At the risk of taking oomph away from the help that staffing agencies can give to job seekers, there’s a nice synergy sometimes between us and LinkedIn.
Basically I’m saying, don’t put all your eggs in one basket (oh dear, and avoid clichés like the plague). If you have decent LinkedIn details, agencies are much more likely to try to get in touch with you for suitable job assignments they have. Of course, annoyingly, so can the hiring companies who can get to you direct, and cut out us, the middle man with our middle-man fees – sigh. But one of the cornerstones of civilized society is competition, so it’s up to agencies to prove the world needs us. There ya go.
A photograph or not? Sadly (I have low self-image so have as few photographs of myself over the years as poss) your chances of being contacted are GREATLY increased with a photograph. LinkedIn, it seems to me, is somewhere between Facebook (social) and Monster (100% I-want-a-new-job). Lately though, more and more people are using it to let the world know their background should an exciting job opportunity present itself. Still useful for other stuff, let’s not forget, like contacting old school friends, joining like-minded groups, reading Richard Branson’s latest thoughts…but awfully handy for helping you job search.
Put a reasonably corporate photograph of yourself up there. I had one candidate whose photograph was taken by the side of a pool. He was wearing a very tight, very brief swimming costume and nothing else; please tell me I don’t have to explain why that was not a good idea. Don’t have it obviously cut out from a bigger photograph, with unidentified half faces, arms and legs as a surround. And remember the background – I can tell if you were in a rowdy bar or a Social Security office when it was taken.
Your Profile is crucial. Let the world know succinctly what you are (EXCEPT FOR UNEMPLOYED – more of that in a minute). Mine says “Recruitment Consultant (& NY-Scottish volunteer activities)”. Sums me up in a nutshell. I don’t actually have a more enlightening paragraph under that, and maybe I should. A good pal has expanded on her short profile thus, “Career Guidance and Counseling. Assistance with resume revision, social media job search techniques, interview preparation and follow-up. Strong relationship with clients. Training and development for Career Services Counselors. Over thirty years in Staffing/Career Services; keen ability to listen effectively, act quickly and compassionately. Member of the following Committees: Student Success, Community Service, Retention, Social Media. Mentor for Leadership Berkeley Program. Customer Service Champion, Graduation Coach. Specialties: Job search coaching and guidance; interviewing techniques, preparation and follow-up. Workshop presentation.” Blimey, we know what SHE does for a living…makes me think I should do something for myself and follow her lead.
If you’re unemployed, think of a better, less dramatic way to show you’re on the market. Companies tend to read “unemployed” as “unemployed loser” so don’t encourage them. Let them know subtly…e.g. you won’t have a current job in the profile. If you’re a consultant, that’s fine, though – it’s just when “consultant” can be interpreted as “temping while desperate” that the alarms sound. By the way, if you have your current permanent job in the profile, no-one will ask to connect with you for a temp or temp-to-perm job…just sayin’. If you ARE employed and looking for a job, don’t be specifically writing that down t-o-o obviously; again, try to be subtle about it. Human Resources or your manager might see it and realise you’re looking.
If you are using LinkedIn as a mechanism for letting the world know you’re available for employment, then the Profile is crucial. The rest will read like a standard resume, and you’ll also have the opportunity to write a bit more than you would in a standard resume about outside activities such as volunteer work or creative outlets. And if it’s a half-way decent attempt, then staffing agencies, including moi-même, and companies will be asking to connect. Which is one of the main points of LinkedIn. Remember, I’m writing this article as much for myself, a recruiter, as for you.