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Using LinkedIn for Job Hunting

Have you noticed how much your LinkedIn profile resembles a resume? Oh, you don’t have a LinkedIn profile? Well, whether you do or you don’t right now, ensuring you have a robust LinkedIn profile is a must for job hunting. Not only that, knowing how to use this social networking website is vital to finding and securing the job you’re looking for and capturing the attention of your target employers.

LinkedIn is ideal for communicating your personal brand and potential value to prospective employers. Your LinkedIn profile is your online resume, and it provides many advantages the traditional resume may not. For instance, you can include a wealth of information you wouldn’t try to fit into a typical resume, such as an extended summary of your qualifications, including photos, videos, and links to additional information such as presentations and writing samples. A comprehensive list of your skills, plus endorsements of those skills from people in your LinkedIn network, can be included along with recommendations from former employers and co-workers. You can also add volunteering experience and organizations you’re involved in.

Following are tips on how to maximize your LinkedIn profile to make an impressive presentation and utilize the LinkedIn network to improve your online visibility and ultimately get the job you want.

Developing Your LinkedIn Profile

  • It goes without saying that you want to make sure you have a complete LinkedIn profile, with a robust summary and your entire job history, including full job descriptions. You want to provide detailed information on all your skills and experience. The more complete your profile is, the more likely it is to be found and grab the attention of a prospective employer. That includes having a professional-looking photo.
  • You should include the same keywords in your LinkedIn profile that you would use in your traditional resume to help prospective employers find you. These keywords should be incorporated in your profile headline and summary as well as your job descriptions.
  • Since prospective employers conducting a search on LinkedIn will only see your name and profile headline in their search results, it’s important to make that headline count. You want that employer to click through your headline to your full profile, so you need to pique their interest with a strong headline that conveys what you offer. Try to be clever and creative so you stand out from others who just have a vague, ordinary headline.
  • You want to make sure your LinkedIn profile is not only well-written but contains pizazz and substance to give it branding power. You’re looking to stand out from the pack, so you want to infuse your profile with information and elements that will add value for your LinkedIn connections as well as prospective employers. Make your profile dynamic by providing status updates on projects you’ve completed, something you’ve written or an event you’ve attended or participated in.
  • Work on adding as many “Recommendations” to your profile as possible, as they serve as references in advance and can help you secure an interview. Also try to accumulate endorsements from connections on the skills you identify in your profile. The best way to get recommendations and endorsements is to give them. When you take the time to recommend or endorse a fellow LinkedIn member, they will likely reciprocate and recommend and endorse you.

Utilizing the LinkedIn Network

  • The first step in making the best use of your LinkedIn network is to expand it. The broader your list of first degree contacts, the wider your entire network will be. Every contact you add with 100 or more connections can expand your network by tens of thousands of people. That helps with increasing your profile’s visibility among the professionals, hiring managers, and prospective employers you are trying to reach. You can expand your network by first looking at the list of possible contacts LinkedIn recommends based on your current network and inviting people you know to connect with you. With LinkedIn’s “add connections” feature, you can download your address books from Outlook, Gmail, etc. to see who is on LinkedIn and invite them to join your network.
  • If there’s a particular company you’d like to pursue in your job search, you can look into your LinkedIn network to see who might have a connection to it and make an introduction. Maybe an old friend from college works there or your next-door neighbor is connected to someone at the company. Anyone you’re connected to who is only one degree away from an employee at your target company is someone you should consider reaching out to for an introduction.
  • Anyone who is connected to a company you’re interested in would also be helpful in providing you with any insight on that company that is not included in the company profile. You want to get as much as information as possible on a prospective employer in order to be prepared for a possible interview but also to determine if the company is indeed a good fit for you.
  • If a company you’re targeting has a LinkedIn company page, you also want to follow it to keep up-to-date on company news, such as a new office opening, new product release, and, especially, any job openings. Knowing what’s going on with a company can give you a leg up in an eventual interview and show the hiring manager that your interest is genuine.
  • Use the “Advanced People Search” feature in LinkedIn to find out who the hiring manager is at your target employer (click on the word “Advanced” next to the search bar at the top of the page). Once you’ve determined who that person is, study their profile, including their interests and any Groups and Influencers they follow to find out what makes them tick. The knowledge you’ll gain on their interests and perspectives will be beneficial when pitching yourself to them.

The majority of hiring managers and recruiters are now using LinkedIn to post jobs and source candidates for employment. For job seekers, it’s considered the number one networking resource for presenting your skills, qualifications and talents, connecting with hiring managers, and capturing the attention of prospective employers.

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