LinkedIn is a job-seeker’s best friend – but only if a job-seeker uses LinkedIn’s features to their advantage!
I hear from battalions of job-seekers who are under the mistaken impression that simply creating a LinkedIn profile will get them a great job. That’s false!
LinkedIn is like a Swiss army knife. It’s an incredible tool, but it doesn’t do the work by itself.
Here are ten things every job-seeker should be doing on LinkedIn.
1. Branding Themselves for the Jobs They Want
The biggest personal-branding mistake most job-seekers make is to brand themselves as miscellaneous collections of experiences.
When a visitor reads your LinkedIn profile, it is vital to tell them right away what kind of job you are looking for.
That’s why branding choices like “Multi-Skilled Strategic Leader” are the absolute worst. Bland, general branding like that doesn’t tell us what you want to do in your next job.
When a job-seeker’s LinkedIn Summary says “I’m an experienced problem-solver and leader,” we can’t tell what kinds of jobs the job-seeker is qualified for.
A recruiter or hiring manager will leave that job-seeker’s profile page right away and look for someone else to fill a job.
You have to brand yourself for the specific jobs you want, not every job you might remotely be qualified for.
In your LinkedIn headline (examples: Digital Marketing Specialist; Office Manager with HR and Payroll Experience; CPA Specializing in Start-Up Tech Firms) you need to make it clear what kind of job you want.
Your headline establishes the frame — then your LinkedIn Summary fills in the details!
If you don’t know what kind of job you want, hiring managers and recruiters cannot help you figure it out! They don’t have time, and frankly it’s not their job to give you career counseling.
You may be qualified for dozens or scores of jobs, but you will not look like an attractive candidate for any of those opportunities until you make the decision “What kind of job do I want?”
Pick a set of job titles to focus on in your job hunt and brand yourself for those jobs — not every job.
2. Announcing Their ‘Eligible’ Status
If you aren’t working right now, you can add the words “Seeking New Challenge” or the acronym “ISO” (In Search Of) to your LinkedIn headline. That will tell recruiters and hiring managers you’re on the market.
3. Putting Their Best Face Forward
Make sure your LinkedIn profile photo shows you the way you want to be seen. It doesn’t need to be a professional portrait, but it does need to show your face clearly and present you as professionally as possible.
Whatever you do, don’t leave your profile without a photo!
Doing so sends the message that you couldn’t be bothered to get your photo taken and uploaded to your profile. Employers who see a gaping hole where your profile photo should be will wonder “What else is this person careless about?”
4. Getting Connected
Once you’ve got a LinkedIn profile, you need connections! Invite your former colleagues and your friends to connect with you. Try to accumulate at least 50 or 60 LinkedIn connections.
The more people you’re connected to, the easier-to-find your profile will be for anyone who’s conducting a search on the vast LinkedIn user database.
5. Recommending and Getting Recommended
Nothing speaks more highly of you than a well-written recommendation from a former boss, colleague, vendor, customer or instructor.
A great way to collect recommendations from people who know you (they must be your first-degree connections in order to recommend you) is to leave recommendations for them first.
6. Showcasing Their Skills
The Skills you list in your LinkedIn profile will tell employers and recruiters what you love to do and what you’re good at.
If you are a budding or established subject-matter expert in one or more topics, make sure those topics show up in your Skills listing!
7. Showing Their Brains Working
Every part of your LinkedIn profile shows the world how you think and how you communicate.
Don’t let people see you as a bland, boring zombie by writing your profile Summary using zombie language like “Results-oriented professional.” Any joker on the street could call themselves that!
You are a smart, vibrant and creative person. There is no one else on earth like you and there never will be anyone like you, either. Use your Summary to show us your human side, like this:
I’m a Software Sales Engineer who is equally passionate about helping customers move their businesses to the cloud and teaching novice-to-experienced users to make the most of the products I represent.
Another wonderful way to show us how you think is to use the blogging platform on LinkedIn. Try writing a blog post this week if you haven’t done so already.
You will draw in other people who share your interests when you start blogging for yourself. You will attract followers — including recruiters and hiring managers who could use your help!
8. Researching Employers
LinkedIn is a magnificent tool for researching prospective employers.
Start by searching on the LinkedIn user database through the Advanced Search page (click on the word Advanced next to the search bar at the top of most LinkedIn pages) and conducting a search on keywords that relate to your function and/or industry, plus your zip code.
That search will turn up other LinkedIn users who have “your” keywords in their profiles and who are based within your commuting radius. Their employers may make fantastic additions to your Target Employer List.
9. Scouting Job Opportunities
Use LinkedIn’s Jobs functionality to find job openings but don’t apply for those jobs directly through LinkedIn, because doing that will only put your application into a Black Hole, and that is the worst place for it to be.
Instead, search the LinkedIn database using the company name and the most likely job title of your hiring manager (the department manager who will be your boss in your next job) instead.
Now you’ll have the name and job title of a real person – the person who needs to read your Pain Letter and your Human-Voiced Resume.
10. Enhancing Their Profiles
You can upload videos, images and podcasts to your LinkedIn profile to round out your professional image — and it will help you to do so!
Customize your LinkedIn profile URL on the Edit Profile page to get a clean, crisp URL (example: http://www.linkedin.com/in/lizryan) to add to your consulting business cards, your resume and your email signature).
A job search is a sales and marketing project. LinkedIn is your greatest marketing tool — make sure you’re using it to your advantage!
This article was written by Liz Ryan from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.