Monday, July 21, 2014

Job Hunt Tips: Using LinkedIn to its Full Potential

Here's Part Two of the Job Hunt Series.
Click here for others tips:
Part 1: The Pursuit
Part 3: The Resume
Part 4: Interview Prep
Part 5: The Interview

How to get a job with LinkedIn

 Potential employers will look for you on LinkedIn.  Give them something impressive to look at.  Create a LinkedIn profile if you don't have one already.  Here's mine, if you'd like an example.

General tips to start you off:
If you know what field or what position you're interested in, look for three or more people on LinkedIn who currently have that job.  Comb through to find the common threads.  Do they all have a certain certification you might need?  What skills do they have listed?  What duties are they responsible for in their current job?  This will give you an idea of what companies are looking for when hiring for this position.  If you can do so honestly, incorporate these elements into your own profile, rephrasing as needed.

Get as many connections as you can.  Think back to your high school classmates and teachers, sorority sisters, baseball co-coach, family friends, ex-coworkers, and the guy you exchanged business cards with on the airplane.  Add all the people you know.  Definitely add people you meet while networking.  Fee free to ask "Do you might if I connect with you on Linkedin?" while swapping business cards.  (Don't feel awkward.  This is how it works.)  In my opinion, if you aren't adding connections, you need to check and see if you're hunting hard enough.   Building your numbers not only shows that you're active in the workforce or community, but it can also come in handy should you need an online introduction.  (I won't be covering that part here, but Google should bring up some handy posts about etiquette and tips.)

Filling out your profile:
In "Edit Profile," you can add in all the information you like.  I'd recommend adding in all of the following:
  • Picture: This is a chance to make a great impression.  Find someone with a smartphone if you have to, get yourself into some nice clothes and good lighting, and flash your most winning smile.  Make sure the photo is cropped like a head shot or something equally focused on your face.  Make it flattering.
  • Professional headline: This is where you put your professional title, right below your name on your profile.  If you're seeking a job, you could say something like "Seeking penguin care position," "Open to new administrative opportunities," of "Seeking challenging role in Java Development."
  • Location and industry: Add this so people  in that location and in that field can find you.  I put "Greater Atlanta" to attract people from all over the city.
  • Contact info: Phone number and professional email.
  • Summary: The people at my Job Seekers meeting said that this section is best used to give a concise version of your résumé.  You don't have to include everything that you list in work experience.  However, using this section to list an actual summary is also a great idea.  Learn more about that in this GREAT video with top LinkedIn tips.
  • All pertinent work experience: Maybe don't add the fast food joint you worked at right at the beginning, but for all other experiences, list how long you worked there and what you did, like on your résumé.
  • Volunteer experience: If you have done volunteer work, listing it here shows that you're a go-getter and that you're willing to pitch in.  Add in the times and duties, just like for work experience.
  • Skills: Look around at others' lists of skills and online lists like this and this to get ideas and to really flesh out this section.  Type up what software skills you have, too.
  • All education after high school: I consider listing your high school as optional.  If you were involved in some good programs at school, add those in under Education's "Activities and Societies" section or even in the volunteer experience section.

You can also manage your Public Profile.  This will let you choose what people see when they're not one of your connections.  On the right, you should see a bar like this.

How to get a job with LinkedIn | Lindsay Eryn

Click to customize your public profile URL and change it to something professional, like a variation of your name.  You can share this URL on your résumé, if you like.

Using Linkedin to find jobs:
Linkedin's advanced searches can come in very handy.  You can search for location, company, dates the job was posted, experience level, and more.  Use these tools to your advantage, but don't stop there.  Once you have some target companies, dig into their Linkedin profiles.  Follow their company profile, if you like.  Then, go and find someone in the company you can talk with through Linkedin.

First, go to the profile page for your target company.  There you can sift through all of the employees who've connected to the company on Linkedin.  Click to see all of these employees.
How to get a job with LinkedIn | Lindsay Eryn

 To the right, you will see a lot of filters you can use.  Here, we will focus on Industry.  Go ahead and click there.
How to get a job with LinkedIn | Lindsay Eryn

You'll see some industries populate automatically.  If you don't see Recruiting or Staffing in that short list, go ahead and add it in.
How to get a job with LinkedIn | Lindsay Eryn

Sometimes HR could be an option, but most big companies will have a recruiting section.  Type in what you're looking for and hit enter.  This will apply the filter.
How to get a job with LinkedIn | Lindsay Eryn

And then all of the people who work there and who are also in recruiting show up!
How to get a job with LinkedIn | Lindsay Eryn

The next step is to send an InMail to Mr. Terry L. or to connect with him.  Tell him where you are, that you'd love to work for the Georgia Aquarium, and does he have any advice?  Is there anywhere you could help out around the office?  Is there someone he could put you in touch with who knows more about the field you're interested in?  Could you come in and discuss how you might be able to fit into the company?  Would it be possible to work you way up to the position you want?  Are there any positions open?  Get those doors open!

Tune next week for more job hunt tips.
As always, you're welcome to share your own tips and thoughts below.

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