27 Feb Find your next job using LinkedIn
Using LinkedIn effectively as part of your job-seeking strategy creates opportunities that you won’t get from the classifieds or job sites alone.
No matter your industry. No matter your circumstances. LinkedIn is the most powerful business networking site. It is the world’s largest professional network with 35 million+ members and growing rapidly. LinkedIn averages a new LinkedIn user every second of every day. According to LinkedIn, executives from all Fortune 500 companies are members.
LinkedIn allows professionals to post a business profile (online resume). It lets you connect to colleagues and friends. It allows you to find and create business opportunities.
The concept of creating business opportunities is important. It requires a mind shift. Once you make the shift however, you’ll be able to fully harness and utilize the power of LinkedIn.
Create a Killer Profile
A good LinkedIn presence means having a good profile. The LinkedIn profile you create will be discoverable through the millions of searches on search engines and on LinkedIn. Since you are in complete control over what others see, it is vital to showcase your skills and talents so the right people and opportunities find you.
While it only takes a few minutes to create a LinkedIn account. It takes a dedication, time and a level of added effort to create a good LinkedIn profile. You need to give it 100 percent – quite literally. Fill in as much information as possible.
Think of your profile as a ‘casual’ version of your resume. While it should contain all the same employer, education and professional highlights your resume does with an added ’splash of personality.’ LinkedIn provides the ability to add photos, descriptive text, highlights and hyperlinks. Use every field possible.
A good profile works hard for you:
• It will act as your first impression, appearing in the results for thousands of searches on LinkedIn, Google, and other Internet destinations.
• It supplements your resume. When sending a cover letter and resume by email, include a link to your LinkedIn profile. Given the opportunity to view your profile, most recruiters will take it. They’re more likely to spend time exploring your LinkedIn profile than any attachment.
• It serves as your resume. Since your LinkedIn profile can be saved in PDF format, it’s possible to use it in lieu of a resume. It’s current. It’s customized. It’s professional.
I think using a LinkedIn profile instead of a resume sends prospective employers the right message: you’re available, but you haven’t been spending an inordinate amount of time trying to find a new job.
Since LinkedIn profiles are public, they also imply a level of credibility and authenticity that resumes often lack. To take full advantage of this, you need to harvest recommendations:
• For each employer, try to include three or more recommendations from coworkers, clients, or supervisors. Recommendations from people you have worked with carry a lot of weight.
• For each educational institution, try to include at least one recommendation from an instructors, advisor, or peer.
Solicit recommendations from contributors who can describe aspects of your working relationship that will benefit any potential employer. Choose individuals who have a flair for writing. Don’t be afraid to ask colleagues to write about specific characteristics: your creativity, your ability to solve problems, your leadership, etc. Ideally, you’ll want a series of recommendations that compliment each other.
If someone writes a recommendation you don’t like, you’re not obligated to display it. And, LinkedIn provides tools that let you request updates to recommendations.
Another way to standout on LinkedIn is to become known as an expert. To do this, visit the ‘Answers’ area of LinkedIn to view questions from other LinkedIn subscribers on a variety of topics. Answer questions related to your area of expertise. When you provide the best answer to a question, the submitter can identify your answer as ‘best.’ If you provide the best answer enough times to a topic, you’ll be designated as an ‘expert’ by LinkedIn.
Don’t be concerned that your LinkedIn profile identifies you as a jobseeker to your current employer. Having a LinkedIn profile is normal. It’s perfectly acceptable to have a robust profile on LinkedIn even when you’re not looking for a job.
Create a Credible Network
The power of social networks is founded on its size and strength. The trick is balance these two aspects of your network. When it comes to networking, size matters. LinkedIn is a great place to connect with everyone you know professionally and personal contacts that are willing to share connections with you.
LinkedIn users with a free subscription can search and access a portion of social network’s 34 million members based on their connection count. This includes: their immediate connections; second degree contacts (friends of friends); and third degree contacts, and people with a mutual connections. You don’t have to have a huge network to reap results. For example, people with more than twenty connections are thirty-four times more likely to be approached with a job opportunity than people with less than five.
Based on the 259 legitimate connections I have on LinkedIn today, I have access to 53,300 members who are two degrees away and 3,914,400 people who are three degrees away.
Of course, this assumes that the 259 people I know have done a responsible job of building their networks. When they add people to their network that they don’t really know, MY OWN NETWORK is negatively affected.
LinkedIn isn’t a place to make new friends. It’s a place to connect with people you already know well. LinkedIn actively discourages subscribers who add ‘connections’ they don’t know.
Patrick Crane, VP of marketing and advertising for LinkedIn, said the authenticity of your LinkedIn network will determine its strength. “Growing your LinkedIn ecosystem to reflect your real world business connections is critical,” he blogged. “It defines the people you’d recommend and support, even if it means putting your professional reputation on the line.”
Although LinkedIn will generate invitations to connect, it’s always a good idea to customize the invitation you send to people. Make sure when you send an invite that individuals understand your reasons for connecting.
Thinking about adding someone as a LinkedIn connection? Ask yourself:
• Would I feel comfortable contacting this individual on behalf of another friend?
• Would I be willing to introduce this individual to someone else I know so they can do business together?
• Am I comfortable letting this person use my name as a business reference?
• Will this person know me if he’s approached by others who use my name?
If you don’t have the level of familiarity to answer these questions “yes,” then re-examine the value of adding them to your network.
If you’d like to contact someone on LinkedIn who’s not part of your network, you’ll need to pay for a subscription to LinkedIn. However, I think it’s still a good investment for jobseekers. Doing so will give you access to anyone within the network who hasn’t opted out of blind connections. Of LinkedIn’s more than 35 million members, over 30 million can be reached by ‘InMail.’
If you’re currently employed, take care when inviting coworkers, supervisors or company executives to join your network. If they accept the invitation, you’ll need to adjust your privacy settings so they’re not notified of every new connection you make with prospective employers. A flurry of LinkedIn activity may inadvertently uncover your intent to leave.
• Write unsolicited recommendations for people you have worked with. This generates goodwill on behalf of each recipient – which strengthens your network. As an added benefit, you’ll often get a recommendation in return.
• Join relevant interest groups. Joining a group provides an opportunity to meet individuals outside your existing network. Groups related to your industry or profession include relevant news, including job postings. LinkedIn also allows you to communicate to members of mutual groups.Need to contact someone you don’t know? 1) View their profile. 2) Join a group they’re a member of. 3) Contact them as a member of the group.
• Update your status on LinkedIn. If you’re looking for a job, let people in your network know.
• Learn about companies prior to each interview. Conduct keyword searches on the company name. Identify employees who work for the company. Contact those who are in your network for additional information. Explore company profiles.
• Identify companies you want to work for. Then, use the inside connections you have at potential employers to build relationships and create new opportunities.
• Prior to job interviews, obtain a list of individuals you’ll be meeting. Use LinkedIn to identify their responsibilities, interests, previous employers and other relevant information. Using your network, it may be possible to contact a hiring manager before your interview. Or, it may be possible for a mutual friend (someone in both your networks) to approach the hiring manager on your behalf.
• Contact recruiters using LinkedIn. According to Kay Luo, director of corporate communications at LinkedIn, Companies are using LinkedIn to find passive job candidates. It’s a good idea to connect with recruiters in your region, industry and profession BEFORE you’re looking for a job. If you do, there’s a good chance they’ll contact you when a job comes along that matches your skills.
The opinions expressed herein or statements made in the above column are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wisconsin Technology Network, LLC.
WTN accepts no legal liability or responsibility for any claims made or opinions expressed herein.