The new hot job search tool is LinkedIn. It’s free and a great way to stay in touch with former colleagues and customers throughout your career.

Lately I’ve had requests to “beef up” my clients’ profiles in order to get noticed by recruiters. I decided to do some reading on the topic by seasoned experts only to find out I disagree with a lot of their advice. Here’s why.

The LinkedIn experts have said you get 2000 characters to describe yourself in your profile, therefore you should use them all. What? Since when do people like to read? I learned in a copy-writing class for marketers to avoid going past 5 lines whenever possible or the eyeballs will glaze over the copy. In my opinion, the LinkedIn Profile is no different than your “elevator speech.” Keep it short and to the point yet cover as much as possible to elicit interest. Don’t forget the key words.

I’ve also read that you shouldn’t copy and paste the summary of qualifications from your resume into the profile. In fact, the experts say you should write something different than what’s already on your resume. Hmmmm. I scratch my head on that because I equate it to a company changing its mission statement whenever they want. Don’t most marketers agree that consistent branding is key? So why mix it up? Besides, LinkedIn is not the place to reveal too much about yourself. Anyone can read your profile there. Not everyone needs to know how successful you are. In fact, it could come back to haunt you.

Here is what I agree with regarding LinkedIn:
Get recommendations, at least 8.
Connect with at least 100 people to make your networking efforts successful.
Don’t try to sell anything to your network.
Keep your photo and profile professional.

I’ll continue to research LinkedIn to see if I change my stance. But here’s what I do know. I’ve had clients contact me to report that they had been offered jobs because of LinkedIn and they weren’t even looking for a new gig. Most job offers on LinkedIn will come through a referral. Someone who can vouch for your success.

So there you have it. Networking is still the key to an effective job search. Only now, it’s online.

–Susan Geary / 1st Rate Resumes