While we all know LinkedIn is a great tool, not everyone knows how to fully utilize it during a job search, from features, to creating a strong profile, to the many ways to connect.
Here are my top 10 LinkedIn recommendations:
Match your resume with your profile! It seems obvious, but as a recruiter, I’ve checked applicant profiles on LinkedIn enough times to find differing dates, gaps in employment, and other conflicting data that raises an eyebrow.
Use a somewhat professional photo. This isn’t a personal social media site. It doesn’t need to be a professional portrait – a snapshot is fine – but it should be just you (not with your kid or your partner or your buddies), we should be able to see your face, and make sure you’re wearing something in it that you’d wear on the job. * Hint: Please try to look friendly or at least approachable in your photo – no scowling.
Connect with everyone you know – professionally AND personally. The business world is smaller than you think. You’d be surprised who your cousin Joe or neighbor Sally is connected to – and which ties might lead to assistance during your search.
Have a header that defines your profession. Your LinkedIn header (just below your name) should summarize what you do professionally, i.e., Nonprofit Program Manager. Avoid the default of your employer’s name – too often companies have weird or way-too-generic job titles, so if you want to be found, provide your profession.
If you don’t know them, request an introduction! Don’t invite someone to connect blindly. Use the introduction feature for those secondary connections instead, and maximize that network. * Hint: ALWAYS include a note as to why you’re reaching out. Blank invites are extremely impersonal and many – like me – will ignore them.
Confidential job search? Keep edit updates off your activity feed. Go to “Settings” and uncheck the activity feed box to ensure that profile updates aren’t posted as news to your connections (like your boss).
Get recommended. I can’t stress enough how important recommendations are from past employers. As a recruiter, few companies these days give detailed references. Having them on LinkedIn make it SO much easier for hiring teams – and is a great backup in case your references can’t be located. * Hint: In your request, ask them for what you’d like them to touch on – it makes it so much easier for the writer and you’ll get a faster response!
Get to know company pages. Not only is it a great way to find employees to reach out to, many also have separate sections for their jobs, projects and other details which can help prep you for an interview!
Share articles and follow relevant hashtags. You can meet a lot of people you wouldn't have ordinarily encountered this way. Share and respond to pieces related to your profession and your industry, and you can not only network with others and share your own expertise, but also learn a ton about the issues that affect your chosen career path!
Super user? Consider a membership. Obviously as a recruiter I use LinkedIn a lot to source for prospective candidates. It’s a great tool for those in sales, marketing, and hiring managers in general (as well as those who just love to network!). One of the best features of paid memberships is the ability to organize your contacts – a lifesaver when you have 500+ contacts and want to be able to categorize them in an easily understandable fashion.
Have questions? Please feel free to comment below or connect with me on – you guessed it – LinkedIn!