Is finding a new job part of your success plan for 2013? Community contributor, Jamie Cody, has some great tips on how to use LinkedIn effectively in your quest for employment .
Access Your Full Potential with LinkedIn
LinkedIn, the powerful social networking site, currently has 35 million members, and is an incredibly useful tool for job hunting . With over 140 professions represented on LinkedIn, it’s amazing that so many job seekers ignore this important (free!) resource. Setting up a profile is quick and simple. Let’s explore some of the greatest benefits LinkedIn offers to those who are searching for their next job.
(1) Free publicity. Employers won’t hire you if they don’t know you exist. LinkedIn helps members spread the word and connect with possible employers.
(2) One of LinkedIn’s most unique features is its endorsement functionality. After establishing a profile, LinkedIn users can connect with their colleagues, past and present, and have the opportunity to give each other positive references that can be displayed directly on their profile page. It’s always wise to grab endorsements whenever you can, but they’re particularly important for job seekers that have recently been fired, downsized or laid off.
(3) LinkedIn has powerful search capabilities. Members can search by industry, job title, name, company name and many other terms. Furthermore, the site reveals how various users are connected to one another. It’s no secret that job hunting gets much easier with an insider’s introduction, so don’t forget to search for jobs that are closely tied to your own LinkedIn contacts. Be especially on the lookout for hiring managers!
(4) Speaking of hiring managers and inside connections, both can help you learn what the hidden job description – as well as what hidden applicant requirements – really entail. Of course, the actual job posting will offer a descriptive overview of the position, but it can take some digging to learn the whole story. Do any of your LinkedIn contacts have a connection to the company? Ask them to do a little digging on your behalf.
(5) LinkedIn is especially helpful for job applicants interested in start-up companies. Many of these firms are staffed by hard-working, energetic professionals eager to hire others like themselves. Worried about job security in a start-up position? In this present recession, even huge multinational corporations have lain off many employees; job security is tenuous in any field. Find the silver lining of this cloud with a leap of faith and your freshly printed stack of resumes .
(6) Effective networking takes patience and practice, just like relationships outside of cyberspace. Don’t wait until you’re unemployed to woo possible LinkedIn connections – that’s the hallmark of inexperienced job hunters. Invest in your network by interacting with others and reaching out to potentially valuable connections. The worst thing that could happen is an ignored connection request, so there’s absolutely NO reason to be complacent with this.
(7) Keep your profile up to date! It should represent where you are currently, not where you were last year.
Don’t Make These Fatal Errors
Social networking is a double-edged sword. It’s useful in most industries, remains unused by many people and offers major benefits to active members. However, indiscriminate use of this or any other social network can severely injure your chances of landing a job. Here’s a list of things you should NOT do:
1. Don’t post scandalous profile pictures. Profile photos must be 80 pixels square or less, so choose a photo that draws attention to your countenance.
2. Never, ever trash talk. Once something gets on the Internet , it’s virtually impossible to fully delete it. As tempting as it may be to reveal your frustrations with your boss or co-workers, it’s not worth it. This applies to your past colleagues also. Consider the perspective of the hiring manager: if you’ve authored scathing epistles about your old employer, company or co-workers, you’re likely to do it again. If you can’t type something gracious, don’t type anything at all.
3. Stay away from religion, sports and politics, period. Don’t get drawn into any controversies, either.
4. Grammar and spelling count! Don’t use “txtspeak” anywhere on your profile. Avoid expressions such as “lol” “smh” and “brb,” and remember that the word “you” has three letters, not one. The text on your profile should be correctly punctuated and capitalized; do NOT post anything typed in all capital letters (you’ll appear to shouting) or in all lowercase (you’ll appear to be sloppy, lazy and inattentive). Don’t forget to use a spellchecker before you post or send anything! This even applies to proper nouns such as names and street addresses. Most of these won’t be recognized by your spellchecker, so you’ll have to confirm that you’ve got the proper spelling by consulting a company website or letterhead whenever possible.
One of the most effective ways to make LinkedIn work for you is to include a copy of your resume. Some users actually construct their profiles to BE resumes, and those who don’t should provide a link to a PDF or other electronic copy of their curriculum vitae. Keywords are essential for this; including your resume keywords and skills on your profile exponentially increases your chances of being discovered by headhunters.
Questions and Answers
An additional way to put more power behind your LinkedIn profile is to use the “Answers” section. This is a community billboard – think of it as the area around your cyber – water cooler. Participating will make your profile visible to thousands of people who might not have otherwise come into contact with you. Ask questions, answer questions and join the conversation.