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Could LinkedIn Stop You Getting Your Next Job?

Instead of making themselves more attractive to employers, job seekers who used the platform excessively found they were often unsuccessful in their applications. New research shows us why...
Instead of making themselves more attractive to employers, job seekers who used the platform excessively found they were often unsuccessful in their applications. New research shows us why…
  • New research shows that excessive LinkedIn users lack ‘selectivity’ and ‘thorough preparation’ in their job search
  • Be pickier and focus on personal branding if you want to be successful
  • Research shows vast number of recruiters review applicants LinkedIn profiles even if they do not apply through platform

It’s no secret that LinkedIn is one of the most popular ways for people to connect on a professional level, network with others in their field and showcase their work in today’s virtual world. According to LinkedIn, 100 million job applications are submitted through the platform every single month – which makes it seem like the ideal place to seek new opportunities.

However new research from emlyon business school in France shows that people need to be a lot more careful than first assumed when using the platform to secure their next position.

The research, led by Nikos Bozionelos a Professor of International Human Resources Management, and conducted by students in the school’s Master Grande Ecole Programme, focused on an online survey of working professionals and job seekers, and semi-structured interviews with experienced recruitment managers. 

The online survey was completed by both French and international workers who’d had active LinkedIn accounts for an average of 3.6 years, and were currently in full or part-time employment. Interviews were held with hiring managers and HR professionals, with over 85 years of working experience between them.

Results showed that instead of making themselves more attractive to employers, job seekers who use the platform excessively actually started to hinder their chances of finding a new role and were often unsuccessful in their applications.

So why does this happen?

Prof. Bozionelos suggests two main reasons; the applicant’s lack of selectivity, and lack of thorough preparation in applications. “The findings suggest that people who prioritise professional social media platforms like LinkedIn as a way to find a job tend to spend disproportional amounts of time searching and sending out applications, and are less selective in the jobs they choose to enquire about or apply to,” he says. “As a consequence there is less chance of identifying those jobs that suit them best, and they have less time to prepare their application well to maximise their chances to succeed.”

For example, a jobseeker who launches lots of job applications at a constant and frequent pace may be in a situation where they are desperately and frantically looking for a new position, he says, chancing their arm at a number of different roles in variety of industries rather than waiting for a perfect position that fits their specific skillsets and experience.

Those who apply at a high frequency are also likely to submit applications that are not thoroughly put together. Many high-level roles on LinkedIn require a thorough job application, which includes a lengthy questionnaire, a tailored CV, a persuasive cover letter and even sometimes a written test. According to Professor Bozionelos, Those who spend too much time applying for multiple roles often fail to include sufficient detail in their applications and subsequently fail to impress recruiters.

The study also revealed that 71 per cent of recruiters believe that an applicant’s LinkedIn profile is important and will routinely review them as part of the recruitment process, even if the applicant has not applied for the job via the platform. In regards to direct job-hunting, 78 per cent of recruiters feel that social networking sites are better suited to just that – social networking – and creating further opportunities which could in time lead to job offers, rather than using them as a direct recruitment tool. 

So, if using LinkedIn excessively to apply for work hinders your chances, what do the researchers suggest as a better approach?

Prof. Bozionelos advises applicants be less aggressive. This approach will allow for sufficient time to carefully select those job openings that best suit a person’s skill set and knowledge, and to then prepare a convincing and attractive job application. “In the meantime, when not applying for roles, job seekers should use LinkedIn in moderation as a personal branding, self-promotion and impression management tool – making it easier for recruiters to see the skillset and knowledge you offer,” he says. “Putting a name to a face and having general conversations increases the chances of being informed about or applying for a job that fits their skills, experience and desires. This is more effective than just applying for any job that is loosely related to their capabilities. The findings suggest that sites such as LinkedIn are more beneficial when used as a personal branding and self-promotion tool, as opposed to job advert board”.

The results of the study are helpful under any circumstances, but especially so when volatility in the job market is high. Remember, when seeking to boost your career via LinkedIn, engaging with existing contacts and taking the time to fully prepare your applications are the key ingredients for your success.

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