Companies buy keywords and other targeting options to identify the jobs that might fit Linkedin users. But do they?

I received an email this week, as I do every week, from LinkedIn telling me that a company had a role I might be interested in. The role, Sales Order Management Specialist, was just one among many other similar roles. Instead of immediately hitting the delete button (my usual reaction to this weekly email), I think it’s time to question LinkedIn and their customers — is it me or you?

For starters, let me explain why this particular job listing clearly isn’t a fit for me. Some of the key requirements include:

  • 2 to 5 years of order management or order admin experience
  • Strong customer service and communication skills
  • Proficient in Microsoft Excel and Outlook

I absolutely meet those requirements, technically. Even ignoring my current role as CEO, my previous job had me leading revenue operations for what is now a $1B media company. I think even the employer in question would agree that I’m not the candidate they’re looking for. Is the data scraped from my profile not clear?

There are a number of articles and research studies noting that women believe they must have 90% or more of the qualifications to confidently apply to a job whereas men generally start applying at 60%. Working on that.

Might it also be true that when a woman writes her LinkedIn profile, she only list skills and areas of expertise where she is 100% proficient? Men, on the other hand, tend to list skills that are more of a stretch.

Am I (and other women) writing my profile in a way that diminishes my actual value? And by doing that limiting my opportunity?

I’d love some research facility to answer THAT question. As much as women are working on being more confident and going for the “stretch” job, if we’re holding ourselves back before the conversation starts then we need to fix that too.

Or is it your profile?

I was so curious about that question that I called a friend of mine at LinkedIn. She told me that all those listings are paid placements by companies. Companies buy keywords and other targeting options to identify the jobs that might fit Linkedin users.

Really? Isn’t one of the first rules of marketing – for this is what you’re doing – is to understand your audience? In this case, both the company and LinkedIn seem to be doing a pretty bad job.

For both parties, this seems like a massive missed opportunity. I might not be someone you’re looking to hire today, but I’m probably someone you want to know. Similar to how advertisers will pay higher CPMs for more targeted advertising, is there a product that connects the expensive executive in a more meaningful way?

Seems to me like each side of the equation needs a little polishing and finesse. I’m off to buff up my LinkedIn profile. Don’t you think you should too?

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