As the top professional social networking site, LinkedIn is crucial for job hunters. LinkedIn has at least 133 million users in the U.S alone. If you do not have a profile, then you limit the scope and vision of your online job search.
More than ever before, you are able to showcase your talent and abilities online, as well as offer interactive proof of your work and achievements. Additionally, if you have a fully functional and commanding LinkedIn profile, potential employers can see beyond your resume and experience your personality and character.
LinkedIn has the ability to open doors for you, help you get introductions from connections and put you in contact with people from your social circles who may be in a position to assist you in your job hunt. Many recruiters are avid LinkedIn searchers, so simply making your profile outstanding can land you an interview for a job for which you never applied. Use the following tips to help you boost your LinkedIn potential.
Use LinkedIn as an Online Portfolio
Job seekers are often at a loss as to where to showcase their work. Sometimes, they will go the route of creating their own professional websites, blogs, Facebook and Instagram pages. What many people overlook is that social groups also exist on LinkedIn, and here the interactions are all at a professional level. Post examples of your work, papers you have written, links to websites you have designed and maintained, videos you have created, etc. LinkedIn is set up to allow you to do this and much more.
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Continuous updates are the key to success. Avoid putting up a profile on LinkedIn and then doing nothing else. Be proactive and you are more likely to be noticed. Update your LinkedIn profile frequently and highlight recent activities. For example, your present job may have shifted and now involves more responsibilities or skills. Update that and add in accomplishments as a result of your new skills. View the profile as a way to market yourself to potential hiring managers. Just be authentic while doing it.
Make Sure Your Skills Listing Is Complete
Most likely, you have skills you have not listed on your profile because you felt they are unrelated to what you want to do. However, these unapparent or “hidden skills” are more important than you think. Pertinent skills often overlooked in certain job situations include the ability to give talks in front of large audiences, not just breakroom announcements. Do you have experience training other workers? Have you participated in a mentorship program at your current or previous job? Experience giving motivational talks, leading others and collaborating on projects outside of your job can help round out the skills section on your profile. Anything that involves learning and progression may be included in your skills section. LinkedIn offers over 45,000 skills to choose from to add to your resume, so think twice before you discount any hard or soft skills.
Your LinkedIn Headline Is Very Important
Statistics show that LinkedIn members whose profile includes a headline have a distinct advantage over those who do not. For example, “Molecular Geneticist with 30 years research experience seeking faculty position at a community college”, accompanied by a picture of the job seeker in a lecture or laboratory setting attracts significantly more attention from prospective employers than a profile that does not have a headline or even a short, vague headline. Compare that to the more static and headline such as “Advertising Executive.” Use the following in your headline: headline, photo, name and synopsis describing the job you are looking for.
Making the Most of Your Contacts
Most job seekers do not utilize the power of their own contact list. The people you know from past jobs, friends and everyone in your online address books are all potential networking candidates. The old adage that you are only a few degrees away from everyone on the planet comes into play here. If you are interested in working for company X or have received an inquiry or offer from company Y, there is a good chance that someone on your LinkedIn list either knows about these companies, knows someone who works at those companies or may even be acquainted with a hiring manager.
The Value of Using LinkedIn to Find Alumni
You may have friends you did not know you had. Multitudes of people are out there who have something in common with you, and based on that common thread may be able to provide valuable help for a fellow alumnus. You can find people already working for employers at companies you are interested in. At the very least, you can contact them with questions about a prospective employer or ask them if they know of upcoming jobs that are yet to be publicly posted. Sometimes, hiring managers will ask around at the workplace to see if anyone knows of a potential candidate who might be suitable for an upcoming job. This is an extremely powerful tool that many job searchers overlook. It is like getting your foot in the door before it has opened.
Making Full Use of the LinkedIn Search Engine
Once you have a company in mind, use the power of the LinkedIn search technology to learn important things you need to know about your prospective employer. After all, your new job is a career choice, and a prospective employer is not the only one doing the interviewing. Chances are you are just as interested in the company’s track record, not only as a successful business, but also as a company with an outstanding record for treating its employees. Does the company have a rapid turnover rate among its employees? If so, why? What do disgruntled past employees say about the company? Using LinkedIn along with company rating sites like Glassdoor to do research on a prospective employer prior to an interview can also give you an edge when you meet face-to-face.
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