Branding is a hot topic right now and especially on LinkedIn. Individuals are trying to build their brand and companies are trying to build their brand both internally and externally. Thinking specifically on the individual’s side, how does one build their brand? Often times, it starts with or is heavily involved with LinkedIn.
If you are searching for a job, you want your brand to be as positive as possible, and you want your LinkedIn profile to reflect the same (I will exclude Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram from this discussion since it is an area we could talk about for countless hours, days, even years). Let’s first look at what LinkedIn is. From their own website, they describe themselves as “the world’s largest professional network.” Easy enough. The important part here is professional.
Do different people have different ideas and expectations about professionalism and what is or is not professional? Of course! There is however one thing your LinkedIn should not be used for when looking for a new position: bashing all companies, recruiters, and hiring managers that have previously rejected you or not responded to your application. Is it frustrating and annoying when you apply to something that you have relevant experience for but do not hear from the company? Absolutely. There is lots of time and work that goes into making a resume that tells your story accurately, in going through online portals and interview processes, and the entire hiring process. Not hearing back doesn’t feel good but the way you respond can, and most likely will, affect your search in the future.
When I was in staffing, I interviewed a candidate who had 5+ years in a very specific type of position and was looking to make a career change into accounting. Being that I was on the temporary and temp to hire side, the majority of my positions required experience in accounts payable for an accounts payable position, in payroll for a payroll position, etc. Companies do not want to bring someone on in a contract role who they have to train on every single part of the job. They want people with similar experience who can step in quickly and contribute to the team. Two weeks after I interviewed the candidate, “Jane”, I still did not have anything for her. I logon to LinkedIn and see a post bashing the company I was with. It was similar to “Don’t trust the recruiters at Robert Half. I interviewed two weeks ago and they still haven’t found me anything. They only want to make the next dollar and don’t care about their candidates.”
This was on LinkedIn. On LinkedIn where we were connected. One thing about recruiters I have found is that they talk to other recruiters. I shared it with my co-workers as a red flag but I also had a hiring manager (HM) reach out to me. The hiring manager was with a company I had previously placed candidates with and Jane had applied here. The HM was also connected with Jane and saw the post. Since she also had a relationship with myself and Robert Half, she reached out to see what that was all about. I explained the situation and the HM made the choice to not contact Jane because they felt like if they started the process and she was not selected, the company and herself would be the subject of the next LinkedIn rant.
If you are going to voice specific concerns about specific people and/or companies on LinkedIn, make sure they are valid. Your LinkedIn page is part of your brand, and you want your brand to be a positive one that helps you in different aspects of your career, including your job search. People talk and people share experiences and things they have seen. Make sure what others see of you and your brand is the brand you are wanting them to see.