“LinkedIn Is the Professional Powerhouse” for Older Job-Hunters

Research supports what I know to be true: LinkedIn is the social media platform of choice for the unemployed.

“Whether someone is newly unemployed and facing the first steps getting back into the job market or unemployed for several months (even years), the bests approach is to dive into LinkedIn and get rolling” according to researchers Joyce and Smith-Prouix (2016, p. 131).

If you’re a professional, you’re expected to have a public profile on LinkedIn.com, especially if you’re in the market for a new career opportunity.

According to a survey of 222 participants with at least one Facebook or LinkedIn account,  nearly one-third of respondents used LinkedIn to find a salaried job, half of them shared that LinkedIn helped them find a job before, and researchers concluded that “more educated users with higher incomes perceived LinkedIn as more effective” (Zhitomirsky-Geffet & Bratspiess, 2016, pp. 105 and 109).

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago now gauges the condition of the labor market in part by online job search activity. “In fact, the use of online job search websites by job seekers and employers has essentially become the norm…today, job seekers who use online job search as one of their search methods are much more likely to find work—and find work faster—than those who do not” (Faberman & Kudlyak, 2016, p. 12).

Sameen and Cornelius (2015) conducted a survey from the U.S. of managers in small or medium businesses in Pakistan.

  • In all, 79.8% of respondents in the service and manufacturing sectors said they use LinkedIn to screen job candidates generally after the initial application to help reduce time and cost in the hiring process.
  • However, 59.4% said they did not making hiring decisions based solely on candidates’ social networking profile.
  • About 15% (16.4%) of respondents who disqualified candidates based on their LinkedIn or other social media profiles cited poor communication skills, lies about qualifications, and negative comments about previous employers (p. 28).
  • Sameen and Cornelius also cited several previous studies when concluding that hiring managers may frequently be influenced by candidates’ age, sexual orientation, weight, and facial features.

For older job-seekers, getting online and sharing an up-to-date LinkedIn profile may be intimidating, but it can also help turn around the potential of negative aging perceptions, according to Mufson (2016). She called “LinkedIn is the professional powerhouse” for older workers because more than 90% of recruiters check out candidates on LinkedIn, but less than 25% of workers 40 and above are on social media. Therefore, older workers who leverage their decades of personal friends, past and current professional colleagues, and alumni connections. Since LinkedIn is can solicit more referrals and triple their chances to landing job leads, finding job postings, networking with hiring managers, and landing informational interviews.

Based on Mufson’s guidance to career counselors, older workers in the job market should:

  1. Google themselves to determine what online information is readily available to recruiters, and if there’s any digital dirt that needs some Spring cleaning.
  2. Complete a LinkedIn profile. According to LinkedIn cited by Mufson, people with complete profiles are contacted 40 times more than people whose profiles aren’t complete.
  3. Include a professional photo that conveys confidence and friendliness.
  4. Remove outdated skills, technology, and jargon from profiles that add little value and might work against you in terms of stake skills.
  5. Consider adding an online resume to your profile. Mufson suggested Brandedme.com, ResumUP.com, and strikingly.com as mobile-friendly online resume pages that will leverage LinkedIn profile content.
  6. Get engaged on the site by providing comments to well-known influencers, writing book reviews for jobs in your field, and consider using LinkedIn as a blog for longer, more detailed thought pieces.

(This article reflects only the opinion of the author.)

References

Faberman, R. J., & Kudlyak, M. (2016, March). What does online job search tell us about the labor market? Economic Perspectives [serial online], 40(1), 1-14.

Joyce, S. P., & Smith-Proulx, L. (2016). How the unemployed can leverage LinkedIn. Career Planning & Adult Development Journal, 32(2), 131-135.

Mufson, P. (2016, Summer). Online presence for mature job seekers. Career Planning & Adult Development Journal, 32(2), 163-169.

Sameen, S. & Cornelius, S. (2015). Social networking sites and hiring: How social media profiles influence hiring decisions. Journal of Business Studies Quarterly, 7(1), 1-27.

Zhitomirsky-Geffet, M., & Bratspiess, Y. (2015). Perceived effectiveness of social networks for job search. Libri: International Journal of Libraries & Information Services, 65(2), 105-118. doi:10.1515/libri-2014-0115

 

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