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Tandem Powered's blog is dedicated to empowering readers by highlighting best practices in the arena of resume writing, career development, and organizational effectiveness, as well as by providing readers with an insider's view of the corporate hiring process.

You Wouldn’t Be in the Top 50% of Applicants…

Kent Nolen

I recently received an email from a client who was applying for positions via LinkedIn. Despite being extremely qualified for the roles, he was receiving the following message: “You wouldn’t be in the top 50% of applicants for this job.”

Because I know that many other Premium LinkedIn users are receiving the same alarming message when applying via LinkedIn, I thought I would share what I told this client:

  1. LinkedIn’s main goal is to gather as much information from you as possible. Remember, you are the product. Fear-basing the application process is a perfect opportunity for them to extract more information. 
  2. LinkedIn’s analysis is not a company’s automated screening system. This analysis is, as far as I can determine, not being shared with potential employers and is not related to those employers internal screening process. That alone should bring much relief.
  3. The very premise of LinkedIn’s application analysis is that your profile uniquely match a specific position. Because you can’t target your profile toward each specific position, it would then suggest that you either pursue a very narrow range of positions or that you have a profile that speaks to every potential opportunity and industry, which would make your profile a bloated, unfocused mess.
  4. Your profile is not the only thing an employer will see. Most potential employers are not going to solely evaluate you based on your LinkedIn profile. Your resume and cover letter, which you are targeting toward each specific position, will hold significantly more weight than your LinkedIn profile.
  5. The criteria LinkedIn are evaluating don’t really speak to qualifications. This is a biggie. For one, they are evaluating the extent of your network (and probably weighing that heavily!). They are also evaluating your time of application, which is not something you can do much about and is almost certainly less critical than they make it out to be.
  6. The evaluation of “skills” is not dynamic. Here’s the thing, if LinkedIn is suggesting skills that you have but have not included on your profile, include them (you can add up to 50, so you still have to be strategic). However, in the case of this client – a brilliant software development executive – LinkedIn was suggesting keywords like Construction Management. A background in Construction Management might make this client an incredibly unique fit when developing software solutions for a construction company, but it is highly unlikely that it is a key qualification for an SDLC executive.

Feedback is great, but you’ve got to consider the source and be mindful of motivations. If you don’t, every comment and piece of advice – regardless of merit – will shake your confidence and have you questioning yourself.