It feels like we pretty much all have a LinkedIn profile. We know that 200 million people do. So we all have accounts, but this, my friends, is the question: WTF is LinkedIn actually FOR? It’s a social network, but no one seems to network much there. It’s for finding jobs, but how?
A little backstory here: back in 2007, I worked for a Seattle start-up called Jobster, that was supposed to be giving LinkedIn a run for its money. (I’m not even linking Jobster, because the start-up burned through a $50 million investment in a few years and basically accomplished nothing.) Working for Jobster, however, meant that I spent a lot of time working on tools for recruiters, and learning about how they used the web. And yeah: some of them DO use LinkedIn to find folks to fill jobs… but only certain kinds of jobs. And in my experience, it’s usually not the fun ones.
After spending a couple years in what’s known as the “Staffing industry,” my esteemed opinion of LinkedIn is that it’s basically an effective, elaborate resume wizard. LinkedIn makes it really easy to build a well-formatted, solid resume, complete with built-in company links, relatively easy URLs, and testimonials from your colleagues.
I’m strongly of the opinion that everyone at all times ALWAYS should have an accurate, up-to-the-second resume, even if you’re totally not looking for work. Maybe it’s because I spent so much time in my 20s hopping from contract gig to contract gig, but the time to talk about your job is NOT when the job is done and you’re looking for a new one… you should update your resume constantly, consistently. It should be a living, breathing document updated real-time with your accomplishments. I totally live this advice: my LinkedIn profile is totally updated, even though I’m so beyond busy with the Offbeat Empire that I’m completely 100% not looking for work.
LinkedIn makes it super easy to update your resume, which means you’re more likely to do it more often, which means whenever you DO go out to find a job, you’ll have your current resume immediately ready to share with former colleagues, family friends, college associates, and all the other folks who are most often helpful in finding jobs. ‘Cuz see, that’s what sites like LinkedIn don’t want you to know: as great as technology is, when it comes to the really awesome jobs, they almost never make it onto job boards or Craigslist. There are recruiters trawling LinkedIn for many dream jobs — especially the creative dream jobs that I know many Offbeat Homies love. Ultimately, when it comes to finding work, websites can help… but your best tool is the same as it’s ever been: networking.
Maybe that’s just me, though. I’m just one person who’s worked in a few industries (tech, media, weddings). I’d love to hear from Offbeat Homies:
Do you actually USE LinkedIn as something other than a resume generator? If so, what? Has it ever helped you get a job? How?