Is LinkedIn really that important?

Is LinkedIn really that important?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve checked LinkedIn for client profiles and come up with nothing — or worse yet, they have profiles, but little more is provided than their name and most recent job title.

Imagine how hiring managers must feel when they see this. In this day and age, there’s no excuse for not having an online presence and not having a LinkedIn profile is a giant red flag that you might not be as technically savvy as your resume claims.

Whether hiring managers admit it or not, a lot of them will do Google searches on potential candidates. Unless you’re the lead singer of an 80’s big-hair cover band, your LinkedIn profile is probably going to be the first thing to come up in a search. Think of it as free advertising. It’s a great opportunity to give the professional community a full list of your abilities, including all of the stuff that might not fit on your resume, e.g., volunteer causes, recommendations, publications, projects, honors and awards, patents, etc. There’s no easier way to build your personal brand and reputation in a particular field.

It’s not just a myth that people find jobs through LinkedIn. I’ve known several people personally, including myself. A lot of companies and recruiters will use LinkedIn to “cold call” potential candidates. If you use the advanced search function, you can access people with the right qualifications by keyword, title, company, school, location — the list goes on and on.

With millions of members in hundreds of countries, chances are you’ll be able to make a few connections. The more connections you have, the better chance you’ll know somebody — or know somebody who knows somebody — at a particular company. Use your connections for introductions and insight, since nobody will be able to tell you the inner workings of a company better than a current or previous employee. Since hundreds of resumes are submitted for just one position nowadays, it won’t hurt to have an inside connection bring your resume to the top of the pile with a good recommendation.

And speaking of recommendations, you can let people you know say nice things about you and put them on your profile for the whole world to see. Just go to your profile page, click on the down arrow to the right of the blue “View profile as” button, and choose “Ask to be recommended.” You can also join LinkedIn Groups that match your interest to increase your connections and stay current on company and industry trends. Or post links to relevant articles (or comment on someone else’s) so you’ll show up on your connections’ activity feeds as a “reminder” that you’re out there and ready for your next job opportunity.

There’s really no excuse for not using LinkedIn to its fullest potential. Networking is still the best way to find a job and LinkedIn is a free and easy way to get your name out there and stay relevant in the business community.

Karen Hoyt is a professional resume writer, business writer and career advisor. Learn more at