Let’s face it, the job market is competitive regardless of your industry. The way people are getting hired is changing as well. Last year, nearly half of new people hired by companies in the United States were picked up online, according to a 2011 report from Career Xroads.
Developing an online presence for professional development can no longer afford to be an after thought. Increasingly companies are turning to web and social media sites when looking for perspective employees or considering applicants during the interview process.
The same report by Career Xroads found more than a quarter of hired job seekers found their new position based on professional referrals. Fortunately, many possible referrers are online too, greatly enhancing our abilities to stay connected and expand our established networks.
Social media sites are a great way to do this since they’re designed for person-to-person interactions. In the end, however, social media may just be a part of your overall web persona.
LinkedIn, the only social networking site set up specifically for professional networking, is a good place to really expand your network, showcase your talents and leave a digital footprint that appeals to perspective employers. With more than 100 million professionals on the site, and 44 million of those being in the United States, LinkedIn is a strategic platform to accelerate your career goals – but only to the extent you’re willing to maintain your presence on the site.
Creating a half-completed profile, posting unclear or grammatically incorrect information or showing that you don’t understand how to use the platform can be detrimental to your job efforts.
These five tips should help you build, enhance or expand your LinkedIn job-hunting tactics and push you one step closer to that dream job.
- Complete your profile:
We mentioned this briefly above, but it really is important. Fill out all relevant information that is RELATED TO THE JOB you’re after. Consider omitting unrelated experience unless it adds credentials toward the position you’re after. Upload a professional photo and keep the content of your profile professional and well edited. Personalize your URL.
- Work your connections:
LinkedIn offers a number of ways to connect to your existing address books online and find existing connects. Use these to get started. Ask close connections for recommendations of your work. Try NOT to connect with people randomly. Those tactics may work well on Twitter or Facebook, but LinkedIn is about developing a real, tangible network of industry connections. With that said, don’t be shy about asking for an introduction to someone you’d like to meet through a shared connection. Most experiences I’ve had with this have been very positive.
- Build your reputation:
So you’ve tapped out your personal network and run into another hurdle in your job hunt. Now what? LinkedIn offers a number of groups around industry and other topics. These can be a great place to meet people in the field, show off your knowledge and possibly catch the eye of an industry recruiter.
- Update your profile:
Think of your LinkedIn profile as your online resume. Get someone (friend, career advisor, anyone really) to spell-check your work. Connect your other social and other web sites to your profile, along with basic contact information like an e-mail address. Make yourself easy to find, understand and appealing to busy recruiters and others tasked with the hoopla of hiring. Extras, such as multimedia elements or embedded slideshows can add a bit of flare to your efforts.
- Share often:
Compared to Twitter and Facebook, conversations on LinkedIn tend to be a little slower-paced, taking place over the course of days instead of seconds and minutes. Many people sync their LinkedIn profile with other, more active sites such as Twitter or a blog RSS feed. This isn’t a bad idea, but make sure your content is relevant and professional. Also, consider the size of your following on LinkedIn and their usage patterns so you don’t overwhelm them with updates.
Really, these are kind of the basics, but they tend to get overlooked. Feel free to add your advice below. If there’s a big enough response we’ll do an intermediate, or more-focused, post on leveraging LinkedIn for job hunting.
Up next, the five reasons you don’t get followed back on Twitter.