Tips for jump starting your job search using LinkedIn
By Guest Blogger Elaine Lee
With social media gaining momentum and popularity every day, the way we look for jobs is always changing. Going on Internet job sites or visiting company’s websites looking for an opening no longer gives you the advantage it once did.
Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn–three of the most popular social media sites–are full of job opportunities – if you know how to use them.
For example, there are over 900 employers and recruiters using LinkedIn everyday to search for eligible candidates. I heard recently about a headhunter’s office that had to close when LinkedIn went down for a day.
Employers today not only look for your professional qualifications, but your web presence as well.
Recently, LinkedIn has launched a very powerful tool for recruiters called: Talent Advantage. This tool allows the system to trawl through all LinkedIn profiles and pick out the ones that best match each employer’s criteria. The recruiter can then send emails to qualified candidates to see if there’s shared interest.
To take advantage of this technology as a job searcher:
1. Search on LinkedIn, or other Internet job sites, for keywords used in the descriptions of the jobs and incorporate those keywords into your profile so that you will become more searchable.
2. Build a robust profile using the same content strategies recommended for an effective resume.
3. Ask your connections for recommendations. Be very specific in your requests of what qualities they should write about you.
4. Utilize the “What are you working on now?” box. Update it EVERYDAY. Treat this area as your Facebook or Twitter updates with professionalism. This is your daily “advertisement” to your connections.
5. Join professional groups relating to your career field. Often, jobs are posted to these groups only, as it would be highly targeted to the specific kind of candidates that companies are seeking.
6. Build up your number of connections, without sacrificing the quality of them. The more and the better your connections are, the stronger and more attractive your profile is to recruiters. Building up your connections will also allow you to tap into the power of network for future business opportunities.
7. Use all of the application tools that are applicable to you. Add a link to your blog to demonstrate your writing skills, your expertise in your field or your analytical skills; add SlideShare to upload your presentations to advertise your expertise in your field; add Reading List to let others know that you are well read and have a wealth of knowledge in your field.
In addition to building up your profile, there are three places to search for jobs on your LinkedIn home page. One is the tab on the top of the page, appropriately labeled, Jobs. The second place to look is towards the top as well, where there’s a dropdown menu that allows you to search for a variety of subjects. This is a more general search option. The third place to search is in the Application which is located on the right hand side of the page. In terms of customization, the first and the third areas are editable. However, the first one allows you to customize it even more down to it to your geographical preference, level of experience you desire, and the companies that you would like to work at.
LinkedIn periodically adds more tools and updates its technology to ensure that it remains the premier professional networking site. There are so many more features but I can’t possibly go into all of them in a single blog post. But check out Jason Alba’s website www.imonlinkedinnowwhat.com or his books where you can learn even more tips to mine this gold mine of job opportunities.
Elaine Lee is an alumnus of the Pratt Design Management program. She is a partner at Answers Design Partners, an online marketing specialist and an animal lover. Elaine received her undergraduate degree in Packaging and Advertising Design from the Fashion Institute of Technology.
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