Recently, someone who has seen what I’ve said on the importance of LinkedIn for the job search asked me this: “If it’s not a good idea to include a photo on your resume, why is it a good idea to include it on LinkedIn? Doesn’t the photo on LinkedIn invite the same potential discrimination issues as including it on the resume does?”
This is a tricky issue. We’ve all been told over and over again never to use a photo on the resume, and there are good reasons for that. Anti-discrimination laws in our country have resulted in many Human Resources departments throwing out otherwise great resumes if they include a picture. Companies are so afraid of being sued that they avoid the slightest appearance of bias by eliminating any resume with a photo right off the bat. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing—your skills and accomplishments should be what gets you the interview, not your looks.
On the other hand, what’s the first thing a hiring manager will do after receiving your resume? See if he can find out more about you on LinkedIn. What’s on LinkedIn? Your picture.
You could easily argue exactly that line of reasoning for eliminating your photo from LinkedIn, also. Just like on your resume, you want the focus to be on your accomplishments, not your physical appearance. A LinkedIn profile photo seems questionable.
Here’s where I think the difference lies: The resume is always completely and exclusively targeted toward your ability to perform a particular job, and your looks have nothing to do with that (unless you’re an actor!). Anti-discrimination laws are targeted to job applications, which a resume is.
But, LinkedIn is first and foremost a networking site. Even though LinkedIn is an extremely valuable tool for your job search, not everyone on LinkedIn is looking for a job. They’re using LinkedIn to build their contact list, join groups that relate to their current careers, and see what the competition’s up to. When you make networking the focus of your LinkedIn activities, it becomes clear that you need to include a photo, because we (all humans) bond more with a face than with the typed text. LinkedIn users expect to see a photo, and it looks a little odd if you don’t…like you’re trying to hide something. A photo makes other users more comfortable connecting with you, which is one of your primary goals.
So, never include a photo on your resume, because you don’t want to sabotage yourself in the HR screening process—and graphics don’t usually mesh well with Applicant Tracking Systems, anyway. But always include a professional (business-appropriate) photo on your LinkedIn profile. Not only is it expected, it’s a valuable part of your online credibility and networking success.
If you’re searching for a medical sales job, you need a LinkedIn profile, even if you’re trying to conduct your search quietly. You won’t be able to manage a high-quality job search in the health care sales arena without a presence on LinkedIn. But what happens when your boss sees it and wants to know what’s up? That can be a tricky situation, and it’s important that you handle it well. What do you say?
Watch this video to find out:
LinkedIn is an amazing professional career tool and perhaps an even more amazing job search tool for medical sales, health care sales, medical device sales, laboratory sales, surgical sales, or pharmaceutical sales. With over 70,000,000 members (and adding thousands of new members daily), this social networking service is your ticket to a world of career connections that would have been possible to achieve in years past. LinkedIn sets you up to unbelievably leverage your experience, your skills, and your time during the job search.
Are you aware of LinkedIn has to offer? Are you a member?
If not, sign up for LinkedIn now! That’s right. Open a spare window while you are reading this article. Go to the LinkedIn site – www.LinkedIn.com. You’ll see the box to sign up now. You don’t need much. Have your name, email, title, and company ready to go. Submit your new membership. Confirm from your email inbox. There–you are a member.
But don’t stop there. Your LinkedIn profile is a critical component of your job search. It’s going to be the first impression that your new contacts will have of you. After your membership is confirmed, begin building a complete profile, with a professional picture, that showcases your experience and includes a fantastic summary that will compel readers to find out more about you. Much more than a resume, you should build a very complete profile. Professional information, interests, books you find most useful, your website, your blog, recommendations from key contacts and much more can all be added here. If you’re not sure that your profile will attract the hiring managers and recruiters you need, invest in the Career Confidential LinkedIn Profile Tutorial. It will walk you through, step-by-step, how to create a profile that rocks.
Once you’ve gotten your profile set, LinkedIn offers a number of good tools for getting your job search kicked to a higher gear including:
- Join professional groups related to your field and / or your industry. Also, you can join alumni groups, past employer groups, and interest groups. Keep in mind, to some extent you are what you pick. If you are involved in a job search and if you value your professional reputation, make choices that support that concept. Joining the “tree hugger haters group” might not be a wise idea.
- Q&A – Q&A offers you an opportunity to find out important information about specific concepts, ideas, etc. that may turn out to be important to your search. Also, you can work at making a reputation for yourself by participating in Q&A that may be of interest to folks in your career field.
- Discussions – After you join the groups, you’ll be able to start and participate in business area or career field with other professionals in your industry. This is a great opportunity to build your reputation, meet other active industry folks, and find leads on positions, etc.
- LinkedIn offers a jobs area too! Look for positions that fit. See if you can’t find opportunities that are a good fit now. Get introduced to the hiring authorities directly–and so much more. One of the most exciting opportunities for you is the chance to use LinkedIn to contact hiring managers directly. Making those kinds of connections opens up a “hidden” job market that increases your odds of landing a great job.
This is just scratching the surface. As you can see, LinkedIn is a window into a whole new universe of job finding tools, activities, and connections.
Good luck and good hunting!
Although times are tough for job seekers all over, it’s not as bad for medical sales candidates (with the exception of pharmaceutical sales reps) because of the largely “recession-proof” nature of the business. But, having said that, medical sales job seekers are still feeling the pinch. Because it’s such an attractive career area, many candidates are transitioning in and the overflow of displaced pharma reps are adding to it. All in all, it’s an employer’s market here, too. When there are thousands of applicants for jobs posted online, it’s virtually impossible to get noticed. But there are proven strategies you can use to take control and land the job. We started with Tip #1, Rethink Your Job Search, and today’s tip is:
Tip #2: Turn Social Media into Your Job Search’s Best Friend (not its worst enemy)
Online social networks are both underrated and often misused as a job search tool. Facebook and Twitter can be amazing avenues to network or follow job leads, but it’s easy to forget that socializing with your friends can lead to comments or pictures that will kill your chances when the hiring manager sees it. Sanitize your pages—you will be Googled.
But the Big Daddy of online networks, and the place you need to spend most of your time, is LinkedIn. You must be on LinkedIn, with a high-quality profile that includes a business-appropriate photo. (Career Confidential offers a LinkedIn Profile Tutorial for this.) There are over 70 million professionals on LinkedIn—that’s a lot of job leads. And, at least 80% of employers and recruiters use LinkedIn to look for potential hires. You can’t afford to miss this.
You can join LinkedIn groups specific to your field and learn tremendous amounts of vital information, make connections to grow your network, and make a name for yourself by joining discussions and contributing useful comments. Companies maintain pages that are invaluable when researching for your interview. Perhaps most importantly, you can get ahead of the job-searching crowd and find “hidden jobs” by contacting hiring managers directly on LinkedIn.
Here’s another tip for you to make the most of LinkedIn:
There are many, many social networks available online: Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, niche networks, and many more. Are some better than others? Do they have different purposes? Which ones are worth your time? Watch the video to see what an expert in the job search thinks about the different social networks, and which one is critical for you to be in:
These days everyone is all a twitter about Twitter, or at least so it seems sometimes. LinkedIn is the steady-as-you-go business tool that doesn’t seem to be flashy and isn’t too concerned about attention. LinkedIn has been built on competency. Twitter has been more “faddish” in its appeal.
The question at hand is: which is better for the medical or health care sales job search?
My short answer is: LinkedIn is better, and the largest portion of your time on social media should definitely be spent there.
However, this isn’t quite fair to Twitter because this sends a message suggesting an inherent inferiority, which isn’t precisely the case. If you have a well-developed Twitter following, Twitter offers tremendously rapid capacity to reach a tremendously wide audience. Instantaneous communication can be pretty attractive when the communication is an opportunity, or when you want to reach hiring managers quickly. With Twitter, you can follow recruiters, hiring managers, and others who could be helpful to your career. When they tweet about job leads, you’ll be right there.
But when I say LinkedIn is better, it’s because most job searches eventually require digging into skills, experience, cultural background, work ethic, education, and other points. Because of LinkedIn’s well-developed professional profile area, contact management capacity, professional groups, and tools keeping members tuned to their network members’ career changes, needs, plans, and development, it provides a great advantage that more often can approach the demands of a hiring decision. (Having your own well-developed LinkedIn profile can be invaluable here.) Because of this demand, Twitter will not normally carry the job search across the finish line, but particularly for more junior roles, Twitter can be a tremendous lead-generating tool.
In the end, Twitter and LinkedIn can both have a place in your job search, but if your time is limited, choose LinkedIn.
If you’ve spent much time on LinkedIn, you may have stumbled on the term “Open Networker” and perhaps seen the term “LION”. A LION is a LinkedIn Open Networker. There are thousands and perhaps millions of LIONS on LinkedIN and you may not know any of them personally. However, if you are serious about your job search, you need to devote a portion of your allowed invitations to these networking beasts. Some of the LIONs have tens of thousands of first-level connections. Connecting to a just a few of these allows you to reach far across and deep into the LinkedIn network to reach your networking and job search goals.
What exactly am I proposing and how do you go about this?
- Google Search “LinkedIn LIONs”. You’ll find some well-put-together websites where simply joining will allow you download these folks’ information for LinkedIn networks. Return to LinkedIn and upload the list and reach out to these new network contacts. They will universally add you to their networks. As soon as they do, you will see your first level grow by 100, 200, 300, or even more from the LION list, but the real effect will be on your 2nd and 3rd level network. You may jump from tens of thousands of connections to millions in a few days’ time. Your ability to reach folks in your industry, in your skill set, from your alma mater, or from any other criteria you can imagine willl blossom.
- As you move around LinkedIn, you will notice certain individuals who include their email address in their profile or even in their own name. These people are likely LIONs as well. Consider adding them to your network and magnifying all the benefits and network power described in item 1 on a smaller more incremental basis.
Once this is completed, I suggest taking a look at the LIONs you’ve connected with. Search on industry or profession. A few may turn out to be from the medical or health care sales industry. These folks are a wealth of resources within that industry and deserve special attention. For example, my brother is in the rental property business and has a network that includes hundreds of real estate professionals. Also, you will notice a lot of these same folks are executive recruiters (not surprising, really). Find out their specialty and what they have available. You may have already stumbled on to the job lead or source that will be your next career step.
Want more advanced LinkedIn job search tips? Check out LinkedIn Ninja Tricks for bypassing HR and getting the job.
The very best time to look for a new job is while you still have your old one–but what if that means you need to keep it on the down low? Keeping your job search confidential can seem virtually impossible, but it isn’t.
One great way to stealth job search is by using LinkedIn. It’s entirely possible to reach out to others without it being a matter of public record. (And using LinkedIn to contact hiring managers directly instead of going through HR cattle calls is amazingly effective!)
So what do you have to do?
Above all else, you must have a polished LinkedIn profile. The better you look on LinkedIn, the more likely it becomes that you’re contacted by medical sales recruiters or hiring managers in health care sales (the easiest way to land a job of all). But be careful of what you write in your summary. You can’t put “seeking a sales opportunity” if you’re trying to keep it quiet. Concentrate on highlighting your skills and accomplishments while making connections and participating in relevant groups. Essentially, you’re putting your best foot forward while growing your network. And you’ll learn a tremendous amount of information from the resources you’ll find there that will help you get ahead in your laboratory sales, pharmaceutical sales, or medical device sales job search.
What if your employer wants to know why you have such a shined up LinkedIn profile? Don’t let him put you on the spot. You can say (especially if you’re in sales or marketing) that you see yourself as the face of the company, and customers seek you out on LinkedIn. You can also say that you’re trying to learn about the latest social media tools to be current on the trends. There are over 65 million professionals on LinkedIn, and they’re not all looking for jobs. It’s not going to be unusual for you to jump in, too.
I just finished a coaching session with a candidate who is making a critical mistake in his health care sales job search.
His mistake? He doesn’t have a LinkedIn profile representing him as an outstanding medical sales candidate.
He was unsure as to whether he “really” needed it, if it cost money and how to go about putting it together. Listen to what I said next…
If you want a profile that is selling you on LinkedIn, I can help…..
PS — I am not a part of LinkedIn. Just a groupie that has experienced this tool and would not be in the job search without a profile that was complete and polished representing me. It’s an absolute MUST for any candidate in medical sales, laboratory sales, pharmaceutical sales, or any health care sales arena.
PPS — Carl Smith wrote me this:
“With Peggy’s Linkedin course, my internet presence is certainly improved. In fact yesterday afternoon, I rec’d an e-mail from a recruiter asking me to contact him about a search he was conducting. When I called, we started talking about the opportunity. Then he asked me to wait while he brought up my Linkedin page. I asked him if that was how he found me and he simply said, “Why, yes it was”. He has presented me to the client and we are waiting to hear back.”
Also, if you would like you can sign up for our monthly newsletter.
Online social media is a fantastic tool for job hunting. The Big 3 (LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter) each have their own unique style that you can
utilize in different ways for your job search. But while you’re working these sites to land the perfect medical sales job, employers and recruiters are looking for you, too. And if you get their attention in the early stages of the job interview process, they’re going to be actively searching for more details about you. According to one survey, 70% of hiring managers and recruiters have rejected an applicant based on what they found online. Have you Googled your name lately to see what they’ll find out about you?
You can manage your online identity to control your reputation and your image in the job market in these 5 ways:
- LinkedIn: Take the time to set up a professional LinkedIn profile, join some groups, and get active. LinkedIn is the primary business networking site for professionals. It’s a tremendously powerful resource for you to research companies, keep tabs on the hidden job market, and contact hiring managers about jobs. A well-crafted LinkedIn profile will showcase your job history, your skills, and your recommendations.
- Facebook: Although this can be a great, casual place to network socially, it’s important that you don’t get too comfortable. No trashy pictures, bad language, or any controversial religious/political comments. It’s still a public forum, and you really don’t know who might end up seeing something you’ve said, even if you’re trying to be careful of your privacy.
- Twitter: Twitter is a terrific place to be in the conversation on just about anything. Again, watch what you say. Keep it professional. Ask questions, and try to help others. An employer will be impressed with someone who’s engaged and relevant.
- Show up in unexpected places: In addition to interacting on the social sites, think about writing a guest post for a relevant blog, or start your own. Comment on other writers’ articles with something of value. Think about contributing to medical/healthcare/laboratory presentations at conferences. Newsletters or other publications aimed at laboratory work, medical device, or other health care industry areas would be great.
- Be consistent: Get a professional photo (it doesn’t have to be professionally done; it should just be a formal, businesslike pose) and use that photo every time a photo is called for. Make sure your name is consistently written so that it shows up in a search.
Ultimately, you decide how people will see you. Since you know they’ll be looking, be proactive. Make sure they see the confident, competent professional they want to hire.