How to use LinkedIn for Job Search.
The first step towards leveraging LinkedIn is to create a profile. It is important to note that profiles have to be Personal profiles and not Business profiles.
Your LinkedIn profile should be a showcase of your professional experience, accomplishments, and preferences. Your LinkedIn profile is not a resume so do not just copy and paste your resume to your profile rather showcase your expertise, how you are different and what value do you add.
Think of your profile as an asset and as a portrait of you as a professional who someone would want to possibly hire for a newly available job. LinkedIn does not allow formatting so you are better off format a word document then copy and paste into your LinkedIn profile.
It is restricted to 120 characters so use them wisely. Make sure to use proper Keywords in the headline so you could be found in searches. The headline is an explanation of what you do and what your value is. It always shows whenever your profile is brought up by anyone or in any lists. Make sure that your headline is your USP or your brand statement and not just your job title.
People worry about discrimination because of their age, race or gender so they choose not to add a picture. The picture represents 15% of your profile without it your profile will not be 100% complete. Pictures have to be a professional headshot. Hiring managers will get to see you anyhow so better sooner than later.
It includes both “Current” and “Past” positions they are both entered under the same field “Experience”. The “current” section is created directly from the Experience items for which you check “I currently work here”. Use keywords in your job titles. You can have more than 1 current job, you can position them in order by entering them in the order you want them to show. LinkedIn just added the possibility of listing your volunteer jobs; make sure to use that especially to fill gaps in your resume
Use this area in a similar way to a cover letter. Showcase why and how you are unique or different, what can you add to a company that will hire you. Make it engaging to capture attention.
Both the experience and the summary add credibility to your profile, you are also subtly selling your expertise. That is another place where you need to add your keywords.
Web Site fields
You can add up to three website links. Links you include in other parts of your profile won’t be clickable so these are valuable. Make sure you add your blog/s, Twitter account, Facebook or personal website etc…
It is very important that you personalize the website links by naming them instead of leaving the generic “My Website” by clicking “Others”. Again remember your keywords
Public Profile URL
LinkedIn sets a generic public URL to your profile, but it also gives you the opportunity to edit it to a personal vanity URL so you can be found easier on LinkedIn and on the different Search Engines, it does help with your search engine optimization and ranking.
What you need to do, is to click on the Edit next to the public URL you are given, choose other then enter the URL that you want to be listed under.
LinkedIn is based on three degrees of separation, so your contacts up to the 3rd degree connections are very important hence increasing your network is very beneficial to your job search. Many do the mistake to restrict their contacts to people they know and they are missing a pot of gold. You don’t rank high in searches on LinkedIn unless you have a big network. If you don’t show in the first page of a search you will not exist for job hunters.
One note of caution, you need to be very careful when you invite people to your network as not to get the famous IDK (I Don’t Know) status as people have the choice to IDK your invite and 5 of those will suspend your account.
If you don’t have the Email for a person and it is crucial to communicate with them, then you can send them an Inmail that will cost you $10.00 each.
Recommendations are a great way to add quality. The more recommendations the better. Headhunters look at the number, quality of the recommendations, and of course who is giving them. They also have an impact on where you show up in search results.
If your recommendations are from people not on LinkedIn, use the “Box.net” free application on LinkedIn you can find under MORE, upload your recommendation and make sure to name it with a keyword so it will help you in your SEO and searchability.
LinkedIn applications rock, especially the slideshare and google presentations. Add presentations that best shows your work. Show your personality, show your creativity and be memorable. These slide shows can go a lot farther than a text description and a nice avatar to help you stand out from the crowd.
If you are searching for a job online, you really should have a blog on your profile LinkedIn offer a wordpress and bloglink free applications. If you are involved in any organizations or have had some good press somewhere, you can use google presentation or Huddlespace to add a video that best demonstrates who you are.
Search the companies you want to work at, look where are their employees, the groups they join, the keywords they use, the apps they use, and the books they read. Checkout the forums of the groups they are in and participate (you can invite them to your network). Look for the questions and answers on the Q&A forum. Listen, interact, and treat everything you say as thoughtfully as you would an interview.
None of these steps will result as a golden bullet, but all should help you stand out from the noise. Finding that next great job is a stressful challenge and even more difficult within today’s high unemployment. Opportunities are out there, and LinkedIn is a key tool in helping your cause.
Do not exclude the non-work related experiences. If you belong to a local networking group or other affiliations, add them.
Use the Jobs tab on LinkedIn to search a job position, you can limit it to zip code and save he searches, while you are saving the search it will be able to set alerts to be emailed to you at the frequency you want.
If you need any further help on how to use LinkedIn contact me. I have out as much information as I could in this post
Happy job hunting
Sahar Andrade, MB.BCh
Diversity Consultant – Social Media Strategist
Sahar Consulting, LLC. – Home of the D.I.A.L.O.G.™ Programs
Diversity& Inclusion in Active Leadership Organizational Growth™
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