So, newsflash job seekers! It is 2016! You MUST have a LinkedIn profile!! I’m serious about this. Regular readers of mine know I am not the world’s biggest LinkedIn fan. I have to tell you though, even as the LinkedIn stock tumbles, I am telling you confidently that you cannot be successful in your job search without one. Period. End of story!

I use LinkedIn daily. I truthfully don’t know one recruiter who doesn’t use LinkedIn. I don’t know what the future holds with LinkedIn, but it has become too large to go away completely. There are too many platforms that are tied to LinkedIn for it not to be around in some format a decade from now. Maybe Google buys LinkedIn? I don’t know. What I do know is that candidates who don’t have good LinkedIn profiles are being eliminated by hiring managers very quickly.

LinkedIn has become a key component in a hiring manager’s decision making. Let’s put it this way. I recruit sales people. Sales is all about networking. How in the world can a good or great salesperson NOT have a Great LinkedIn profile? Don’t salespeople use LinkedIn to help them sell products? Don’t they use it to find the right decision makers? If you say “no” then why in the world would you hire them?!! Many would argue that cold calling is dead. Connections, and social profile connections are where most salespeople start the conversation with individuals.

Recently, I have been disgusted with candidates and their poor profiles on LinkedIn. How in the world can candidates have less than 500 connections? Really? C’mon- this product has been around more than a decade. Are you living under a rock? Don’t you know LinkedIn makes your job easier to do? I guess there are certain professions that it helps more than others. But really!! C’mon dude!

How and why would you not have a professional picture taken? Why? I mean even if you aren’t looking for a job it is just smart. Wouldn’t you agree? If millions of people can view your profile, wouldn’t you want to put your best foot forward? I sure would!!

This stuff seems so basic to me. I guess that is why I am writing it. I want to eliminate any doubt that regardless of where you are in your career and regardless of what your job title is, you should have a LinkedIn profile that is top notch.

I am finding it more common to see resumes with candidates without a LinkedIn profile AT ALL!! What in the world? I have heard excuses like “I got hacked”. When I told a manager recently that a candidate didn’t have a LinkedIn profile, their response was “Oh really, their dog ate their homework”?

Managers won’t even consider your resume if you don’t have a LinkedIn profile. Who you are connected to DOES matter. Knowing who has recommended your work DOES matter. Knowing what skills you have been endorsed for DOES matter.

I’m not telling you that if you aren’t a recruiter, you should be on LinkedIn every day. I get very frustrated with the ridiculous ads, and horrific blogs that pop up every 5 seconds. If I weren’t a recruiter or salesperson, I would venture to say I wouldn’t be on it daily.

What I am saying though is that the market is highly volatile. Employers don’t give a damn about you and you should always be networking. The most stable job in the world can downsize you tomorrow. It is just plain and simple facts!

If you say you don’t have time, I want you to re-think your whole philosophy. You never know what tomorrow might bring and you should start networking for your next career today, because it is a matter of “when” not “if” you need to find another job. The longer you are out of work, the harder it becomes to find a job.

Simply stated, make it a priority to have a LinkedIn profile.

Do it today. There is no time better than the present.