A screenshot of Danny Beyer’s LinkedIn account. Beyer is a longtime LinkedIn user.
Should you be LinkedIn?
Published on October 1st, 2013 | by Josh Hafner
If you’re a Des Moines young professional worth your digital salt, you have a LinkedIn account.
“Everyone has one,” said Brian Springer, 27, a sales and marketing manager in Des Moines. “I’m kind of caught off (guard) if someone doesn’t have one.”
How you should use LinkedIn, however, depends on whether you’re primarily looking to build out a network of peers or attract a potential employer, area YPs and recruiters say.
What’s more, the site has evolved a lot since it debuted a decade ago. LinkedIn users now not only list their job history and qualifications, but also what news they follow, what groups they volunteer with and even what thought “influencers” they’re listening to.
Do all the bells and whistles of LinkedIn’s added features matter? Maybe, maybe not, said Josh Ingalls, a recruiting consultant for The Principal Financial Group.
When examining a potential job candidate’s LinkedIn profile, recruiters at Principal aren’t looking for a person who volunteers with the Boys and Girls Club, sits on a dozen boards or follows Tony Robbins as an influencer. They’re ultimately checking for cold, hard qualifications on a profile, Ingalls said.
Principal searches for users who’ve listed specific degrees, licenses and experiences in a particular field, said Principal Recruiting Director Kerry Gumm, objective qualifiers which no amount of networking could supplant.
The company won’t look at your LinkedIn network or how many people have endorsed your sales skills, Ingalls said. The recommendations on your profile, like on your resume, likely come from people you asked to say good things about you anyway.
While a big network and a string of recommendations may not affect how a company approaches you, they’re likely to affect your ability to approach a company or potential business. The greater a user’s network, the greater the odds that the person will be a degree or two from employees at a desired company and give them a possible foot in the door, Ingalls said.
Listing personal items like volunteer groups and interests do come in handy when connecting with other individuals, said Danny Beyer, 31, a longtime LinkedIn user and sales representative in West Des Moines. Both he and Springer use common interests or connections as ways to reach out to potential clients and land business opportunities.
One way Beyer brings his online networking into the real world is through LinkedIn Social, a series of cocktail hours he helps organize that are entirely promoted on the site. Then people meet up at places like the Des Moines Embassy Club to drink wine and meet their connections face-to-face, sometimes for the first time. A LinkedIn Social at the club earlier this month drew about 90 professionals.
And while Beyer uses LinkedIn daily, he still doesn’t read too much into the skills endorsements people display on their profiles.
“They take three seconds to say ‘yes’ and people can put anything they want,” he said. “I’ve been endorsed for crazy stuff like budgets. And I don’t do anything with budgets.”
Do you use LinkedIn?