We all know the job search process to be painful, complicated and flat-out exhausting, right?
And let’s face it. A big part of that is on employers (side rant–different discussion).
Lengthy and time-consuming applications sites make it damn-near impossible to even complete a submission.
Recruiters and HR folks rarely get back to you.
And tracking all this stuff is a part-time job in itself.
Enter the LinkedIn Job Search app (and no, I’m not getting paid to promote this).
Here are the transformative benefits, as I see them:
One-step application process
This is the biggee. According to LinkedIn, the “InApply” button allows you to apply for jobs with your LinkedIn profile. Oh happy day! The only problem is this: Not many companies are adopting this quite yet (from my quick searches here in Minneapolis I found a few companies, like Honeywell above, using it, but not too many). Can you IMAGINE applying for a job with just a few simple clicks and submitting your LinkedIn profile? I mean, can you IMAGINE? Let’s just hope companies start adopting this sooner rather than later.
Track your searches in one convenient spot
Using the app, you can easily track all the jobs you either apply for, or merely view. Pretty easy, right? I haven’t looked for a job in some time now, but I remember when I was, this was a pretty manual process. I had a Word doc with all the jobs I had applied for and all the contacts at those companies. It was organized, but it was time-consuming. This way, LinkedIn does a lot of that heavy lifting for you. God bless LinkedIn.
Your own personal recruiter
Now here’s where it really gets fun. With the new app, LinkedIn becomes your own personal recruiter. It will send you notifications of jobs based on the searches you’re making and profiles you’re viewing. Simple, yet brilliant. Truth is, I can’t believe it took them so long to develop this. Let’s say you’re really looking to get a PR job at Target. You set up a search. You’re targeting, well, Target. With this new app, LinkedIn will conceivably recognize that and send you openings that most likely at least touch on PR and send them right to your inbox within the app. Pretty damn slick. And pretty damn time-consuming.
To be clear, I am NOT looking for a full-time job. I’ve just been using the app to test it out 🙂
But, after playing with it for the last week, I will say, if I WERE looking for a job, this would be a pretty valuable tool in the arsenal.
Anyone else tried this out yet? Initial impressions?
In early May I finally got access to LinkedIn’s new publishing tool. You can read all about it here.
Essentially, LinkedIn has given us all the opportunity to create blog posts on LinkedIn. Smart move.
And recently, I’ve been seeing more activity from friends and colleagues.
So, in mid-May I decided to give it a whirl.
But, the decision was this: Repurpose existing content I’m already writing for my blog, or create new content specifically for LinkedIn.
The former seemed like a no-brainer. After all, I already create a lot of content for my blog (2-3 posts per week, with no outside support). I don’t have a lot of extra time to create MORE content.
I had heard “experts” talk about how creating unique content for LinkedIn was a MUST. And the more I heard it, the more I thought I was right about repurposing. No one would care. I’m simply syndicating my content on another platform–same thing I’ve done on LinkedIn for years, just in a different format.
So, I decided to repurpose my posts.
So far, the results have been mixed from a few different standpoints. Here’s six initial takes after a month of posting on LinkedIn:
You’re essentially starting over with traffic
My blog gets between 15,000-20,000 uniques per month. But none of that matters on LinkedIn. You’re essentially starting from scratch. Not a big deal, but for those with blogs it’s a consideration. Here’s my first post on LinkedIn–as you can see, just 125 impressions, 3 likes and 0 comments.
All that time on LinkedIn should pay off
I don’t have insight into the algorithm LinkedIn is using to share our content. But, I’m going to guess that your connection count makes a difference. At the very least, your direct connections should see your post. So, the guy who’s posting with 100 connections isn’t going to see the same kind of initial traffic as the woman who has 1,500 connections. All that work building up a solid network over the years should pay dividends here–and I believe it has for me out of the gate.
You’re not a Richard Branson–don’t expect huge results out of the gate
Richard Branson (or any number of other LinkedIn Influencers) you are not. So, don’t expect Richard Branson-like numbers. Heck, don’t expect too much of anything at first. Again, you’re starting from scratch. Just start writing and see what resonates with readers. But, do expect results over time as perseverance will pay off. Case in point: My first five posts averaged 145 impressions, 2 likes and 1 comment. My LAST five posts have averaged 369 impressions, 12 likes and 7 comments. And that’s after just one month.
Getting featured on Pulse makes a HUGE difference
Pulse is LinkedIn’s reader platform. And, as an author on LinkedIn, getting your posts features there makes a HUGE difference. Case in point. Of my 14 posts so far, my average impression count is 251–excluding one post. A post I wrote about Fallon’s Arby’s ad May 28. That post had a whopping 11,855 impressions. And it was all due to it being featured on Pulse. I remember I posted in the morning that day and had a couple hundred impressions by the noon hour. I ran to a couple meetings in the afternoon–when I returned, the post had some 8,000 impressions and climbing. I quickly discovered it was on the Pulse home page and was getting traffic from all over LinkedIn. As far as I can tell, there’s no way to game this right now–LinkedIn is just surfacing content it believes is compelling.
Take advantage of your comments as reconnection points
Here’s the great part about this content being on LinkedIn–real people with real names and faces are commenting on it! And, most likely, many of those people you will either know or be one person removed from. So, take advantage of that! Here’s what I’ve been doing to date (in spots–but I plan to do more of this going forward): Using the comments as an excuse to direct messages folks on LinkedIn and ask them: 1) To coffee, if it makes sense, 2) How their job is going–and if/what I can do to help. Remember, LinkedIn isn’t Twitter or Facebook–there’s FAR LESS attention for time here. That said, some people don’t check their LinkedIn messages as often as others, but I would argue the lack of competition for time here far outweighs that drawback.
Repurposing content from your blog–not a big deal
Remember those experts? Turns out it’s not a big deal. Now, I’m not saying original content won’t work–certainly it will. But I am saying repurposing your blog content is no big deal at all. It’s all about reaching your audience where they live. In this case, I’m noticing many more people using LinkedIn as their de facto reader system during the day. So, it makes sense to syndicate my content there in a way that makes sense. The one caveat here: I don’t repurpose EVERY post–just the ones that make sense for LinkedIn. For example, I will repurpose any case study post, but going forward I may not post a post that highlights a new social media tool.
When was the last time you looked at your LinkedIn profile?
If you’re like some, it was probably a while ago. In fact, some people really only look at (or update) their profile when they’re looking for a job. Sad reality. But, most likely true (based on what I’ve seen and heard from others).
Me? I check it weekly (daily, really). I update it monthly. And I’m constantly refining my profile. But, that’s because for me, LinkedIn is a powerful networking and business tool. I use it all the time.
Others use it only when they need something. And I think that’s very, very foolish (rant for a different post).
If you are one of those people like me that review their profile regularly, you know all about endorsements and recommendations–and the power they now have in the new online world.
There has been a lot of debate about these functions. But, most of that debate focuses on the wrong debate.
“How many recommendations do I need?” is the typical question I hear.
Or, “how many recommendations should I have for each job I’ve held?”
“How do I go about getting more endorsements?” is another common refrain.
But, those are the wrong questions. Why? Because LinkedIn recommendations and endorsements are complete shams.
OK, I said it. I expect LinkedIn and Mr. Weiner to lock my account down any minute now.
But really, think about it.
That long list of recommendations you have? How many of those were “trades”? (“you write a recommendation for me, I’ll write one for you”)
How many of those recommendations are from people who truly know your work style and the results you’ve achieved over the years?
All those endorsements–are they really focused on the areas you want to be known for?
I think there are a number of reasons recommendations and endorsements are complete lies–and, more importantly, they’re impacting our perceptions of colleagues, would-be hires and vendors online. Consider the following lies and consequent results:
The lie: Too much focus on only the top endorsement categories
Result: Not ENOUGH focus on the lower categories
When you glance at someone’s endorsements, what sticks out immediately? The categories at the top, right? But, what about the categories that fall at the bottom. For example, for me, media relations, social media marketing and PR sit near the top of the list. Makes sense. But, corporate communications sits toward the bottom. Now, I probably have almost 10 years of experience in corporate communications, yet ,there it sits near the bottom of that list of endorsements. Now, maybe I’m not doing a good enough job of positioning myself in that arena, but I would argue that most people that are endorsing me probably haven’t worked directly with me and know me from my blog or online (where I rarely talk about corporate communications or my experience there).
The lie: A lack of direct work experience with the endorsee
Result: Endorsements that mean nothing
I’ll ask again, how many of those endorsements come from people who have actually worked closely with you? For me, 87 people have endorsed me for “media relations.” But, a big chunk of those 87 haven’t worked with me before (note: I love the fact that people have taken the time to endorse me–this is in no way a critique of these people), and if they had, they would know that’s probably not the one skill I’m the best at. Sure, media relations is definitely in my skill set mix. I’m proficient at it and I work with clients in this area regularly. But, it’s probably not my #1 skill. Probably not even #2. But yet, there are those 87 endorsements.
The lie: The “recommendation trade”
Result: Hollow recommendations filled with corporate “puffery”
This is the elephant in the room no one really wants to talk about, it seems. How many recommendations are based on the assumption: You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours? I’m guessing it’s a big number. I have no data to back this up, mind you. It’s just a hunch based on my personal interactions (I’ve fallen prey to this–although I will say the recos at top do not fall in that bucket; two former clients and two people I’ve spoken with or for) and what I hear from others. But, it’s a serious issue because it breeds the myriad of “hollow” recommendations we now see on LinkedIn. Oh, you’ve seen them. Full of corporate buzzwords and exaggerations. The problem is with this many “trade” recommendations out there, it’s hard to discern which recommendations are truly worthy and meaningful and which are just barter.
The lie: Endorsements for the wrong skills
Result: Confusion around true strengths and weaknesses
Consider my former BlogWorld planning partner and group director at WCG, Chuck Hemann. From all accounts, Chuck is one of the foremost thought leaders on digital analytics. He blogs about it. He teaches it to clients and colleagues. He’s even written a damn book about it. Yet, what skill shows up #1 on his endorsement list? Digital strategy. Now, I’m not saying Chuck doesn’t have this skill set (clearly, he does), or that it shouldn’t be a key skill for him (it should). But, I would think given ALL his work in analytics, his book, his blog, his complete focus, that analytics would be #1. How does this happen? See above–most likely, endorsements from people who really don’t know Chuck all that well. The result? Confusion for those finding Chuck on LinkedIn over his biggest strengths.
What do you think? Am I wrong here? Are LinkedIn endorsements and recommendations the big lie of the professional social web?