LinkedIn started as this wonderful idea of a platform to help create a professional community between job-seekers, recruiters, and companies to connect with each other, share professional news and milestones, and create mutually beneficial relationships. Great idea, right?
Let me be the first to tell you that LinkedIn is really just a graveyard for resume dumping and sharing your professional/creative projects or awards in hopes of receiving praise from the people that you already know, or to actually spread word of a ground-breaking mission that you were a part of (maybe it will even go viral!) Of course this is just my own opinion, however I genuinely think that if you are a job seeker or trying to get a “leg-up” on the competition, that magical “500+” connections on your LinkedIn profile really means nothing and you could better spend your time on other job boards/platforms out there. Why do I think this? Keep on readin’…
I’ve been to quite a few conferences in my professional life, despite only having just recently graduated from college. I’ve attended three networking trips hosted by various companies in NYC, a conference hosted by Publicis Media in Atlanta, and various workshop-type Zoom calls held by different companies about “navigating through these troubled times.” None of the Zoom call companies were hiring which I find ironic because the only thing 2020 graduates care about is landing our first jobs and paying off our loans coming up in November. Were they a waste of my time? Debatable. Did they help me navigate through my own “troubled times?” Hell no.
While I learned a lot in a short amount of time from the very generous professionals who donated their time and resources to making these events happen, the one thing I noticed was that nearly every single speaker and panelist would share their social media (i.e. LinkedIn profiles) and say “please connect with me, I’d love to hear from you!” which was such a LIE. While sure, they may have accepted my invitation to “connect” aka add them to my “connections” list, which pretty much means nothing unless they decide to stalk your profile, nearly every time I messaged them my questions about the industry or work that they’ve been involved in I would be met with silence. What the hell is the point of a platform based around networking if they aren’t going to ACTUALLY network with you???
Have you ever received those annoying automated messages from “recruiters” or MLM employees saying they think you are *just right* for this *perfect* opportunity to grow your skill set and make a lot of money *quickly*? Yeah, no thank you. Please don’t respond to those messages!
I quickly found out that LinkedIn is really just for numbers and engagements if you are an already established professional in your career, or a company concerned with letting the world know that you are breaking the glass-ceiling/being more inclusive and equitable in how you operate. If you are just getting started and trying to enter an industry, forget it. It is a waste of your (and my own) time.
Please don’t feel down on yourself when you see that girl from your Corporate Finance class post about her struggle choosing between one of the Big Four accounting firms’ job offers or her internship as a business analyst for a multi-million dollar company because of Corona virus. Trust me, I get notifications like that every single day and I pay them no mind. You are not your post-grad classmates and you are exactly where you need to be right now.
Job seekers: I advise you not to apply for jobs through LinkedIn and instead go directly to the company’s website or other job boards like Indeed or Glassdoor. While LinkedIn may be useful in allowing you to discover these new opportunities, you have better chances of having your application viewed through the company’s own website, or even through your college’s job portal like Handshake. Once you see that 100+ applications marker on the job posting, don’t even both applying. Your application will be at the bottom of the pile and likely not even be noticed if you apply through LinkedIn.
One advantage that I do utilize LinkedIn for is your ability to search a company and then look at the employees who are currently working there. You can find people in positions similar to what you are looking for and try to connect with them that way, or see if you have any mutual connections. Better yet, after finding these potential connections try going to the company’s website and looking at their leadership/team page and see if they leave their contact information. Do they have an email address listed? Is it a uniform format for each employee? If so, you can bet that if you use that email format with the person’s name that you found on LinkedIn you want to connect with that they will receive your email.
Personally, I think taking the time to research this tactic will possibly lead to a higher chance of them responding to you because most professionals check their emails a LOT more regularly than they do LinkedIn messages. Make your email as personal as possible and include details like admiring the clients or projects they’ve been a part of and I’m sure they would love to discuss this further with you. The trick is to make it impossible for them NOT to respond to you! That’s true networking right there.
I hope this article resonated with you if you’ve also been feeling stuck on the job-searching front because of social networking platforms, and I would love to hear your story or any advice you have to share in the comments below!