filled through LinkedIn. Around 25% are filled through recruiters and the other 25% through direct networks. With this in mind, it is more important than ever to invest more time in LinkedIn than with recruitment agencies.
Some recruitment firms (including Tier 1 Procurement) will not represent people who don’t have a solid LinkedIn profile, because clients commonly review both the CV and LinkedIn profiles ahead of an interview.
Your Action Plan
You need to focus on ensuring your content helps your profile appear high up in searches undertaken by recruiters using LinkedIn’s highest subscription level: LinkedIn Recruiter.
Connections: Connect with credible contacts in the industry, ideally HR leaders as well as the hiring managers for the roles that you want. Send an “in mail” (an email to someone you don’t know as a first degree connection) requesting to “connect for networking purposes” or by stating your known mutual connections – for example, “we both know Jane Smith, one of my very credible networks. Feel free to connect”.
Allocate an hour a week just for networking. This will pay dividends when you’re looking for work in the future – it may be so much easier with a well-developed network than if you have been idle on LinkedIn.
Endorsements: Endorsements can be useful in building your social media career brand. However, written recommendations are more powerful as these are more like a reference check, which can be viewed by everyone in the recommender’s network. This stamp of approval can make you stand out from other peers in the industry with similar skills, and therefore can be highly useful to recruitment agencies and employers alike.
Profile Picture: You need to stand out from the crowd but avoid being too quirky. This includes shots of you standing at the top of Mount Everest or poses in sunglasses. Compare your picture to those of your peers. Is it more professional? Would someone who doesn’t know you be inclined to view your profile?
Someone said to me last year, “I don’t wish to show my age by using a LinkedIn picture.” The person had been out of work for a year. I replied that if an employer doesn’t want to hire you because of your age, then they are not the right employer for you anyway.
Content: Your content should not be as detailed as a CV. However, key words need to be included along with some details of your achievements and experience.
I met someone recently who had “Senior Category Manager” as their current role and their next role was to be “Head of Procurement”. I recommended translating their current role title to “Senior Procurement Manager” while keeping “Senior Category Manager” on their LinkedIn work history. This change could aid them in being approached for the right jobs, rather than being contacted for roles beneath or at the same level. Titles like “Specialist” can often cause the same issue, when the person’s day to day role is that of a “Category Manager”.
Skills: LinkedIn affords you up to 50 skills on your profile. We recommend you make maximum use of this, as some companies filter their candidate searches using these parameters or codes. For example, if you have used Ariba (procurement technology provider) consider listing it as a skill, as this component may be useful to the next employer.
Recommendations: Written recommendations are an excellent way of building your social media brand and showcasing your profile to prospective employers. However, they can be counter-productive if the recommender has an awful brand themselves. Do your due diligence before accepting written recommendations from people that have a chequered/flawed career background.
Profile: Keep your profile up to date at all times. This will ensure you are aware of all the opportunities that exist in line with your skills in the wider market. It can also be a good gauge of how attractive your profile is to prospective employers.
You don’t need to be active to update your profile. Someone said to me, “if I update my profile, my boss and the team will think I’m looking for a job”. Don’t worry about it. This is pro-active career planning. Don’t be shy.
LinkedIn Recruiter: This is the highest form of license available to recruitment firms and internal recruitment functions. As this is the primary tool nowadays for hiring, appearing higher in the Search result is very important for candidates. If you take our advice, your profile should rank highly. Google ranking is content driven: the same thinking applies to the LinkedIn search algorithm.
Tier 1 Procurement is a “LinkedIn Certified” recruitment firm. We provide training to in-house recruitment teams as well as contract or permanent recruitment services across the Asia-Pacific region.