With about 500 million users across the globe, LinkedIn provides networking opportunity for professionals to connect and evolve. In most cases, creating a profile and leaving it there is not enough to attract desired recruiters to offer a job. It needs knowledge, time and effort to organise a profile and present things professionally.
Therefore, what does it take to stand out on LinkedIn and leverage its features to move ahead in one's career? To get answers to these questions and to find valuable insights about this professional network in the context of Bangladesh, Ibrahim Kamrul Shafin interviewed Jawaad Bin Hamid. Mr. Jawaad is an Human Resource (HR) professional who helps others find the right next move for their careers and by teaching leaders how to see these people.
Question (Q): Is it safe to call LinkedIn to be the social media for professionals?
Answer (A): I think, yes, because that is the positioning they are going for. It is more than a platform where employers post jobs and employees post their CVs. With their new and effective features, applicants know more about the company's culture. Meanwhile, the employers can have a holistic look at the potential employees through the way they create their profile, and through the content, they curate. It may not make or break one's application, but it is one important variable that affects the recruiter's decision-making process in varying degrees.
Q: To what extent, do you think LinkedIn is an effective way of screening recruits?
A: LinkedIn is an excellent tool for hiring mid-level and top-level managers. However, for hiring fresh graduates, its effectiveness is still not great, and thus recruiters rely more on headhunters and personal networks and check LinkedIn to confirm the perceptions they have grown about the applicants during the process. If it is a positive perception, LinkedIn helps the recruiter to get a re-affirmation. However, if somehow the recruiter receives a contrary idea about the applicant, a well-constructed profile may not be enough to change that idea.
I think having a LinkedIn profile is more of a hygiene thing now that recruiters expect every applicant to have. If I had to rate its effectiveness in screening recruits, I would give it a 10-20 per cent.
Q: From an employer's perspective, why would LinkedIn of the recruits matter if they already have their CVs?
A: Recruiters mostly use LinkedIn as a validation tool to confirm what he or she has taken away from the CV. However, with features like LinkedIn Pulse, Aggregator Tool, Employee Advocacy Programme etc. an applicant can highlight and express a lot more information that is on par with the CV to tell a convincing story of himself or herself that rounds up well. The applicants can do so by following the best LinkedIn practices.
Q: What is one crucial thing that today's young graduates should be aware of LinkedIn?
A: Through LinkedIn, an applicant can learn more about the company and its culture. However, it is a filtered view and applicants are advised to talk to the people who have experiences working with the company to get a holistic view. For the applicant, it can still be an essential factor to consider checking if the company sees itself through the same lens as the applicant does.
Q: What common mistakes do graduates or professionals make in their LinkedIn account?
A: The most common mistake in preparing one's LinkedIn profile is keeping it unfinished. It signals the employers to form a negative impression about the applicant due to their lack of effort and seriousness in developing an excellent public image. The second most common mistake is using unprofessional photos in one's profile. Half-cropped, casual images are quite common all over LinkedIn, and it is not appreciated. The third mistake is many applicants are not mindful about what type of contents they are curating since this information may reach to the feeds of the recruiters and the people they want to connect to.
Since LinkedIn is a tool that gives recruiters a chance to look into what the applicants want to be, a complete profile, a professional image, and curating the right and relevant content can combine to form a good image in the minds of the recruiters.
Q: Do you notice a lack of awareness among the professionals/graduates of Bangladesh regarding LinkedIn?
A: Yes and no. In most cases, this awareness comes from the external environment: the applicant's background and schooling. The students of the institutions where roadshows and career workshops are common phenomena are updated with the LinkedIn best practices. Unfortunately, most of the times, this is not the case, and I think more awareness programmes are necessary to keep the students updated.
Q: What will be your tips for the fresh graduates about maintaining a proper LinkedIn account?
A: Maintaining a good LinkedIn profile is a continuous process just like the CV. I would suggest young and aspiring professionals get a headstart at this by trying to decide what they want people to see when they look at their profiles. Planning early from second or third year can help them take part in different programmes like an internship, volunteering, or getting a post in the executive committee of a university club.
One's LinkedIn profile can act as a constant motivator to work for the roles and achievements that will help one craft a compelling story.
The interviewer Ibrahim Kamrul Shafin is a second year student of BBA programme at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), University of Dhaka. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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