LinkedIn Profile Optimization with Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn Founder

I came across this interview of Reid Hoffman, the Founder of LinkedIn, from February 2009.

Reid talks about the importance of LinkedIn profile optimization, from several points of view, including the benefits of personal branding, as well as from a job search perspective.

While it’s an old interview, I think it’s always helpful to hear the founder talk about his views of using LinkedIn for “Pimping your profile!”.

The “Clicking and Applying” Job Search doesn’t work – you need an employee referral

‚ÄúClicking and Applying‚Äù for jobs, be it from a job board, or corporate career site, is not a very effective job search strategy. There are a lot of reasons this doesn’t work. I’ll dive into those reasons at another time.
The most important thing to know is this.

Employee Referrals are the #1 source of new hires in the US.*

This fact has been proven time and time again.
We’ve heard for years, ‚ÄúIt’s easier to get your foot in the door if you know someone!‚Äù

Well, it’s true. What’s also true, and what most job seekers don’t know is the following:

  • Candidates that apply through a referral have a 1 in 10 chance (or 10% ) of being hired. This might not sound very high, but consider the following: The chances of getting hired from applying for a job from a job board is approximately less than 1 in 300. (An ad on a job board can generate well over 100 applications. If the job is placed on 3 job boards, that’s over 300 applicants for a single job. If you get the job, your chances were 1 in 300.)
  • Employee Referrals almost always get their resume read and responded to. Imagine that… actually getting your resume read. That, in and of itself, would be novelty for most job seekers these days! This happens because of internal corporate structures. If an employee refers someone to the hiring manager, that resume is almost always read. This happens because the recruiting or hiring team tries to respond to the employee who referred the candidate, letting them know the status of the applicant. Additionally, most recruiting teams will take the extra step to contact the applicant as a courtesy to their fellow employee.
  • Because of this ‚Äúemployee courtesy‚Äù, Employee Referrals are almost always given the benefit of the doubt. So, as long as you meet the minimal qualifications of the position, there is a very good chance that you are going to get a first round screen or interview. Again, this is because of courtesy to their own employees who are trying to help with the recruiting process. If the recruiting team doesn’t respond to the employee or the applicant, how motivated will employees be to help recruit in the future.
  • In some employers, the chances of being hired as a referral are an astonishing 25%. That means if you apply to 4 jobs, in some of these companies, there is a chance you will get a job offer. *

    The best practice for generating job leads is by connecting with employees in the companies you want to work for and “Being Referable”.

    In another post, I’ll discuss the process of generating job leads through referrals.

    *= For the last 10 years Mark Mehler and Gerry Crispin of CareerXRoads, have been researching and documenting the top “sources of hires” for many of the largest corporations in the US. In their Annual Source of Hire Report they show some incredible evidence of the importance of employee referrals, to both job seekers and employers alike. Thanks as always, go out to Gerry and Mark!

    ICANN victory for .Jobs Charter Compliance Coalition and HRSEO.

    ICANN Decision Supports .JOBS Charter Compliance Coalition, stating that .JOBS Domain Cannot be Used to Operate Job Boards, which means universe.jobs must be shut down.

    Congratulations to the .JOBS Charter Compliance Coalition!
    This is a big win for the IAEWS, employers, HRSEO advocates, and vendors.
    SPECIAL BULLETIN

    • ICANN Issues Notice for Employ Media to Cease Operation of “Dot Jobs Universe.”
    • Strongly Worded Breach Notice Affirms .JOBS Compliance Coalition Position.
    • ICANN Investigation Concludes .JOBS Domain Cannot be Used to Operate Job Boards.

    ICANN Decision a Victory for .JOBS Coalition

    After weathering a ferocious public relations blitz, the .JOBS Charter Compliance Coalition learned today that its opposition to the .JOBS Charter expansion had been vindicated by a recent notice posted by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). In this notice, ICANN states:

    The recently launched universe.jobs appears to be a job board that advertises job openings for multiple employers. It is our understanding that one registrant, who is a member of SHRM, registered forty thousand second-level domain names in the .JOBS TLD for use on this job boards. … These registrations appear to serve the interests of the registrant or company causing the registrations, as well as Employ Media and SHRM rather than the interests of the human resource management professionals.

    Employ Media and SHRM’s failure to establish policies, in conformity with the defined purpose and intent of the .JOBS registry is inconsistent with the .JOBS Charter ….

    Those factors support ICANN’s opening sentence of the notice which states:

    “Be advised that as of and before 28 February 2011, Employ Media is in breach of its Registry Agreement between the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (‚ÄúICANN‚Äù) and Employ Media LLC (‚ÄúEmploy Media‚Äù).”

    The notice further requires Employ Media that “cure” or fix the breach. It states:

    Should Employ Media fail to cure this breach within 30 calendar days, ICANN may commence the termination process as set forth in Section 6.1 of the .JOBS Registry Agreement.

    Essentially, SHRM was found at fault for not living up to it’s commitment regarding ICANN registrations. SHRM was willing to let a single vendor create 40,000 job boards further diluting the job board industry as well as making it more competitive for employers to direct hire using search engine optimization techniques.

    This is a clear win for the .JOBS Charter Compliance Coalition:
    Here are the companies and individuals responsible for this industry victory!

    The .JOBS Charter Compliance Coalition was chaired by John Bell, the Founder and CEO of Boxwood Technology. Its members include AHA Solutions (American Hospital Association); the American Society of Association Executives; the American Society of Civil Engineers; the American Staffing Association; Boxwood Technology, Inc.; CareerBuilder, LLC; the International Association of Employment Web Sites; twenty-three individual members of the International Association of Employment Web Sites, including CollegeRecruiter.com, Dice, HigherEdJobs, Indeed, JobG8, Jobing, VetJobs, and WorkinSports.com; Monster Worldwide, Inc.; the Newspaper Association of America; and Shaker Recruitment Advertising & Communications.

    The following press release was issued by the Coalition this morning:

    .JOBS Charter Compliance Coalition Applauds ICANN’s Delivery of Firm Breach Notice to Employ Media LLC Regarding Improper .JOBS Expansion

    ICANN Makes it Clear that .JOBS Domain Names May Not be Used to Operate Independent Job Boards, Including the “Dot Jobs Universe”

    Employ Media LLC and DirectEmployers Association, Inc. Directed to Cease Operating in Violation of the .JOBS Charter

    Hunt Valley, MD and Stamford, CT, February 28, 2011 – The .JOBS Charter Compliance Coalition (the “Coalition”) today applauds the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”) for delivering a strongly worded breach notice to Employ Media regarding its improper expansion of the .JOBS Top-Level Domain (“TLD”). The breach notice details how Employ Media, along with its alliance partner DirectEmployers Association and its sponsoring organization The Society for Human Resource Management (“SHRM”), failed to operate and manage the .JOBS TLD in a manner that was compliant with the .JOBS Charter. The breach notice is posted on ICANN’s website here.

    One of the most significant Charter violations identified by ICANN is the operation of the so-called “Dot Jobs Universe,” a series of “integrated employment domains” that has been the subject of many “too-good-to-be-true” promises over the past several months by Employ Media and DirectEmployers Association. The Dot Jobs Universe was created when Employ Media and DirectEmployers Association teamed up to seize approximately forty thousand domain names ending in the .jobs suffix. This surreptitious transaction between the alliance partners temporarily gave DirectEmployers Association the ability to erroneously claim to “own and operate” the .JOBS TLD. ICANN stated in the notice, however, that the operation of the Dot Jobs Universe is “inconsistent with the purpose stated in the .JOBS Charter and stated to the ICANN community” and “serve[s] the interests of [DirectEmployers Association], as well as Employ Media and SHRM rather than the interests of the human resource management professionals.” ICANN called on Employ Media to take immediate actions to implement policies that would effectively terminate the operation of the Dot Jobs Universe. In sum, through its breach notice, ICANN has correctly and definitively concluded that the .JOBS Charter does not permit .JOBS domain names to be used to operate independent job boards.

    In addition, ICANN admonished SHRM and Employ Media for failing to establish meaningful registration restrictions regarding which types of persons or entities could register second-level domain names within the .JOBS TLD. ICANN determined in the notice that Employ Media and SHRM were “exploiting” the Charter language “at the detriment of some participants of the human resources community” and “the loose restrictions established by Employ Media and SHRM appear to exclusively serve the financial interests of Employ Media and SHRM.” SHRM’s actions appear to contradict its contractual obligation as the sponsor of the .JOBS TLD, which is to act independently and in the best interests of the international human resource management community.

    ICANN’s breach notice to Employ Media is the product of an extensive review process by ICANN’s Contractual Compliance Department. In December, the ICANN Board directed ICANN staff to closely monitor Employ Media’s compliance with the .JOBS Charter, and ICANN’s breach notice reflects the overwhelming public evidence of material violations of the .JOBS Charter by Employ Media, its alliance partner, DirectEmployers Association and its sponsoring organization, SHRM. ICANN has given Employ Media thirty (30) calendar days to cease its non-compliant use of the .JOBS TLD. If Employ Media fails to cure its breach within the allotted time period, ICANN may terminate the .JOBS Registry Agreement it entered into with Employ Media.

    Peter Weddle, Executive Director of the International Association of Employment Web Sites, stated, “While Employ Media and DirectEmployers Association have created many false expectations about the Dot Jobs Universe, ICANN’s strong stance is a victory for the Internet community, as well as for employers and job seekers. First, the Dot Jobs Universe was not an innovation but rather an unprecedented attempt by a registry operator to misappropriate an entire TLD for itself and its alliance partner in blatant disregard of ICANN’s rules. Fair and honest competition is welcome in the online recruitment industry, but a TLD operator must be held to the commitments it makes to the Internet community, and upon which ICANN’s approval rests. This principle is particularly important as ICANN prepares to expand the domain name space by hundreds of new TLDs. Second, Employ Media and DirectEmployers Association can no longer infringe the trademark rights of third parties by thoughtlessly launching numerous .JOBS sites with names that are confusingly similar to those of long established enterprises, many of them small businesses. Finally, the lofty promises of completely free and fully vetted job postings were simply not economically viable and could never have been fulfilled, ultimately resulting in frustration for both employers and job seekers.”

    John Bell, Chairman of the Coalition, stated, “The Coalition welcomes ICANN’s enforcement action and commends ICANN’s Legal Department and Contractual Compliance Department for conducting its review of the non-compliant actions by Employ Media, DirectEmployers Association and SHRM. The Coalition has stated for months that the facts in the matter would lead to this inevitable result. ICANN obviously reviewed all of the relevant facts and arrived at the correct conclusion. We are confident that ICANN will follow through on this demonstration of its commitment to enforce its rules and take all necessary and appropriate actions to terminate the non-compliant Dot Jobs Universe as soon as possible.”

    What Can You Learn From A Mayonnaise Jar And Coffee

    I recently received the below story from a friend.

    My friend has had a tough year like many of us.
    In the last 18 months, he lost his business, got divorced, and then lost his house. If anyone has the right to be depressed, he’s got my vote.

    But he’s not like that. He doesn’t give up. He’s an optimist.

    Just read the story that he sent me…

    When things in your life seem almost too much to handle,
    When 24 hours in a day is not enough;
    remember the mayonnaise jar and 2 cups of coffee.

    A professor stood before his philosophy
    class and had some items in front of him.

    When the class began, wordlessly,
    he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar
    and start to fill it with golf balls.

    He then asked the students if the jar was full.
    They agreed that it was.

    The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. And he shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full.
    They agreed it was.

    The professor next picked up a box of sand
    and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else
    He asked once more if the jar was full.

    The students responded with an unanimous “yes”

    The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table
    and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

    “Now,” said the professor, as the laughter subsided,
    “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.”

    “The golf balls are the important things – Family,
    children, health, friends, and favorite passions.
    Things that if everything else was lost
    and only they remained, your life would still be full.”

    “The pebbles are the things that matter like your job, house, and car.”

    “The sand is everything else –
    the small stuff.”

    “If you put the sand into the jar first, he continued,
    there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.”
    “The same goes for life. . .”

    “If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.”

    So . . .
    “Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.”
    “Play with your children.”
    “Take time to get medical checkups.”
    “Take your partner out to dinner.”

    “There will always be time
    to clean the house and fix that dripping tap.”

    “Take care of the golf balls first –
    the things that really matter!”
    “Always set your priorities; the rest is just sand.”

    One of the students raised her hand
    and inquired what the coffee represented.

    The professor smiled.

    “I’m glad you asked.”

    “It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem,
    there’s always room for a couple cups of coffee with a friend.”

    If you’re in job search mode, or in transition, or considering moving companies, I can’t tell you how important this is for your career.

    No matter where you are in your career, or if you out there looking for a job right now… take this advice to heart.

    People hire People. You need to get out there, be your professional self, and meet people. Meet people in your industry. Meet people in your gym. Meet people in your neighborhood. You’d be shocked at how few of your neighbors really know each other in a professional way.

    P.S. – I guess that goes to show that your glass of water is never 1/2 empty or 1/2 Full… there’s always more room to grow!

    Build Relationships ‚Äì Don’t just ‚Äúcollect connections‚Äù on LinkedIn

    One of the biggest issues I see, and hear, and read about everyday, is “network building”, or building “connections” on LinkedIn, or getting more “Friends” on Facebook, or more ‚Äúfollowers‚Äù on Twitter.

    It doesn’t matter if you are looking to build your personal brand, look for a job, or sell or market your products or services…

    Relationships are the currency of the theory that states people buy from people they “Know, Like, and Trust”.

    “Connections” and “Friends” and “Followers” are not Relationships.

    Just because your house is wired for electricity it doesn’t mean the lights will turn on. You have to send electricity through the wires before the lights actually turn on.

    Your connections or friends or followers are simply the wiring. Your expertise, knowledge, and sharing with others is the electricity.

    When you start building your online brand or network, you need to install the wiring first. You need to build connections.

    Then, and only then, can you start sharing your expertise and watch the network light up.