A few years ago, I wrote about the importance of LinkedIn in your job search and the role it plays in connecting you to recruiters and hiring managers. LinkedIn has changed its format a bit recently, but the message to you is still the same: be easily found by recruiters if you want them to connect with you on LinkedIn and share their job openings.
In my previous article, I shared the five key points below. All these points are still valid, but have evolved a bit. I have added some more thoughts on these topics.
Have a Large Network
Adding recruiters to your network takes only a little effort on your part. You can use the Advanced Search for finding people by putting the word "recruiter" in the title box and your local (or desired) zip code in the Postal Code box.
If you’re in the same LinkedIn Group(s), you can leverage that to send an invite. Or you can use In-Mail or a common connection for an introduction. It is important to state a little bit about you so that your invite does not seem too generic.
You can also grow your network by leveraging LinkedIn’s PEOPLE YOU MAY KNOW tool—some of these folks suggested to you are 2nd degree connections that you actually know. Some you will not know, but will be good people to network with.
Participate in LinkedIn Groups
Groups have grown tremendously. You should join these groups to learn of new networking and job opportunities. You can share groups you like with your network and get RSS feeds. Also, you can look at the list of members to see if there is someone you want to network with.
Use Key Words to Describe You AND Demonstrate Credibility Throughout Your Profile
It is still good advice to use key words in your job descriptions—at least a few sentences beyond your title. Just because you list Software Developer, doesn’t mean a recruiter knows the kind of programs you worked on or what tools you used.
Beyond job descriptions, it is very easy to share your skill set on LinkedIn using the Skills and Expertise section which now features Endorsements. These are not as substantial as Recommendations, but as you collect Endorsements for your top skills, you’ll build credibility.
Feel free to endorse others as they will be notified and likely endorse you in return. As long as you are accurate in picking skills in which they excel, I see no reason not to “trade endorsements.”
Recommendations are now listed within each position you have held. All the more reason to ask for recommendations (just a few per job will do) to validate the work you did. In the past, some readers of your Profile may have missed the Recommendations at the bottom, but now they are very noticeable.
Another nice feature in LinkedIn is the Volunteering/Causes Section. This can be leveraged to share your non-work activities that round out your personality. For some hiring managers or recruiters, it may give them an ice-breaker to start a conversation with you (they might even have similar experiences).
Provide Contact Info
Advice for contacting you is under Additional Information. Realize that if you simply state, “Send me email,” you are excluding all the 2nd and 3rd connections from emailing you—your email address does not show up in your Contact Info (located under your main header when you click the Contact Info box). If you want to be readily accessible, include your contact info in the Advice section.
By the way, if you don’t want recruiters contacting you about contractor roles (or permanent roles), feel free to state this. They tend to listen. If you only want to take on side projects, share that, too.
Also, I highly recommend you make your personal email the link to your LinkedIn account/mail. You might be surprised to hear how many I’ve seen using the work email. Usually not a good idea.
Be Open to Connections
LinkedIn has evolved to be a “place” to make contacts, not just archive the ones you already have. When LinkedIn first came out, people were afraid to include Job Opportunities in their “Contact Me Regarding” Section (which is gone now, by the way). Employers know that smart employees are always building their networks (heck, your boss probably is, too).
LinkedIn now has an Activity Section which includes anything you’ve shared with the LinkedIn world. It includes recent connections you’ve made and links you’ve posted.
If you don’t want to share this, you can opt to have your Activity not shown in your Profile Privacy Controls part of your Profile's Settings.
Particularly in the USA, but increasingly across the globe, LinkedIn remains the go-to resource for recruiters and hiring managers to learn more about your professional experience. Some hiring managers will also use it to determine common connections and ask those connections of yours about you (without you knowing). Even the simplest of Profiles gives you a chance to be found by recruiters, but the more you put into it, the more likely it can lead to connections to your next job.
© Copyright, 2013, Jeff Lipschultz. All rights reserved. Used with Permission.
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, a Six Sigma Blackbelt, and a founding member of the Dallas chapter of the Peter Drucker Society. Learn more about him through his company site AListSolutions.com and his personal blog. And follow Jeff on Twitter.com/JLipschultz.