By Jeff Lipschultz
With all the rage around social media in job searching, it is LinkedIn that stands out as the tool of choice for many recruiters to connect with job seekers (or future job seekers).
Knowing how recruiters use the tool may shed some light on how to leverage LinkedIn in your own job search efforts. Granted, good recruiters use many social media tools to find candidates, like FaceBook and Twitter.
However, LinkedIn.com is the largest social network for professionals. LinkedIn provides the best avenue to quickly learn enough about a person to see if they should be contacted for a particular job opening. Candidates need to leverage LinkedIn as much as possible to be included in these searches.
To be found on LinkedIn, you need to have a large network.
Although many recruiters know how to search for candidates who are outside their own LinkedIn three degrees of connectivity, not all do. Therefore, the more people you are connected to, the more likely you may be connected to recruiters.
Recruiters love invites to your network, too. Don’t be afraid to ask them to join your network - they may be unable to ask you to join their network because of LinkedIn’s built-in rules.
You can also be found more easily if you are a member of LinkedIn Groups within your specialty (i.e., .NET, SQL Server, Flex, Information Architects). Use LinkedIn's search function to find the Groups appropriate for you.
Employers and recruiting companies even start their own Groups. Join, and contribute to discussions or provide valuable news.
When recruiters search for candidates in LinkedIn, they focus on key words just like the resume databases and applicant tracking systems do.
Your LinkedIn Professional Headline is the perfect place to include the right keywords for your job search. Be specific to attract recruiter attention.
No one searches for a "business professional" but they do search for a "marketing manager who understands how to leverage social media for B2B visibility and sales." So, avoid being too general -- general headlines will not be impressive or contain the right keywords.
There are also ample opportunities to sprinkle in your key abilities and skills within the Summary and Experience sections. Every job you list should include the expertise that you demonstrated in that job. Think keywords!
[Read the 25 Best Keywords for Your Job Search and 5 Best Ways to OPtimize Your Keywords for a More Powerful LinkedIn Profile for more information.]
If you want to be contacted by recruiters and potential employers, share your contact info.
You can list your Twitter handle and can include your personal Web sites (which should have your contact info). Edit the "Contact Info" in the top box on your profile.
It’s not a bad idea to include a picture, too. Recruiters roll through dozens to hundreds of profiles a month. They don’t always remember names they have seen, but they do remember pictures. This will help them remember if they have contacted you in the past (and check their files accordingly).
Also, profiles without pictures can send the message of "anti-social media" or "not social media savvy" or even "fake LinkedIn Profile."
Having recommendations within LinkedIn is a nice way to convey you are a quality candidate. But more than two from each job looks like you are just asking everyone you know for a recommendation. This can diminish the value of the best and most articulate recommendations you have.
Recruiters sometimes ask for references who are not included in LinkedIn.
Having a Blog included in your profile adds to your credibility, too. You can show off your technical knowledge and insights using a blog and listing it on your profile using another available profile application called Blog Link.
Similarly, you can use another application, SlideShare, to post a PowerPoint presentation on related subject matter to catch the eye of the recruiter and provide more info on you.
You can also use the Status (or Events) in your profile to announce seminars and conferences you are attending to grab the eye of the recruiters.
Of course, if you are actively looking for a new job (and can announce this), feel free to post a status of exactly the type of job you’re looking for. Updates on status of my connections comes right to my email.
Obviously, you need to make sure you are open to invitations to connect or InMails. Make sure your contact settings are set appropriately in your profile. You can include your preferred contact information in this section, as well as, the Personal Information section.
You should be open to connecting with recruiters even when you are not looking for a job. You may not currently be a job seeker now—but some day you likely will be.
If you already have a strong network of recruiters on Linkedin, you’ll be way ahead of the game when it’s time to look for your next opportunity.
Notice that the advice above is all about getting a recruiter to find you, not the other way around. You are presenting yourself to recruiters without any extra work on your part. All you need to do is set up your profile well the first time (and keep it current) and LinkedIn (with help from search engines) does the work for you.
Next: How to Add Recruiters to Your LinkedIn Network (in 5 ways)
Job-Hunt's Working with Recruiters Expert Jeff Lipschultz is a 20+ year veteran in management, hiring, and recruiting of all types of business and technical professionals. He has worked in industries ranging from telecom to transportation to dotcom. Jeff is a founding partner of A-List Solutions, a Dallas-based recruiting and employment consulting company. He is a unique recruiter with Lean Engineering experience and a Six Sigma Blackbelt. Learn more about him through his company site alistsolutions.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter (@JLipschultz) and on GooglePlus.