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On this page: LinkedIn is the most powerful and effective social media network for job search. This column will show you how to use it for your job search.

Guide to Using LinkedIn for Job Search

By Susan P. Joyce

The world of job hunting is changing dramatically right now, primarily because of social media.  If you haven't been paying attention to social media, and particularly to LinkedIn, you have some catching up to do. You cannot afford to ignore LinkedIn today.

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I find many job seekers confusing the intelligent use of social media with a loss of privacy. This is a serious mistake.

An "invisible" job seeker today is one often viewed by recruiters and potential employers with some suspicion because it is rare these days and often it is not a good sign: are you out of touch, behind the times, or using a false name?

In addition, you can be mistaken for someone else with the same name who has done something bad that is visible when a recruiter or potential employer researches your name online.

 [See the Guide to Online Reputation Management article for steps you can take to manage potential negatives.]

People often reveal far to much in sites like Facebook and Twitter.  It is even possible with LinkedIn if you try hard enough, getting carried away with the fun of meeting new people, sharing your opinion with your peers, and making jokes.

In the most recent survey, 93% of recruiters indicated that they were likely to look at a candidate's social profile, and 42% of those recruiters have reconsidered a candidate based on what they found - both positive and negative.

LinkedIn - the Preferred Social Network for Recruiting

With over 300 million members, LinkedIn is the most "grown-up" and professional of the social media network venues currently available. In comparison with Facebook, LinkedIn is also the most respectful of member privacy.

According to the JobVite recruiter survey, the use of social media for recruiting has been expanding, and the trend is expected to continue.

LinkedIn is clearly in the lead in many ways.

Hiring: When it comes to hiring, 78% of recruiters have hired through a social network, and the leading network for hiring is LinkedIn by a very wide margin (see the image on the left). While 92% of recruiters have hired through LinkedIn, only 24% have hired through Facebook, and 14% have hired through Twitter.

Recruiting: Most of the 94% of recruiters who use (or will use) social networks for recruitng will be using LinkedIn, and the preference for LinkedIn is significant with 94% of the "social" recruiters using it vs. 65% of social recruiters using Facebook and 55% of social recruiters using Twitter.

Interestingly, although much larger in number of members at 540 million, Google Plus is used by only 18% of the social recruiters. At least currently.

LinkedIn is the most popular site for recruiters by far, as the data below reveals. Of the social recruiters, LinkedIn clearly dominates in key uses:  

Recruiters indicated that they checked a candidates LinkedIn Profile for:

So, investing time in learning how to leverage social media for your job search, and to leverage LinkedIn, in particular, will be time well spent for you.

Do remember that social networks are only another method for people to connect. You will need more than a LinkedIn Profile. You will need to participate intelligently and carefully in LinkedIn Groups to establish a business-like online presence for yourself. Then, you'll need to connect with other human beings, off-line, usually to close the deal and land the job.

As with all the social media, technology and the best methods of leveraging technology changes often. This section of Job-Hunt will help you stay current with LinkedIn.  Be sure to check the other sections of Job-Hunt dealing with social media (on the right) and the rest of Job-Hunt to stay up to date with everything that is going on.

About the author…

Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps, Susan is a two-time layoff "graduate" who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. Since 1998, Susan has been editor and publisher of Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Google+.

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