By Arnie Fertig
Like so many things, there is no one "right" way to use social media in general, and LinkedIn in particular.
This is particularly true when it comes to your job hunt. But what is equally true is that failing to take advantage of LinkedIn is tantamount to negligence in the business of job hunting.
There are numerous ways to use this mega-site for your job search, but you can break them into three main categories:
In this article, I’ll focus on what you need to do to establish a solid LinkedIn presence.
Why use LinkedIn to get yourself found? Survey after survey points to the fact that over 90% of recruiters and their sourcers, both within companies and external headhunting agencies, use LinkedIn to identify potential "good fit" candidates. These are all people with jobs to be filled, and these are opportunities you would likely never even hear about.
For a variety of reasons, recruiters often like to "find" talent rather than being beseeched to help desperate job hunters. Think of it as a game of "hide and seek" with a twist: Recruiters are always "seeking," and you want to "hide" right in front of them in such a way as to be easily found.
Here are things you should do to accomplish this goal:
Give your name and email the very top of your Summary. This way, in case you come up as a 3rd Degree masked connection on someone else’s search, they will know who you are and how to reach you.
Use your Summary to convey the content or aspects of your work/profession that get your juices flowing. It’s common to the point of cliché these days to see people lead with, "I’m passionate about…" Nonetheless, it is truly important to show what you really care about. Think of it this way: If you were hiring someone, would you rather give the job to someone who clearly just wants a paycheck, or someone who loves what he or she does, and comes to work each day with a sense of enthusiasm?
Include dates for your jobs. Don’t just cut and paste your resume. While a strong resume bullet will include a Challenge you faced, the Action you took, and the Results (CAR) you achieved, a simple bulleted list of solid accomplishments works better on LinkedIn. Be specific! Wherever possible, quantify your results with numbers, percentages, and some context for them. Define yourself by the difference you have made to your employers. Highlight ways you have saved money, improved productivity, or increased revenue whether directly or indirectly.
Key sections include: Education, Certifications, Languages, and Volunteer Activities. The more you include about yourself, the more ways you can come up in someone’s search.
LinkedIn now allows you to upload into your profile all different file types including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, and pictures. Take advantage of this to show off a portfolio of your accomplishments.
These sections have been widely panned in the past (including by this author). Now, however, they are coming into their own, and are rapidly gaining importance. Recruiters will often find you if you include in the Skills section of your profile the attributes that are key to the job they seek to fill.
You can include up to 50 skills, and if you are having trouble coming up with that many, review the job descriptions for positions you seek to fill. Chances are that many of the keywords used there are skills you can identify as your own.
LinkedIn has groups for just about anything imaginable these days, and you can be a member of 50 groups at any one time. Recruiters are known to lurk in groups. By default (you can change this), any member of any group in which you are part can see your profile and contact you, even if you aren’t linked. Make yourself findable by joining alumni, skill-based, industry-based, geographic-based, and interest groups.
Each group has its own discussion area, and any member can begin and/or participate in discussions. What you post is "searchable," and recruiters will often assume that people talking about the "latest and greatest" in their field, or even sharing articles of interest to the group are the kind of thought leaders and team players that make for attractive candidates.
Be careful not to ask, "Who can help me get a job?" but instead talk about current trends or ask questions that you would ask of a trusted peer in your company or profession.
Job-Hunt's Social Media and Job Search Expert Arnie Fertig, MPA, works with clients throughout the U.S. who are dedicated to their own career advancement on the nuts and bolts of job hunting. He is the Head Coach at www.Jobhuntercoach.com, and contributes weekly to the USNews & World Report "On Careers" Blog. Connect with him on LinkedIn, Twitter: @jobhuntercoach, and Google+ or directly: Fertig [at] jobhuntercoach.com.