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February 4, 2020 3:50 AM   Subscribe

Is it even possible to job hunt nowadays without having a LinkedIn profile?

I personally find LinkedIn (and most social media tbh) to be kinda creepy, repulsive, insincere, insecure, exploitative, etc. and have very much enjoyed not having a profile (I’m not on facebook either). But I’m getting increasingly nervous about how little response I’m getting with my job hunting efforts, which at this point has consisted of applying to jobs on indeed and directly on the websites of potential employers.

So, my general question is: is it even possible to get a non-service industry, non-retail kind of job nowadays without being on LinkedIn?

Feel free to skip the rest, and just address that particular question. But here’s a bit more about my particular situation:

• I’m looking for something administrative that’s a step above entry-level, that pays an actual living wage so I don’t have to live on ramen, or get a second job. I have a B.A., a respectable range of administrative/ office skills, a stable work history, a nice resume and references to match, so this doesn’t seem like an unreasonable goal?

• I’m in the US, currently living in suburbs about an hour away from a big city, which is where I’m trying to move, and is the focus of my job hunting efforts. I have lots of friends but zero professional contacts in the big city. My friends up in the city are poor queer arty types, and are not good sources for finding jobs that aren’t minimum wage / service industry. I have no real professional network to lean on.

• I would really love to get a non-profit job, or something that’s at least vaguely non-evil, but rent being what it is, that seems like an unreasonable luxury. But what I absolutely won’t do is anything with sales, or anything in a call center.

• I’m not someone who actually cares about having a career, or who sees their job as a fundamental part of their identity. For me, a job is just a way to get healthcare and pay rent, and the things that make my life worthwhile are elsewhere. I can hide my lack of corporate spirit well enough on a day-to-day basis at work (I’ve done so for years), but it’s uncomfortably unnatural for me to generate the upbeat yay capitalism! performative enthusiasm that seems to be expected in places like LinkedIn. I’m genuinely not sure I can do it in a way that isn’t so awkward that it defeats the point.

• I’m aware that indeed is not the only job site out there. I’ve tried other job sites in the past, and they all pretty much seem like shouting into a void. But if anyone has any specific, current recommendations for job hunting at my level, I’m very happy to hear them.

Any advice, general or specific to my situation, would be appreciated.
posted by TayBridge to Work & Money (15 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
You definitely don’t need to be interacting with people on LinkedIn, in the sense of posting or commenting or treating it as a social network. In my experience that’s exclusively the domain of people who *are* very rah-rah about their organization and/or industry and/or, like, WORK. You also don’t need endorsements or skill rankings - most people don’t take these particularly seriously.

But LinkedIn is a good place to post an expanded version of your resume. When someone gets your application they can take a peek at your LinkedIn, which can let them see a bit more information about you. You can humanize yourself a bit more.

Not sure how useful it would be for you to start building a LinkedIn network, but it really doesn’t require a lot of interaction or anything to get people to connect with you on LinkedIn. If you went to high school or college with anyone who’s now a recruiter or realtor just click the connect button and you’ll have thousands of 2nd-degree connections instantly.
posted by mskyle at 4:50 AM on February 4, 2020 [7 favorites]

I'm in a job hunt now, and I've been having better luck with employment agencies, to be honest.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:55 AM on February 4, 2020

There's no inherent need for a LinkedIn page for the kind of job you want; in it's job board/recruiter engine aspects, LinkedIn limits itself (by price, among other things) to more senior and more technical roles. Having a rich professional network isn't relevant to the ability to that kind of job.

The kind of employer for the positions you target who would find your lack of a LinkedIn page problematic is exactly the kind of employer who wants a level of business ambition, and interest in other people's business ambition, that you don't have, and would want it at intensity that you wouldn't want to have to fake.

(Not so much for you, OP, as other LinkedIn-curious people who may come to this thread: I've been on LinkedIn since 2004, and up until a couple of years ago I would have agreed with mskyle on its media/social media aspect, but I think that those have become HUGELY more useful, and used, of late. I think we'll soon see the rise of some authentic LinkedIn "stars" in the way that YouTube and podcasts made internet-native stars in the 2010s.)
posted by MattD at 5:13 AM on February 4, 2020 [4 favorites]

In my experience, the good thing about LinkedIn is you can see who you know who might also know of a potential job opening. It’s so hard to get a job just based on your resume, particularly for administrative office work, and is so helpful to be able to have a personal recommendation to go along with it. It doesn’t even need to be someone you know well - just someone to go to HR with your resume and say “hey, I know TayBridge from X and they would be a good fit for position Y.”

So you don’t have to perform, or humble-brag, or any of those other social-media things. Just post your resume, find all the people you can to link to, see where they work, reach out if there’s openings, expand your network, and so on.

tl/dr: sure it’s possible but why ignore a useful tool? Use it in ways you’re comfortable with.
posted by lyssabee at 5:49 AM on February 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

what I like about LinkedIn is it's passive. As mskyle said, you don't need to comment/like/post or use the social media elements.
In my field, mid-senior, it's useful for reading about people I'm going to meet at an industry event or keynote to get a fuller idea of their background. And not in a creepy sense, but in a Hmm, liked their keynote. What other lectures have they given? sense. It's helpful, but probably not necessary.
posted by TravellingCari at 6:00 AM on February 4, 2020 [3 favorites]

If you're applying for admin work at colleges and universities in states with stringent hiring rules, like California, I don't think anyone cares about LinkedIn at all.
posted by wintersweet at 6:01 AM on February 4, 2020

I'm an attorney and got my current gig without using linkedin. I'm in the nonprofit sector, if that helps - nonprofit tends to be less interested in linkedin. My friends in tech are horrified that my linkedin still says I live in another state and am at my old job, but I haven't ever found the site useful.
posted by bile and syntax at 6:18 AM on February 4, 2020

I honestly like LinkedIn least of all the social media channels. However, I use it when I'm hiring. What I generally do is use it to see if there are other recommendations I can tap for a candidate. If someone applied in my industry for something without it, I would (fairly or not) be wondering why.
posted by frumiousb at 7:13 AM on February 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

Having a basic LinkedIn profile is useful as a sort of minimum-level verification of you as a professional. I don't hold it against people for not having a profile, but when people are applying to work for me or in my department, or have been hired at my organization, it's nice to see if we know anyone in common.

The actual "job search" features are not that comprehensive and CERTAINLY not worth a premium account. However, having a way to search my personal web of coworkers, former coworkers, and friends for personal connections has been legit useful when applying for jobs because:

1) Do I know anyone who knows the leadership there who can put in a good word for me to distinguish my resume from the hundred other mid-level nonprofit professionals who applied this week?
2) Do I know anyone who has worked at this place/with the leadership and can tell me whether it's okay or a shitshow?

Bonus, it's a messaging system for former coworkers/acquaintances to be able to contact you without obtaining your email address.

Usage notes:
I have no idea why people use the "wall" to post things, no-one cares.
I don't participate in the "endorsement" prompts, they're meaningless.
I have found the groups to be utterly useless.
I refuse all invitations from recruiters and people I don't know.
posted by desuetude at 7:47 AM on February 4, 2020 [2 favorites]

Just creating a basic profile that expands a little on your resume costs nothing, shouldn't take you too much time, and helps you look a little more legit when an HR person googles you. I don't think anyone's going to hold it against you not to have one in the kind of search you're doing, but as the cost is so low, the benefit need only be minimal to justify it.
posted by praemunire at 8:29 AM on February 4, 2020 [2 favorites]

There's no inherent need for a LinkedIn page for the kind of job you want; in it's job board/recruiter engine aspects, LinkedIn limits itself (by price, among other things) to more senior and more technical roles.

I think this varies a lot by location. Here in New York City, lots of entry-level and somewhat above entry-level administrative roles are being advertised for and taking applications on LinkedIn.
posted by Jahaza at 11:40 AM on February 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

I suck at networking. I am good at what I do, though, so I get jobs the following ways:

1. Craigslist (don't know how good it is these days).
2. Temp agencies offering temp-to-perm positions - if you are looking for general admin work that pays the bills this is a good way to get a start in without networking - Adecco, Robert Half (I've used them multiple times). You can specify the salary that you're looking for, based on your skills and experience.
3. Going directly to a company's site, look on their careers site, and apply to them directly for whatever jobs are open.
posted by toastyk at 12:50 PM on February 4, 2020

I'm in biotech corporate America, which is just about as rah-rah capitalistic as it gets (let's capitalize on people's health! I've had enough of it, but that's a story for later.) At my mid-senior level, recruiters find me on LinkedIn. All it serves as is a platform for an updated version of my resume, visible for someone who may wish to hire me. I don't use any of the social aspects of LI, and despite having over 500 connections, have never found my LI interactions to be creepy and invasive in ways that Facebook or Instagram are. Rather, recruiters have been exceedingly respectful of my privacy. YMMV.

HR folks and recruiters are getting younger and younger, and many that I know head straight to LI to find prospective candidates, or will Google potential candidates from job boards to see if they can get additional information. I'm sure you can get a job using conventional means, but those opportunities are quickly fading and have always been intensely competitive. LI is a tool that employers are increasingly using to provide them with comprehensive information in an efficient way. IMO, not using it means you're not taking advantage of free professional exposure to increase your chances of landing a job.
posted by Everydayville at 1:43 PM on February 4, 2020

In metro Atlanta, at least for most IT or white-collar jobs, if you're not on LinkedIn you are pretty much invisible. I'm not sure our in-house recruiter looks anywhere else. I do know that I get contacted on LinkedIn numerous times a year by people looking to fill positions, and almost never by people who were looking for employees on Monster or Indeed or similar.

I don't have a really in-depth profile, and I don't use any of the social aspects of the site. But what I have functions as a pretty good resume that is easily found by someone trying to hire. My actual resume on the job boards might as well not exist.
posted by ralan at 4:52 PM on February 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

No, this is not possible for white-collar job nowadays. Make a LinkedIn and connect to everyone you know or have ever worked with or gone to school with on there.

It's just an online directory of resumes and a way to find people who work at certain companies/orgs (and see if you know them or have a way to get introduced to them through a mutual contact).

I also don't know too many people who got jobs without some sort of connection. I would start networking, hard, and try to have a contact for the jobs you are applying for. It doesn't have to be through people you already know - start going to meetups, talks/lectures, conferences, volunteer days (at those non-profits you are interested in), alumni events for your school, etc. You can also cold-email people with jobs you like (especially if they are alums of your school) and ask if they have time for a quick phone chat or coffee. Reach deep. Family friends? Extended family friends? Friends family friends? Old professors from school's friends? You only need the most tepid of intros to nurture a contact. Loose ties lead to jobs, not BFFs.
posted by amaire at 12:57 PM on February 6, 2020

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