As a professional social network, LinkedIn has transformed the way business professionals communicate, interact and network. It has also completely changed the recruitment and employment process, shifting the practice online with virtual connections taking the place of networking events.
With graduate employment prospects at an all-time low and an oversaturated and a hugely competitive job market, workers are looking at other means for boosting their job prospects. LinkedIn has become a highly valuable tool for both employers and potential employees.
Here are some simple tips on how to harness the unique power of LinkedIn to get you the best chance of landing your dream job.
Grow Your Network
They say when it comes to the marketplace it’s about who you know not what you know and whilst that may still be true, LinkedIn has made networking and getting to know people easier than it ever has been before. Your entire professional contact book can be managed and controlled online via LinkedIn. Maximise your reach across the business world by building up as large a network as possible. Link up with all your co-workers and friends and then join in discussions through groups, answer questions and generally interact with as many as people as possible. Mine the contacts of every new connection you make to further extend your contact list.
Optimise your Profile
Your profile is your virtual first impression and acts as your online business card. It needs to be as slick and professional as possible. There is no point having hundreds of connections to an outdated or misinformed profile. Optimise your profile to make yourself easy to find using keywords in your job title and bio. Provide clear points of contact and be clear about who you are, what you do and what you are looking for out of LinkedIn.
Now you have a perfectly optimised and highly attractive profile as well as a sizable bank of connections; you need to boost your visibility across the network. Stay front of mind with all your contacts by posting regular status updates, participating in conversations across LinkedIn groups and utilising the question and answer tool. Seek opportunities where you can show off your detailed knowledge and expertise in relevant fields.
Be Clear About What You Want
LinkedIn can be used in a variety of ways by a range of people seeking different results. Be clear from the beginning about what you wish to use LinkedIn for. In this case if you are looking for job opportunities, make sure you are connecting with people in your fields of interest. Follow companies that are in your area and connect with people already doing your dream job. How did they get to where they are now? What route did they have to take? Is this something you can follow?
Possibly the most important tip to using LinkedIn, particularly when job hunting, is to remain strictly professional at all times. LinkedIn is not Facebook or Twitter but a business network for professionals. Maintain a professional decorum in your communications. Personalise messages and adhere to the general practices and etiquette of the site. If you get an invitation to connect from someone you don’t know don’t just ignore them, start up a conversation and take their details, as you would at any networking event or conference in the past.
Seek out the best opportunities
Don’t just sit back and assume that job opportunities will appear now you have a strong connection list and an optimised profile. Take the initiative and find what you want first. Search for opportunities at companies and within sectors which interest you. Reach out to HR managers at companies which are advertising or you are keen to work with. You might find you have much in common (including some mutual connections).
There is nothing more credible to your job search than professionally endorsed skills and experience from relevant experts. Endorsements and recommendations from co-workers, managers or clients instantly boosts the credibility of your profile and shows potential employers clear evidence of the qualities you have and can offer.
Now go and land that dream job you’ve always wanted!
Ross Moffat is a freelance writer for Education Consultancy Beattie Communications, who has been writing professionally for over 2 years.