Will Linkedin’s Job Application Tool Help Or Hurt Your Job Search?

Jun 2 2011 in Featured, Networking/Social Networking, reCareered Blog by Phil Rosenberg

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Yesterday, GigaOm, (a tech industry leading blog) broke the story that Linkedin was planning to launch a job application tool.

The idea is that employers could plug a button into their websites allowing job seekers to “apply with Linkedin”, using your Linkedin profile. On the surface this sounds like a great way for employers and recruiters to collect resumes.

But I examine the job seeker’s side of things … how this could affect you. And I don’t think that I like this development much.

This should sound strange to my long time readers, as I’m a raving fan of Linkedin. I sponsor Linkedin webinars, I’ve written close to 150 articles on using Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter and other social media for job search, I run one of Linkedin’s largest groups for job seekers (Career Central: http://linkd.in/hyZz6a), and I examine most of the new job search online tools and methods that I feel could help job seekers like you.

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I also have a ridiculously large Linkedin network of over 24M connections, allowing me to find Elvis and rule games involving Kevin Bacon (you can connect to me at http://linkedin.com/in/philrosenberg).

So why would I dislike a tool that makes it easier for you to apply for jobs through Linkedin?

There are a number of reasons this new development will likely hurt your job search and make it even more frustrating than it is now:

  1. Your Linkedin profile isn’t the same thing as your resume: Your Linkedin profile should be an introduction and less detailed than your resume (see http://www.recareered.com/blog/2010/06/17/resume-vs-profile-which-should-job-seekers-send/ ).
  2. You can’t customize your Linkedin profile for a specific reader: Your Linkedin profile is static – you can’t customize it for a specific reader’s needs. However, you can (and should) customize your resume. I’ve written hundreds of articles, and give complimentary resume webinars teaching tens (maybe hundreds?) of thousands how resume customization can accelerate your job search. Linkedin’s approach takes job search progress ten years backwards, when resumes had to be static … because they were delivered on paper. This is in direct conflict with corporate hiring practices that reward heavy resume customization, while penalizing those who send a static resume.
  3. You can’t bend spoons with your brainpower: Good News – If you are telepathic, an “apply with Linkedin” button will help you if you magically guess the key words a specific employer is searching for. Bad news – you’re not telepathic, nor are employers nor recruiters (see: http://www.recareered.com/blog/2011/02/18/career-advice-are-you-telepathic-then-why-act-like-employers-are/).
  4. You’ll lose some control: I teach you how to take back control over your job search through my articles and job search webinars. An “apply with Linkedin” button reintroduces mayhem, randomness, luck of the draw, of older job search methods that haven’t worked well for a decade.
  5. Currently employed workers will lose the ability to apply discretely: For current employees to include enough information on their Linkedin profiles to be selected, this information becomes public. This endangers current employees searching for a better position by making it easier for present employers to see your detailed Linkedin public profile – and figure out that you’re looking.
  6. Your ability to be searchable depends on your network size: This is already the case, benefiting candidates who have large networks, making them more visible. I sponsor Linkedin webinars to help you build a larger network and become more visible at http://LinkedJobSearchWebinar.com .
  7. You’ll need to search optimize your Linkedin Profile: If you depend on your Linkedin profile to be selected by employers and you can’t customize it for a specific reader, it will be crucial for you to search optimize it to show highly in rankings for specific terms. The Linkedin webinars I sponsor at http://LinkedJobSearchWebinar.com also help you learn the Linkedin search optimization techniques critical to increase selection odds from a Linkedin-based selection process.
  8. Affects you even if you don’t “apply with Linkedin”: It affects you because it makes it easier for people to apply, qualified or not. This will increase your competition numbers even higher than today, and lowers the % of applicants that are seen by human eyes – even if you use a resume to apply.

    As we’ve seen over the past ten years, when it’s easier to apply for a job, everybody applies – whether they are qualified or not because there’s zero time or monetary cost. So competition for jobs is likely to increase, and we’re already in the middle of the most competitive job market in our lifetime.

  9. Makes the Hidden Job Market even more critical: As competition increases, it will be even more crucial for you to get ahead of the curve … to be a front-runner for jobs before they are advertised (Full disclosure: I teach basics of ending job board dependence in my complimentary intro webinars at http://ResumeWebinar.com).

But this announcement isn’t bad for everyone, just because it sucks for you. Here’s who will benefit from an “apply with Linkedin” service:

  • Linkedin: Duh! Linkedin just went public with a huge IPO, where the company’s valuation skyrocketed to almost $7.5B … even though the company hadn’t turned a profit until 2010, when it barely eaked out enough profit so it wouldn’t scare the bejezus out of potential shareholders. Linkedin needs new ways to make money and who has really deep pockets? Big companies.
  • Big Companies: Big companies spend so much (and waste so much) money hiring employees, firing employees, and hiring some more employees that anything that automates the process to get more resumes in the pipeline looks attractive. An “apply with Linkedin” will serve to automate some of the data collection process for large companies, especially for high volume jobs like customer support, sales, technical support, clerical, unskilled manufacturing labor and entry level positions.
  • Big Recruiting/Temp Firms: Large recruiting and temp firms that supply companies with high volume jobs should also enjoy increased resume collection, and candidate acquisition costs from an “apply with Linkedin” button.

However, certain types of jobs will likely suffer from the lower candidate quality that a more automated, less personal, more dysfunctional hiring process will bring. This especially effects specialized labor, highly technical/specialized/professional skills, management, experienced candidates and executives.

It’s interesting that these more specialized types of employees are the core of Linkedin users today. Sounds like it’s good for Linkedin, good for entry level and unskilled workers (who aren’t very well represented on Linkedin), but bad for the majority of Linkedin’s current audience. I guess Linkedin is willing to disenfranchise it’s core audience, to compete with Zuck and his Facebook pals.

Stay tuned for next week’s follow up article, where I’ll give detailed tips about what you can do now to prepare for upcoming changes a “apply with Linkedin” will cause, even if you apply outside of Linkedin.

Candidates: Please comment below and let the audience know what you think about these changes.

Recruiters: Do you think an “apply with Linkedin” button will help you, or hurt you?

Employers: Do you think an “apply with Linkedin” button will help you find better qualified candidates, in addition to a lower candidate acquisition cost?

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Source: http://reCareered.com
Author: Phil Rosenberg

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