You have probably heard all about LinkedIn, but you are not quite sure how it can work for you or how to use it for your advantage to boost your job seeking profile.. This article aims to help you to know more about this free online tool and how to get the best out of it.
LinkedIn is another social networking tool, except, this site will focus on you professionally. With over 259 million members in over 200 countries, membership grows by approximately 2 members every second (Wikipedia). Excellent, but what can this site do for you, the job seeker who is trawling through a myriad of websites.
LinkedIn makes your job search easier, by showing you available jobs that match your profile and skill-set as well as helping to you to make connections and extend your personal network.
It is important to remember that LinkedIn is essentially your CV and a job application online for everyone to see. It can help you to boost your job seeking profile but only if it is used effectively.
Creating your LinkedIn Profile
- Take your time creating your profile. Use your CV as a guideline to create your profile.
- Target your profile. Take a look at our previous article here on how to target your CV to reach the right job market, and use these tools for your LinkedIn profile.
- Write a summary, LinkedIn allows you to write a summary of your skills and experience. It also announces to people who you are and why you are on LinkedIn.
- Never leave this section blank, it is an introduction to you. Summarize your career history and skills and what you are looking for from LinkedIn and potential connections.
- Share an accomplishment, say loudly and proudly “I worked on X project when I was working in Y company in 2010.” Explain what you achieved in brief.
- Write in paragraphs – don’t make the mistake of writing one big block of text.
- Put your contact information in there – it can never be too easy to find.
- Experience Section is a place where your career/employment history taken from your CV is added. For each position / job you had, make sure you add a new position for each job that you have held, don’t forget to make it easy to read for people.
- Projects – This section allows you to shout from the roof tops a project that you were involved in. Take your time with this section, state your project name, why your company needed this project to be done. Make sure you add in, who worked on the project with you, what you did as a team, and most importantly don’t forget to state the outcomes of this project.
- If you have a website related to your job available online, than this is the place to show it off. For example, if you are a designed and would like to showcase your work, you could show a link to your Pinterest account or website.
- Recommendations are an excellent section of LinkedIn as it allows you to ask people to recommend you for your previous job. It is essentially someone giving you a job reference online and the best thing, it doesn’t have to be your previous boss. You can ask a colleague you worked with to give you a recommendation on LinkedIn. Again, this will show case your skills to the best of your advantage – but chose wisely.
- The Skills Section allows you to enter keywords only. This makes your profile easy for a recruiter to search for, but it also allows people to recommend you for a certain skill that you have.
A contact network in LinkedIn is similar to a friends list in Facebook, however the main distinction here is that your contact network in LinkedIn will consist of those who you have worked with either directly or indirectly. Remember this is your professional network, your contact list does not need to reflect your Facebook friend list.
You will notice that once you have connected to someone, your own suggested contacts list will grow and you can now see second degree connections. A second degree connection is a colleague of a friend who you are not yet connected with. Third degree connections are also available and visible on LinkedIn. If you do not know a person, but a connection has previously worked with them, you can request an introduction through this mutual contact.
Growing your contact lists and professional network is easy when you use this list to your advantage in a professional manner.
Other useful features of LinkedIn to boost your job seeking profile
There is a section on LinkedIn whereby you can join forums and discussion groups of your career interests. Share knowledge or learn more about developments within your industry. The groups feature on LinkedIn will also allow you to expand your career network online as well as staying up to date with the latest developments in your industry or to discuss career trends.
By posting regularly, perhaps once a week to the groups on LinkedIn you can boost your job seeking profile.
Now that you have your profile created on LinkedIn, the job listings will be targeted specifically to you and your skillset. No longer will you need to search through alot of jobs to find the one that fits your skill set, LinkedIn does this for you.
Even better, it allows you to save a job in a little file that you can go back to at a later stage. When you log it, it will also remind you that the job you have saved is about to expire – in other words the closing date is approaching soon. Along with this feature, LinkedIn can be used as your application for the position. Although it is no substitute for taking the time to tailor your CV and cover letter.
You have seen how easy it is to create a LinkedIn profile that works and to get involved in the activity on LinkedIn in order to boost your job seeking profile. Now it is important that you use this to your advantage. These simple tips will help you to make the most out of LinkedIn.
- Get a recommendation from at least in one person in your network.
- Post a status update once a week – keep it professional and related to your job search or current work projects.
- Add skills to your account. Make it easy for recruiters to find you.
Remember that everything within LinkedIn or any social media site reflects you so always post professionally.