I raised some eyebrows at a lecture to graduating seniors at a west coast college in June when I suggested they tear up their resumes.
I quickly added that I really didn’t mean getting rid of their resumes, but it was my way of getting their attention to spend more time developing their LinkedIn profiles. Since then, a handful of students in that class have updated their LinkedIn profiles and a few have increased their connections. One student still only has 48 connections, not the 500+ I encourage students to set as a goal by the time they graduate. Fortunately, a couple of students have exceeded the 500+ goal. It’s not that hard, but it could be very important to your career.
With more than 90% of recruiters now relying on LinkedIn rather than maintaining their own resume files, anyone hoping to land future jobs should be actively updating and expanding their LinkedIn presence. This fact was underscored by a conversation with a young pro last week who told me she is happy with her current job, but she was approached “out of the clear blue” by a recruiter with an opportunity that offers a substantial title and pay increase that she simply has to consider. The recruiter found her via LinkedIn.
Many former students have shared their job progression stories with me, confirming that a vast majority of new jobs don’t come from job boards where they send their resumes and generally feel ghosted. They landed jobs through networking, word-of-mouth and solid LinkedIn profiles.
One former student said his new employer never posted a highly coveted position. Instead, the firm exclusively uses LinkedIn to identify potential candidates. Tip: In his case, he was told they found him through online profile and, importantly, he was the only person following the company on LinkedIn. “They said the simple fact I was following them demonstrated my interest in the firm,” he explained. “The company never posted the job more broadly. And I was the only person they interviewed!”
Students currently working in internships should make sure you send connection requests (with personalized messages, please) to everyone you meet during the experience. And you should make sure you are connected to all classmates, guest speakers and professors from your classes.
Another former student who I chided for only having 132 connections accepted my 500+ challenge during her final year in our graduate program. By the time she graduated, she had more than a thousand contacts and that number today is 2,000+. She made it a habit to jot down names of everyone she met or heard speak. Within 24 hours she would send a connection request to each of them with a personal reminder note of how they met. She says LinkedIn has become an essential networking tool that has led to her last two jobs.
For tips how to develop the strongest possible LinkedIn profiles, check out some of the prior Culpwrit posts on the topic via the search tab.