How to use LinkedIn on the job hunt
You're ready for a career switch, but where do you begin? Whether you're a social media whiz or a first-time user, LinkedIn can help you get your foot in the door in ways that most online tools cannot, as New England College of Business discussed at our recent Innovation Room session. The session focused on how to improve your LinkedIn profile and make it stand out from the crowd of other job seekers. If you weren't able to attend, here's how you can use your connections and your LinkedIn profile to your advantage during your search and throughout your career:
1. Don't underestimate the power of your profile.
Update your profile so it reflects the hard work you've put in throughout your career. It can be helpful for connections to know where you've lived, where you went to school, as well as any professional organizations you belong to or rewards you've received. Keep in mind that potential employers will look at your profile, so make sure the skills you list are relevant to the jobs you apply for. On LinkedIn, be sure you don't forget to fill in the following:
- Detailed headline with your current job title and company name
- Summary section: Use keywords related to your field that will make it more SEO friendly
- Experience: Include former jobs, and detailed descriptions of what you did at these jobs. Including any images or videos under this section makes your profile stand out, so it's worth the time to put them in there.
- Volunteer Experience: Take this opportunity to highlight what you do outside the office.
- Education: Bond with current or future employers over your shared academic backgrounds.
2. Leverage your connections.
Don't think of LinkedIn as just a social media platform. In reality, LinkedIn is an entire database of your personal connections. Through customized professional connections, LinkedIn allows you to create an online network that accurately represents your real-life network. In your job search, it's important not to overlook old friends or colleagues. You never know how people you know could be connected to your dream company! Sick of searching for contacts? Sync LinkedIn to your email contact list to easily connect with colleagues and friends. Be careful to connect only with those you know, as LinkedIn limits connection privileges to those who don't take such precautions.
3. Get noticed.
Now that your profile reflects “you” and you're connected with the right people, use it to learn as much as you can and share your expertise. According to a recent survey, 77 percent of users reported that LinkedIn helped them learn more about people and companies. Use LinkedIn's customized search features to learn more about the companies you want to work for, and to find out how you may be connected to potential employers. You may be pleasantly surprised to find out that the hiring manager went to your school, or a person in the department you want to work in knows one of your old coworkers.
You can also share interesting findings or experiences with fellow users. Try to share content that teaches your connections something new. Additionally, it can be helpful to engage with groups and organizations in your field. Becoming a member of these organizations and taking part in the conversation will help you grow your network offline, as well!