LinkedIn isn’t a new social media site, in fact, it is one of the older ones. But in recent years people have increasingly realized how important it is when you are looking for a new job, creating a network for your professional life and to find out more about your industry. Here’s our simple guide to using LinkedIn successfully to find a new job.
Don’t treat it like a CV
There’s no doubt that a professionally created CV is a core part of your job hunting arsenal. And there are elements from that CV that you can use on LinkedIn. But if you are to be successful with it, you need to do more than just use it as an online resume.
For example, some of the most overused words on the site include ‘responsible, ‘strategic’ and ‘effective’ – but what does this tell you? It tells you that lots of people are just copy and pasting their resume to the site. In order to be different, you need to approach it differently. That might mean using video content, links to your previous work or even presentations. These all showcase your abilities in different and interesting ways that help you stand out from the crowd.
Concentrate on your headline first
Perhaps the most important part of your profile is the headline – this is the thing people see the most often and grabs their attention. Your name and headline are what show up in searches and needs to be informative and eye-catching. You can make it about what you do or about what you are looking for but don’t waste it with a simple job title, write an effective headline.
Keywords are the signposts that you place in your profile that tell people who you are. For example, if you work in web design, you would use this in your title. You would also use it during the various places in your profile including experience, your current role and projects. But you should also use associated keywords naturally in these places as not everyone will search for a ‘web designer.’ This might include web creator, graphic designer, website designer and more.
Complete all sections
If there’s a section on your LinkedIn profile that you can complete, make sure you do. Previous relevant experience, school history, qualifications, skills – if you have information you can put into these sections, make sure you do. Use the same principles as when creating your resume – keep the content relevant to your profession or the kind of role you are searching for.
Keep your profile up to date
Keeping your profile up to date is very important. Even if it just by adding an article from your industry that is interesting, you want to keep your profile active and show that you are involved in the network. Don’t be afraid to update your profile sections if you start looking at a different job to get those important keywords in – you can change your profile settings so that your network isn’t notified every time you change something on your profile.
Follow dream companies
We all have those companies that we would love to work for at some point. And LinkedIn is the place to follow them. Why? Because most of the top companies use LinkedIn for recruiting purposes and if you have shown an interest in them, you never know what might happen. You may also be approached by similar companies who are looking for the skills you have and see your interest as a positive thing.
Use LinkedIn for research
When you do get that opportunity to chat with someone from a company or to attend an interview, don’t be frightened to use LinkedIn to do a little research on them. Look them up, learn a little about them and their place in the company. Those little snippets of information can be useful for those little silences in a meeting. You may even find common connections that can be beneficial.
Keep building your network
Facebook has friends, LinkedIn has connections. The key is to remember they are very different. You might send a friend request to a random person on Facebook. You can do the same on LinkedIn, but etiquette says to do it a little differently. For example, a personalized note with the connection request is important. Even if it says something along the lines of ‘I was admiring your profile and see we are in the same industry so thought I would reach out to see if you wanted to connect’ or something similar. Start building a relationship from the very first contact.
Understand first, second and third-degree contacts
LinkedIn uses a system to grade your contacts. First degree contacts are people you have connected with. Second-degree contacts are their contacts – so one step removed from you but with someone in common. Third-degree contacts are someone you don’t share a contact with.
You can approach any level of contacts, but the second-degree ones can be the best – that shared contact will show and make them more receptive.
And a profile with 100 connections could mean thousands of second-degree connections.
Try LinkedIn groups
Groups on LinkedIn can be an interesting place to make connections. They can be industry-specific, job type specific or even interest specific. Members share discussions, articles and chat about the common theme. There are more than two million groups, so you will always find some that suit what you are looking for. Then get in and engage with people – remember the social side of social media.
Publish content on the site
If you can, it never hurts to publish content straight onto LinkedIn. If you have a blog relating to your career or if you contribute to your company blog, then you have the skills. But anyone can have a go at content creating or even get someone to do it for you. The aim is to show interesting content to your audience and associate yourself with this expertise.