Effective use of social media can massively help your job search, but – even more easily – it can hamper you.
In this article we are going to look at how to use undoubtedly the most important form of social media to help with your job search: LinkedIn.
LinkedIn (for the sake of this article, let’s ignore the debate about whether LinkedIn is actually classed as ‘social’ media) is used by hundreds of millions of professionals and organisations alike.
If you don’t have your own website dedicated to showcasing your professional self, then think again – your LinkedIn profile is just that.
That’s assuming that you have a LinkedIn profile of course. If you haven’t, you really should set one up right away, as it is such a useful tool for any job search and wider career progression.
So how can you use LinkedIn to help with your job search, and with your longer term career?
In this article, let’s look at the basics…
Keep your profile up-to-date
Having an up-to-date profile is essential.
If a potential employers looks at your profile and sees that the information on there is not maintained and out-of-date, this doesn’t look good. It also means they may never look at your profile again – a wasted opportunity.
Also make sure that you have a photo of yourself, that it’s a reasonable reflection of you (not 10 years out of date), and that it’s professional looking.
It goes without saying that everything on your profile should be written professionally, error free and appropriate to your line of work.
If you don’t have a photo on LinkedIn you may as well not have a profile at all.
People very rarely pay attention to profiles without a photo because it is such an obvious sign that the profile is not maintained.
And when you do add a profile photo, make it a professional one. Photos of you in your shorts at a friend’s BBQ does not portray you in a professional light, and will do little to help your chances of being approached for potential new job opportunities.
Of course, this may not be the case depending on your line of work, but for most professional jobs and industries you should keep it professional.
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Showcase your skills and experience
The more information you have about your work experience the better.
LinkedIn themselves actively promote the fact that having a more complete profile increases the number of profile views you receive.
You can add selected skills to your profile that reflect what you’re good at – so go ahead and add a bunch. Your network of contacts can endorse you for skills that you’ve added, which demonstrates credibility in those skills.
LinkedIn also allows you to highlight specific achievements from your career. Make sure you include the same kind of information that you would normally include on your resume / CV.
Who are you following?
Following companies or well-known individuals says a lot about the type of person you are, what you are interested in, and helps demonstrate your personal values and brand.
The same applies for LinkedIn Groups – the groups that you are a member of says a lot about what you’re interested in.
Maintain your network
Regularly adding new contacts to your network is a great way to keep your profile in other peoples’ news feed.
If you think about it, there are hundreds of people you can connect with from school, college, university, work (past and present jobs), suppliers, customers, people you’ve met at conferences – the list is almost endless.
If you do ask to connect with someone that may not immediately remember how they know you, make sure you write a short message in the invite to remind them of how they know you.
You should read our article on how to make connections on LinkedIn like a networking expert to get advanced tips and techniques for growing your LinkedIn network.
Speak with colleagues to see if they would be willing to write a recommendation for you – this is effectively a reference on your LinkedIn profile.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be a particularly lengthy reference – just the fact that someone is willing to take the time to write a reference for you says enough.
Be consistent with your resume / CV
They can also access your LinkedIn profile any time they want. So you need to make sure that they are consistent, as any major differences will set alarm bells ringing.
They don’t have to be an exact match – after all, you will have tailored your resume / CV to be a match for the job you’ve applied for, but your LinkedIn profile will be more generic.
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There are thousands of articles and discussions on LinkedIn that you can contribute to.
You could even write and publish an article in your professional field, which will greatly increase your status as a credible professional.
If you don’t want to write and publish articles, you can more easily comment on articles that you can relate to, and for which you have something valuable to contribute.
Adding useless comments or joining in with non-professional discussions can be a sure fire way to annoy your network (remember that all your activity gets shared with your network, so everyone can see when you comment on something).
So to re-cap, here are some of the basic tips on how to use LinkedIn to that you can implement right away to help with your job search:
- Keep your profile professional and up-to-date.
- Make sure you have a professional photo on your profile.
- Highlight your relevant skills and experience.
- ‘Follow’ other LinkedIn members relevant to your field, and become a member of appropriate Groups.
- Actively maintain your network to keep it growing and useful.
- Get recommendations from you network to enhance your credibility.
- Make sure you profile information is consistent with your resume / CV – recruiters can easily compare!
- Engage in discussions and conversations to maintain a high-profile presence.
Now we have covered the basics, you should think about how to make connections on LinkedIn like a networking expert in order to grow your network.
You can find Job Search Bible on LinkedIn – why not connect with us?