Corporate Headhunter Mark Renkert: Using LinkedIn

Mark Renkert wants to help you kick start your career, especially if it’s right out of high school.

Mark, a corporate headhunter and member of Dominion Technologies in Williston, is eager to share advice to high school students about the importance of branding yourself using professional social media tools. He speaks most highly of LinkedIn. LinkedIn is an online networking site that acts similarly to Facebook, with the exception that it connects people professionally rather than socially. Mark provides us with his knowledge of and opinion on LinkedIn, and also offers further advice on how to approach a career from a young age.

Give us an idea of your background and what a corporate headhunter does:
“I have a background in clinical psychology. I have also worked in gasification and in pharmaceuticals over my career. But I’ve always been good at finding people with unique expertise. It’s an inner fascination about our material world that you’re constantly questioning, constantly searching.

“A corporate headhunter is a person that has a unique ability to understand business in such a way that he or she can connect business with people. This is for the common good of taking an idea and taking something meaningful out of it. A corporate headhunter is also more of a connector rather than a recruiter, like common misconceptions. It requires having an extended network and be able to make connections.”

What is your take on LinkedIn?
“Let me try and give you an idea of how powerful a tool LinkedIn is.
“LinkedIn is the way we’re all connecting now. It’s a way in which bright people are sharing ideas. If you’re active and engaged on LinkedIn, you’ll be active and engaged in the workplace. If you’re not innovative and creative on LinkedIn, you’re not going to be innovative and creative in the workplace.

“I’m a guy that matches people and ideas. And I connect people and ideas in business. Businesses are now looking on social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn more and more to get a better idea of who their applicants are. LinkedIn can help you establish your brand, your story, and your subject matter and expertise. Not showing this is really saying something nowadays. It’s important to be proud of what you do and who you say you are. It’s important to know your brand as an image. This can all be done with LinkedIn.
“Maybe LinkedIn is for you, and maybe it’s not. But the reality of it is that if it’s not for you, you are still competing with a person who uses LinkedIn. Are you looking for a job or are you looking for a career? Every job that you have is part of the journey of having a career. LinkedIn can help you achieve and document that.”

What qualities do you feel young adults should be focusing on?
“A natural curiosity. I look for strong body language, a person that’s active and engaged that I can probe and find things that are unique about them. Unique things that they’ve done in their lives, especially in high school. This is indicative of a pattern of future success.

“Headhunters say the future predictor of success is a person’s previous success. But with someone in high school, it’s hard to see that. But there are unique things that students do at those ages. I look for some unique differentiator that sets that person apart.”

When should students start making a resume and documenting themselves through LinkedIn?
“The average person should be thinking in high school. When you think about LinkedIn, you can demonstrate key characteristics from any job that may seem menial. Even if it’s a first job. Every job has a meaning.”

Mark’s general advice:

1 Follow up after a job fair or interview. Less than 1 percent of people do this.
2 Form a personal connection with recruiters. Most people lack the ability to form a personal connection, and this is crucial. Try to make a warm call, rather than a cold call.
3 As a Headhunter, I get at least 30 resumes a day, 7 days a week. Make a connection by using a short-form resume and also LinkedIn.

By Matt Sulva