Friday, January 24, 2014

Do You Use LinkedIn For Job Search

Image representing LinkedIn as depicted in Cru...Image via CrunchBase
I’ve talked about LinkedIn a little bit in the past but I haven’t really gone into much detail about it.  So, let’s talk about that today.

What is LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is a social network that is focused on professional networking.  People create profiles to highlight their professional successes.  They can join groups and discussions that will be beneficial in their careers.

LinkedIn has grown a lot in the past few years.  It has applications (like other social media sites) that allow you to connect to your other social media presences online.  You can connect to your Twitter account, import resumes, or connect your blog.

How Do I Get Started?
  1. Sign up and create a profile.  Be as detailed in your profile as you can.  The information you put on here will be what people see first so include things like past jobs, your skills, and your website, if you have one.
  2. Add a picture.  Some say this is not a big deal but I think it is.  People often remember you when they see your picture.  Also, a picture makes it more personal, which is a good thing in the online world of social media.  It’s all about connections so adding that picture can make the difference between someone connecting with you or not.
  3. Use Keywords.  Make sure that when it asks for keywords you give them!  Don’t ignore this area.  And use keywords that apply to your field as well.
  4. Look for people you know.  Start with friends and past employers.  Connect with them.
Now What?

Just creating a LinkedIn profile is a start but you have to get people there.  You need people to find you and you need to make connections so that others will find you that might help you find a job.  Here are some things you can do once you have completed your profile:
  • Create a signature in your email and include your LinkedIn profile.  If you visit forums use the link in your signature there.  Put it on your Facebook profile.  There’s a box on the side of your wall where you can put it and you can also put it on your Info page where it ask for information.  You can make your info page public so that anyone who searches for you can see it.
  • Join groups and discussions.  There are groups and discussions for all sorts of things on LinkedIn, including job search.  Groups that are dedicated to the field that you want to be in may be more beneficial though.  Not only will you have a chance to meet people in your field but you’ll gain valuable information from them.
  • Ask for recommendations.  Recommendations on LinkedIn can be as valuable as the referral letters you might take with you on a job interview.  Generally recommendations are shorter so it only takes people a few minutes to do one.  And if you don’t ask, usually you won’t get!
  • Research companies.  I always tell my students that before they even apply at a company they should research them.  LinkedIn can be a great source of information about companies.  They may have a company blog or a Twitter account and these can be a great source of information.  They can tell you a lot about the company ethics and what is important to them.

So, what are you waiting for?  Go and get your LinkedIn profile started!  And if you want an example of a good profile go see my profile.  If you’re one of my students don’t forget to add me!

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