Before the job is posted and advertised, where does the recruiter/HR professional/hiring manager look for potential candidates? Before they even hit the job boards, they are on LinkedIn. And, if you are not there, then you don’t exist. Let me repeat that – IF YOU ARE NOT LINKEDIN, YOU DO NOT EXIST.

People who are in talent acquisition and recruiting positions are savvy and cost-effective. In today’s market, candidates are in abundance so before the company spends money on fees and advertising, they do their own homework; and in a tight economy, hiring managers who save the company money through professional networking and keeping their recruitment costs low, are heroes.

For example, a pharmaceutical advertising firm is looking for an Account Executive with experience in oncology products. While this may seem like a needle in a haystack, the hiring manager or HR representative can go on LinkedIn and do an advanced search. I just tried it with my own network and returned 219 results. So, if I was the cost-conscious, career climbing manager in charge of filling this position, I would work this network, get the word out about the open position, ask these 219 potential resources if they are interested or know someone who would be interested. This job would be filled quickly, at no-low cost to my employer, and the open position would never have even made it to the public eye. That’s right, you may have been the perfect candidate, but you were never even in the game, because you did not have an online presence, I could not find you and in simplest terms, you just didn’t exist.

LinkedIn is the largest, most popular professional and business social networking sites. All fortune 500 companies are represented and the global reach includes over 75 million members in over 200 countries with a very diverse industry mix. So why is it so important to be LinkedIn? Hopefully you can one benefit of being LinkedIn from the example above, but there are so many other benefits.

• Linking in with others helps you to build your professional relationships through internet-based social networks, discussion groups, electronic publishing and more. By expanding your networking reach, you build your online presence and you are able to communicate your personal brand.

• By growing your network, you open doors to connecting with people in a wide range of industries and positions. You can get yourself out there and connect quickly and easily.

• Jobs are posted on LinkedIn by companies and individuals. Get in the know. Be part of discussions where people may be looking for someone just like you.

• Research Companies – Do you want to learn about a company? Find out what they do, what jobs are open and who works there? Use the search feature and do your homework. If you have your eye set on a specific company, you will increase the likelihood of having a connection to someone there as you expand your personal network.

• Search for Contacts – The personal touch still goes along way. Can you find someone you know at a company or get an introduction to someone who can walk your résumé over top the right person?

• Join groups (there are over 450,000 groups) and you can find other like-minded individuals who can assist you with your job search.

• Communicate and let people know that you are looking.

While this may seem overwhelming, I have only scratched the service of the importance of LinkedIn in today’s job market. When a résumé is in a potential employer’s hands, one of the first things they will do is search for that candidate online. They are searching to see if you are “with the times”, that you have an inline presence and that the information about you online is consistent with your résumé, just to name few things.

Don’t overlook this crucial job search tool, and make sure that your LinkedIn profile is complete and you are utilizing LinkedIn to your full advantage. If you need assistance creating your profile, many résumé/career service professionals offer this service.

Author's Bio: 

Michelle A. Riklan holds a B.A. in Theatre, English Literature and Speech Communications from Hofstra University. While beginning her corporate career, she pursued and completed a M.A. in Speech and Interpersonal Communications from New York University where she also served as an Instructor in Voice and Diction/Public Speaking. Utilizing her education and presentation skills, she continued a career path in Human Resource Management. Her generalist background is all inclusive, but her areas of expertise include employment, employee relations and training and development.

With a combined 20 years of in-house corporate and targeted consulting experience, Michelle services large corporations as well as small businesses and individuals in all aspects of Human Resources and Career Management.

As an internationally award winning Certified Professional Résumé Writer and Certified Employment Interview Consultant, Michelle has written hundreds of résumés and coached clients through all phases of the job search. Her résumés get results! Individual services include:

Résumés that land on the top of the pile!
Coaching that puts you ahead of the competition.
Training that ensures career advancement.
We want you to reach your top potential!

Society of Human Resource Management
American Society of Training and Development,
Professional Association of Résumé Writers/Career Coaches
National Résumé Writers Association
Career Director’s International

Certifications and Training:
Certified Professional Résumé Writer
Certified Employment Interview Consultant
DiSC Administrator
Myers-Briggs Assessment Administration
Michelle is also a co-founder of Self Improvement Online, Inc.