When it comes to landing a job, your job search toolbox should be filled with a variety of valuable tools. From niche job boards to networking, job seekers often find success through a variety of tools and tactics.
One tool holding an increasingly prominent part in the job search is social media. And with a reported 94 million visits from U.S. users in December 2012, LinkedIn has become the quintessential professional social network for many job seekers. So I have to ask — are you linked in?
Whether you have yet to create a profile or it’s just been awhile since you’ve updated — LinkedIn is an important tool for your job search.
Your Online Resume
Your LinkedIn profile acts as the online version of your resume. Through proper use, you can use your profile to connect with people in your network, be found by potential employers or those you may have known previously, increase your online visibility, and build your professional brand. A detailed and completed profile is an absolute must during your job search. If a potential employer is reviewing your profile and finds a variety of gaps and missing information, you’re likely to be discredited and removed from the hiring process.
Get started with your update by turning off your activity broadcasts on your profile. You can do this by going to the settings button under your name in the right corner of your page. This will ensure your updates aren’t bombarding your newsfeed. Consider the following updates to turn your profile into your job search’s secret weapon:
Stand Out With Your Headline
Located beneath your name, this area is generally set by default to grab your most recent job title. Since it’s one of the first pieces of information visitors see when visiting your page, your headline provides a unique chance to leave an impression. Rather than using your current job title, use your 28 characters to creatively showcase your skills and experiences.
Upgrade Your Photo
A professional photo of yourself will set the tone for your entire online resume. Don’t scare away potential employers with your unprofessional and awkward photo. Instead, update your current photo of you in a T-shirt to something more professional.
Showcasing your expertise and accomplishments is the most important element of your LinkedIn profile, and the summary section is your place to do so. Even if you’re still employed, you can showcase your know-how and personality in this section — think of it as a short-and-sweet cover letter. Be sure to utilize keywords and keep your summary focused.
Showcase Your Experiences
In the experience section of your LinkedIn profile, include concise descriptions of your accomplishments — not just your daily tasks — for every job you’re hoping to showcase. Stay away from writing dense paragraphs, and use bullet points instead. Potential employers and recruiters are likely to skim this section and may just skip over anything too long.
LinkedIn’s latest skills endorsement feature places an even greater emphasis on the skills you put on your profile. While the feature is still evolving — currently you can endorse anyone for any skill — be sure to list all of the skills you’ve gained and utilized throughout your experiences, and attempt to receive endorsements to support them.
Recommendations on LinkedIn are similar to references during the hiring process. Try to receive at least one recommendation from a previous manager or customer at every job you have listed in your experience section.
The Job Search
When your profile has been perfected, it’s time to kickoff your LinkedIn job search. Begin regularly taking part in LinkedIn groups related to your career or interests. You can also utilize the Advanced Search function to save up to ten job searches. LinkedIn will then notify you when jobs are posted meeting your specific criteria. If you’re interested at opportunities at specific companies, follow them to stay updated with the statuses and job postings.
An updated profile and smart job search techniques on LinkedIn will give your search for an employment a unique boost.
How do you use LinkedIn to search for jobs?