So you’re looking for a new job? Good for you.
Before you make an appointment with a headhunter or waste too much time searching online job boards, check out LinkedIn. Really. It’s more than just another social network. It’s a powerful job-search tool. They have a pretty good section on how to find a job with LinkedIn. Here are a few features that will help you:
- Job Seeker account. This is a premium account that may give you an edge for finding jobs and contacting the the people who are looking for new hires. For $29.95 a month, you get top listing in job searches, access to hiring professionals, and a job seeker badge that tells everyone you’re looking for a job (do you really want that?)
- JobsInsider toolbar. You can attach it to your web browser and use it when viewing an ad on another site. The toolbar will help you find LinkedIn profiles of people already working for the company the company
- Companies. This section allows you to follow companies. It shows you profiles of people who work for the company, get hired and leave the company
A lot of these features are based upon letting you know who is working for companies you may want as your next employer. These people could end up as sources of information about the company or recommendations. At least being able to monitor the turnover of employees offers some insight.
Here are more things you can do to find a job in LinkedIn:
Research companies & industries
LinkedIn can be a rich source of information. Use the tools to find people who work where you want to work. Connect to them so you can ask questions. The Companies profiles are worth reading too.
Join groups and answer questions
These are opportunities to interact with people in your industry who aren’t connected to you. Groups are simply what the name implies. They are created by anyone for people interested in a topic – many times they are virtual professional associations. Answers is a forum that lets anyone ask a question that anyone can answer.
- Ask questions about companies and industries. You will learn something and maybe put yourself on a hiring manager’s radar.
- Answering questions help establish your expertise and can lead to connections with key people in companies.
Complete your profile.
Profiles that LinkedIn considers 100 percent complete at the top of search results. This can give you an edge when hiring managers are searching for prospects. Also complete profiles give you more credibility and opportunity to impress hiring managers.
Don’t forget your photo
Your profile photo is 5 percent of a complete LinkedIn profile. It’s an easy way to complete your profile and create a friendly image. But make sure it projects the image that fits the company’s image. You can find that out by asking your connections already working there. So dress and groom for the photo like you would if you had a face-to-face interview.
Ask for recommendations and introductions
Reach out to your connections and ask for recommendations. This is the time to be assertive but polite. This can help you build a reputation that will impress potential employers. If you don’t know someone well enough to ask for a recommendation, ask if they can introduce you to someone at the company.
Pay it forward
Recommend someone who does good work. Don’t do this lightly. Mean it. This will help them advance their careers – which may encourage them to help them when you need it. But it also makes you look good by showing your writing and that you are connected to quality people.
By the way, you’re going to see a lot of job postings that aren’t right for you. But maybe you know someone who would be a good fit for it. So forward the job listing to them.
Create your Reading List
I recommend this cautiously. It can be used deceptively. But if you’re really reading books about your industry, use the feature to list it. It shows you’re willing to learn and keep current with the industry. Don’t treat it as a bookcase stocked simply to impress people. Be honest and ready to discuss it if someone asks about it.
Don’t link Twitter
There’s the ability to connect your Twitter account to LinkedIn. So you can send an update to Twitter and have it show in LinkedIn too. How’s that for efficiency? Not so good. Twitter is a different animal with different audiences. Your Twitter updates will appear out of context in LinkedIn and not promote your image as a professional – unless you are strictly professional on Twitter.
Even so, there isn’t a lot of respect for Twitter among people in LinkedIn. They don’t seem to like Facebook or not. Whether the beliefs are valid or not doesn’t matter. If you want to connect to someone on LinkedIn, it’s very likely that they believe they’re using a professional service that reflects their professionalism. Don’t give them an excuse to dismiss you.
Respect your privacy
If you’re already employed, you probably don’t want your boss to know you’re looking for a job. So don’t connect to anyone who you don’t want to see your activity. Also, there is an option in your profile that you can use to tell everyone that you’re seeking new career employment opportunities. Don’t check that if you’re employed.
(Image courtesy of nan palmero under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.)
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