• Learn How to Build a Powerful Personal Brand That Will Differentiate You and Allow You To Compete in the Global Marketplace.
  • Your Online Brand: LinkedIn, or Just another Pretty Facebook?

    Social media is all the rage. Even Fortune500 companies, who are always on the trailing edge of technology, are getting into it. How about you? Is your personal brand supported well by your social media footprint and activities, or not? There are dozens of social media sites, but I will be limiting this post to the two that have the broadest impact on most people’s personal brands.

    It has been my experience that LinkedIn offers the greatest online opportunity to build your brand, whereas Facebook offers the greatest online opportunity to subvert your brand. I say this because you can control virtually 100% of your brand messaging on LinkedIn and it is business focused, whereas your Facebook brand messaging tends to be more crowdsourced and the site is not business focused. Employers tend to use Facebook to identify potentially negative information. For these reasons, I recommend job seekers keep Facebook as sanitized as possible and focus their brand-building efforts on LinkedIn. This post emphasizes the latter.

    During my early days as a job search consultant back in 2003, someone told me about a new web site called LinkedIn. I logged on and started searching to see who was on it. I found there was a disproportionate number of recruiters present. It appeared that recruiters were establishing themselves on LinkedIn with the hope that the site would attract business contacts and evolve into a new platform for finding job candidates. So, I joined the site and began building my network of recruiters and other contacts. Fast forwarding to 2013, the site has grown to over 200 million users, it has become one of the premier online recruiting resources, and my three-level network has expanded to more than 30 million contacts. Today, over 90% of recruiters use LinkedIn to identify job candidates and roughly 50% of all site revenues are derived from recruiters.

    Here are some excerpts from Fast Track Your Job Search (and Career!) regarding expanding your visibility and enhancing your personal brand on LinkedIn:

    “Find someone who is very experienced with LinkedIn and ask them to help you optimize your profile with keywords and other desirable content.”
    “Send requests to your contacts for recommendations … Five or six is a useful minimum.”
    “Search Groups by keywords … Decide which groups you want to join and apply for membership.”
    “Consider reaching out to people within professions, metro areas, etc. with whom fostering good relationships would be wise.”
    “Occasionally, post a question that is relevant to your industry and/or profession.”

    LinkedIn can help you get a better job and get it sooner. It can help you build your online personal brand while increasing your visibility with recruiters and hiring managers. But, you must learn the system and invest the necessary effort. Invest five hours per week of your job search time in these areas and you will stand to reap rewards.

    What are your experiences using LinkedIn during your job search? Have you found it to be helpful, or not? I would love to hear your comments!


    Richard Kirby is an executive career consultant, speaker on career strategies, and author of Fast Track Your Job Search (and Career!). Richard Kirby’s earlier experience includes managing engineering, human resources, marketing and sales teams for employers that ranged from a Fortune 100 to a VC-funded entrepreneurial startup. For the past 11 years at Executive Impact, Richard has helped hundreds of executives and professionals successfully navigate today’s transformed 21st century job market and achieve better employment for themselves. Richard’s expertise includes career assessments and goal setting, personal marketing/branding, resume enhancement, strategic networking and job interviewing, and “contrarian” job search methodologies. He is a Board Certified Coach (in career coaching) and a Certified Management Consultant (recognized by the ISO).


    Richard Kirby is a Vistage Chair (http://www.vistage.com), executive coach (http://www.executivecareerconsultant.com), and author of the book/eBook Fast Track Your Job Search (http://tinyurl.com/k39rb2u). He helps business owners improve their business operations' financial performance and helps individuals improve their career financial performance. Richard is a Board Certified Coach (BCC) in career coaching and an ISO-recognized Certified Management Consultant (CMC).

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    4 comments on “Your Online Brand: LinkedIn, or Just another Pretty Facebook?
    1. avatar

      Great advice Mr. Kirby. I also appreciate the warning about Facebook; too many job seekers lose great opportunities based on negative information found on Facebook by recruiters. The final five tips regarding increasing visibility on LinkedIn are great. I especially agree with the second tip about requesting recommendations. I would perhaps add that the request would be more likely to be granted if we fist recommended those same 5 or 6 contacts, and then submit the request for a recommendation in return.

      Thanks again!

    2. avatar

      I found that having an up-to-date profile on LinkedIn is critical in your Job Search. Also having people endorse your Skills and Expertise is important too.

      Last year I was looking for a new job as a Senor Software Developer. One way I stay organized with all the people I met during my job search was to use a web site I built in my spare time called MyResumeTracker – https://www.myresumetracker.com . This web site was built to help Job Seekers with their online Job Search Organization. The web site allows users to track the following: Companies, Contacts, Jobs, Attachments, To Do’s and Interviews. In the Contact section I was able to put names, phone numbers, email addresses and notes about what was discussed. If I talked with someone I found had a LinkedIn profile I would add their contact information with a link to their LinkedIn page in the Contact section of the website. The Contact dashboard provided a quick reference and links back to information vs. having to search for it. In the Job section I was able to copy and paste jobs I found on the internet. For jobs I applied to I could associate Contacts with the Job. I could also upload different versions of my resume and cover letters and associate those with the jobs I was tracking. That way when I talk with someone at the company I was interested in I knew what I had sent by looking at the notes and attachments stored in https://www.myresumetracker.com. Using LinkedIn and MyResumeTracker really helped me stay focused in my Job Search Organization efforts.

      An internal recruiter with CVS Caremark found my profile on LinkedIn. She contacted me and said she had a job that matched my background. I liked what she said about the position and wanted to move forward. I did a phone interview with another Senior Developer. I used LinkedIn to look-up the other developer’s information prior the interview. LinkedIn help me size up his skills as a developer so I could ask him some very pointed questions about the organization and the IT Infrastructure. It gave me a chance to see if I would be a good fit for the company. That interview went well and I was recommended for another interview. I moved on to the next interview which was another phone interview. The Senior Manager I was scheduled to talk with had a LinkedIn Profile too. I reviewed it and was impressed with her background. After passing this phone interview I then had an in person interview with 3 Senior staff members – a VP, a Director and a Department Manager. Again all three people had LinkedIn profiles so I knew something about them before the interview. LinkedIn helped me identify more with each person, understand their skill sets vs. going into the interview not knowing anything. LinkedIn helped in identifying me as a candidate and land a job I love.
      I guess I could say LinkedIn helped the Job find me!

    3. avatar
      Richard Kirby says:

      Great point, Stuart. You would never have known about the job had the employer not found you through LinkedIn.

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