You know your LinkedIn profile is important during a job search. But how important is it?
It’s a valid question. What else do employers need (besides your resume and cover letter) to make hiring decisions about you? A resume offers your career background and achievements, while your cover letter explains why you are the best candidate. What do employers get out of your LinkedIn profile? We surveyed HR professionals to uncover the answer.
To provide context, here are some data points about how employers use social media in the hiring process:
Are Employers Using Social Media in the Hiring Process?
It’s 2016. You better believe the answer is yes! According to our survey, nine out of ten HR professionals are using social media to screen job applicants – or to discover and recruit new talent. Filling an opening takes time and money so there is no room for hiring mistakes. To ensure that they can find the best talent for the job, any additional information employers can obtain to learn about a candidate is vital – be it from their LinkedIn profile, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
How Important is LinkedIn for Job Candidates?
Of the 91% of HR Professionals using social media, 98% are reviewing your LinkedIn Profile. Additionally, employers may also check your Facebook (63%), Twitter (40%), and other networks.
Survey respondents indicated that Facebook and Twitter can be valuable to learn about you as a person, and also understand those are ‘personal’ networks. But you better bet that LinkedIn is being used to evaluate you as a job candidate.
Does Social Media Influence Hiring Decisions?
We are all familiar with the horror stories; an embarrassing photo or comment goes on Facebook and suddenly the whole world knows about it. But there are many positives that can come from your social media presence. It can reveal personal information that normally wouldn’t be included in your resume – such as volunteer experience, life experiences, even what kind of person you are (attitude, sense of humor, etc). How much does all of this matter? Nearly 1/3rd of surveyed HR Professionals said social media profiles have led them to hire one candidate over another.
So What Matters Most to Employers on LinkedIn?
When asked what are the most important parts of a LinkedIn profile, HR professionals ranked these from most to least important:
- Comparing Your Resume With your LinkedIn Profile – Do they tell the same story? Is there additional information not offered in your resume they can obtain from your profile?
- Skills/Endorsements – Turns out that the endorsements from your network connections speak highly of you as a professional!
- Level of Professionalism – What you say and how you say it gives employers insight into what kind of person you are. Make sure you are using the right tone for LinkedIn.
- Recommendations – You can’t exactly control this section (or the skills and endorsements, for that matter) but you can ask for recommendations. Ask your closest connections and colleagues to offer recommendations, and be sure to offer them in return.
- Portfolio/Publications – Be sure to include links to your portfolio/blog/website/etc if you feel it will help employers see the quality of your work or knowledge.
- Profile Photo – Keep it professional. The profile photo is small, so make sure you are providing a head shot, not a full-body image from 10 feet away.
- Shared Network – Do they know someone who knows you? If so, they might reach out to shared connections to learn more about you.
Size of Your Network – A small network on LinkedIn won’t ruin your chances of landing a job. However, a robust network may show your influence within your industry or circles.