As most of you who regularly visit know, back in November of 2006 I was laid-off from CTI. It wasn’t anything nefarious or antagonistic — CTI always has been and continues to be very good to me, still tossing occasional freelance work and article assignments my way. (Hopefully because of my skill, not out of mercy. Though mercy is good, too, and welcome!) When my project’s funding ran dry and I was out on the streets (well, more like in my skivvies, lounging around the house, generally making a nuisance of myself) I immediately signed up for a paid account at LinkedIN. I was sold on what it promised for professional networking and job searching opportunities.
Not yet disappointed
LinkedIN has not disappointed me. That isn’t to say it’s actually delivered on its promises. Rather, I’ve found that its usefulness is greater than just for the immediate emergency of landing a job.
No. I haven’t landed a job yet, but here’s what I have done. After filling out my complete work history on LI, I relieved myself of the burden of having to create a four-page resumé, instead I was able to focus on a more high-level “advertisement” of my skills and capabilities, leaving the heavy-lifting of the detailed former-job minutia to LinkedIN. Now, when I want to send a candidate package to somebody, I send them my PDF resumé along with links to my full professional history at LinkedIN, along with some references I’ve picked up along the way.
Every potential employer has told me they were impressed with my resumé — and not a single interview has had to probe the nitty-gritty details of my previous job experience, because it’s all laid out in black and white over at LinkedIN, with plenty of details to back it up.
Transparency and Accountability
What LinkedIN provides me with potential employers is transparency, accountability, and authenticity. Yes, any yahoo can invent a work history. But when you’ve published it online and placed it in a network where a single click of a button can easily find current employees working for that old company who might be willing to verify details, it’s harder to be sneaky and deceitful. Plus, it helps if your personal network of professional contacts includes former employers and managers named in the work history —which is the case with me. So, the normal paranoia and suspicion that can sour a job interview has been delightfully lacking. I think my online information-packet strategy has helped with that, and LinkedIN has been a valuable part of the experience.
Socially acceptable end-runs
Another benefit to using LinkedIN has been the ability to contact employees within a target company to inquire about corporate culture and the work environment. I did this when I went to interview at the McDonald’s corporation, and made a connection with a fellow believer who works there, and we enjoyed several nice email exchanges. Since interviewing at Awana, I’ve added a couple more contacts to my network. One LinkedIN contact actually led to a job offer, which I had to turn down.
And contacting a Vice President at Zondervan through LinkedIN led to a face-to-face job interview last week.
Now, again, I haven’t found a job. So, in once sense, LinkedIN hasn’t helped at all. But I’m not worried. It certainly hasn’t hurt, and while it may be hard to measure its benefit, I do think it’s helped.
Are you lookin’ at me?
Now, finally, LinkedIN has added a new feature (in beta) that helps me actually see how hard my profile is working (or not working) for me. While I can’t get traffic or stats info from my profile’s views and hits, I can finally see how much activity my profile’s seen over the last couple of weeks, and I can even get a sense of who’s looking at me.
Enter the “Who’s viewed my profile?” feature, recently announced on the LinkedIN blog, “Guess who’s viewed your profile?“
Now I can finally get an idea of what visibility my profile has for people who may be looking for new hires. Here’s what my profile views panel looked like tonight:
Some of these folks, like Awana and MagnetStreet, I definitely know who they are. Some of the others are clearly recruiters trolling for job candidates and Rolodex entries. But I wish I knew who was looking at my profile from the media production, broadcast industry, and religious institutions. Unfortunately, to protect visitor’s privacy, I cannot.
Maybe LinkedIN will allow users to change their privacy settings so they can optionally leave footprints behind, as well.
Well, that’s enough about LinkedIN. Give it a whirl. For what it’s worth, I’m also trying out a combination system that promises to offer some of LinkedIN’s functionality, it’s a mash-up of FaceBook and job-search boards called Jobster. Something else worth trying out.
[tags]Awana-Clubs-International, BlogRodent, Christianity-Today-International, FaceBook, Jobster, LinkedIN, LinkedIN-blog, MagnetStreet, McDonald’s-Corporation, ProfileFly, Rich-Tatum, Zondervan, employment, freelance, friends, hire-me, job-applications, job-description, job-interview, job-interviews, job-networking, job-skills, networking, profile, profiles, resume, social-networking, social-networks, unemployment, web-2.0[/tags]