Social Enterprise

LinkedIn is Facebook's mature older sibling

If you think Facebook and LinkedIn are somewhat interchangeable when it comes to furthering your career, think again.

While users can't decide if Facebook should be used for announcing what they're having for dinner (let me go ahead and offer a firm no on that one) or passive-aggressively insulting their in-laws, LinkedIn users are surprisingly loyal to the business interaction principle.

Facebook can be fun, don't get me wrong. But it can also be a little disconcerting when you write about your grueling work schedule and your boss responds with a smiley face. After foraging around in Facebook for any length of time, going to LinkedIn is like walking into a cocktail party with all the co-workers you like. You rarely see the LinkedIn premise misused. Sure, there's the occasional request for a recommendation from a former colleague you barely even remember, but for the most part, it's a helpful site.

When I get recommendations of "people you may know," it so happens that they are actually people I'm glad I know and would be interested in being formally connected to. With Facebook, 9 times out of 10 the friend suggestions make me want to seek a restraining order.

LinkedIn lists job openings for me, offers suggestions for professional groups I might want to join, and even gives me a reading list. (See Figure A.) I love sites that do the thinking for me. On the other hand, Facebook offers me a mechanism by which to discern what breed of cat I would be.

Figure A

If you're serious about your career, you should put your social networking efforts into LinkedIn.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

4 comments
Jacqinabox
Jacqinabox

Having recently been on the job hunt after taking voluntary redundancy (UK market), I setup my LinkedIn page to be a personal advert that was less formal than my CV. I had several interviews where the interviewer passed comment on information they had got from LinkedIn rather than my CV. I was told by one that my presentation of myself in this forum was very good. It is an excellent way to present who you are as well as what you can do. I would highly recommend it.

Jenniferhay
Jenniferhay

If you don???t have a powerful LinkedIn profile, these numbers should scare you: 70% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find candidates. They use it as the primary source, and follow up with a traditional resume only when they find the capabilities they are seeking. This is a consistent message heard throughout a conference I recently attended. I typically don???t like what I call ???misinformed statistics??????when I don???t know who created the numbers, what data they used, and for what purpose the analysis was done. I was ready to believe that the number was exaggerated, but was convinced otherwise when I heard an IT executive recruiter describe how he finds qualified candidates for his clients. Here is his story. ???John??? actively uses LinkedIn to connect with potential candidates. He???ll review their job history, skill set, and achievements to determine if it???s worth his time to contact them. This initial selection process is followed by a resume request along with a phone discussion. If he receives the resume first, he???ll go to the person???s LinkedIn profile to get more information. After I heard his compelling message, I thought to myself: ???Could it be that the numbers for IT recruiters are higher than for other fields???? This thought stayed with me until I heard conflicting evidence on my return flight to Seattle (via Dallas). I sat next to a telecom company owner who was on his way to make a sales presentation to AT&T. His company designs and implements G4 infrastructures. He told me that his HR manager uses LinkedIn to find about 60% of their candidates and would increase that number if they got the AT&T job. Do I have your attention? Newly informed but still unsure, I now think that the LinkedIn numbers for IT recruiters are much higher than I imagined. Whether it???s 50%, 60%, or 70%, can you really afford to take the chance that you might lose an opportunity. Look to see how your profile measures up. Don???t delay! You are missing out on opportunities.

Phaolan
Phaolan

I don't use Facebook as a job search tool, but I have yet to receive a useful job offer from any of the several job hunting groups I belong to on LinkedIn. I'm sure I'm a rare exception though. I live in central Maine where good IT jobs are few and far between and most recruiters are out of state and I am not looking to relocate. I've had better results from the in-state job search engines.

Sterling chip Camden
Sterling chip Camden

I tend to agree, yet a number of consultants I know swear by Facebook as their marketing tool. I've also noticed over the past week or so LinkedIn has been somewhat less than responsive. Perhaps they'll upgrade their servers soon.