The less exciting slice of the social media pie might be LinkedIn. However, it’s likely the most beneficial for someone using social networking to climb the career ladder. If the professional field is all about “who you know,” LinkedIn makes it possible to “know” a whole lot more people. A simple online “link” via this growing online community could be your ticket to landing a prime job interview.
Many are overwhelmed at the prospect of managing another social network but you’d be wise to pay attention to this one. Chances are you already have an account but aside from the basics, how can you utilize LinkedIn more effectively? Here are a few tips to get started and make the most of your LinkedIn experience:
Profile: It’s best to fill out your profile fully and completely. Be sure to give thorough job descriptions, skills, and accomplishments. A good, professional-looking photo is key. The summary you give should be as proofed and professional as a cover letter for your dream job. Companies scour LinkedIn for good candidates and if they find you but see a massive mistake, you will never know the opportunity you missed. Additionally, be sure to fill out phone number (if you are comfortable), email address, Twitter handles, and additional contact possibilities.
Connections: LinkedIn offers basic searches through your contacts on Google, which will give you a good base from which to start. From there, the Web site will offer a constant stream of possible new connections. You may see names you haven’t thought about in a long time, as it even collects information from an email you sent to one person one time. Believe it or not, that can actually be quite helpful in building a broad list. LinkedIn’s algorithm finds possible interests based on your initial contact list, as well, giving you plenty of industries and people to choose from.
Groups: LinkedIn’s group feature takes your search for connections to a more intimate level. You can join groups with other professionals in your field; and find experts to answer your questions, and peers to share advice and strategy. You will likely find more than one group that meets your needs. There are alumni groups, career groups, and more ones for more specialized interests.
Recommendations: Contact several people from your previous and current jobs. Ask them to submit short, thoughtful recommendations that showcase your skill set and work ethic. These can be key to showing potential employers what you are made of.
Search: If you use LinkedIn for a current job search, you are in luck. It’s possible to apply for jobs on the network because employers trust this site. That’s in your favor! You’ll need to go to the “jobs” tab for options. There, you can perform targeted searches, review results, and save them for later. You can be sure that many companies are paying to advertise prime jobs on LinkedIn so do yourself a favor and utilize the many things LinkedIn has to offer.