While researching some current information for my social media workshop, I found some interesting information relating to how employers and recruiters are using social media these days, particularly LinkedIn. Did you know:
- Of employers sampled in a 2011 survey, 9 out of 10 employers recruited or planned to recruit using social networks last year?
- Almost half of responding employers always search online profiles of the candidates they consider?
- Nearly 87% of responding employers indicate they use LinkedIn for recruiting?
- Of these employers, NEARLY ALL (95%) that they have successfully hired through LinkedIn?
And yet, I meet with jobseekers nearly every day who say they have a profile on LinkedIn but they don’t feel it has helped them. I wonder if they know how much they can do with their profile!
What Are You Doing For Your Profile?
I think I’ve said it before but I liken social networking to a real life event such as a job fair.
Imagine you walked in to a large convention center. You are in a very large room, full of people. Some employers have kiosks scattered around the room, and as usually happens, people are milling around and naturally congregating into groups here and there, discussing common interests or topics. If all you do is walk around the room, see some of what is going on, maybe fill out an application with a couple of employers, and then leave, you’re not getting the full benefit of the event. You need to talk to employers—not just to ask for jobs, but to get to know them and let them get to know you—so that even if they’re not hiring people in your field right now, when they are hiring, they’ll think of you.
You also need to talk to other individuals. They could be beneficial to expanding your network and making connections. The more you talk to others and share your expertise, the more you’re taken seriously. And one of those people might just have some info about your next job.
If, however, all your LinkedIn profile does is put your resume online and connect with a couple of friends or coworkers, it is doing little more than walking around the conference room. Your profile, like your job search, has to be active.
Here are some ways to maximize your success using LinkedIn.
1. 100% completion
The nice thing about LinkedIn is that it is user friendly. When I first signed up, I had no idea what I was doing—but LinkedIn showed me what I needed to complete my profile.
As you do so, try to make it as detailed as you can, including work experience, education, relevant associations, skills, etc. Recruiters and hiring professionals used LinkedIn for candidate searching and they do it by key words. Make sure you use buzz words and industry jargon as much as possible. If unsure what language to use, find job announcements in your field and make note of their language. You might also check out your O*O*Net occupation description at www.onetonline.org for ideas.
2. Write and receive recommendations
When employers search for candidates, they naturally want the person who comes highly recommended. One of the most powerful pieces of your LinkedIn profile is what others—colleagues, customers, supervisors, etc—have to say about you. The best way to get recommendations from others is, of course, to recommend them first.
3. Answer questions on LinkedIn Answers
There is a function in LinkedIn called Q&A or LinkedIn Answers. You find it under the “more” tab at the top of your LinkedIn page, and you can ask questions or browse and find questions to answer by industry in the Browse section. LinkedIn also recommends categories for you to browse based on the information you’ve provided in your profile. Making use of this function can help you find answers to questions you need, and establish you as a subject matter expert as you show your knowledge and experience in action. Anything that draws attention to you and your LinkedIn profile is a good thing.
4. Follow companies and employees
It is often said that the most successful job search strategy is not to search for jobs, but search for people. Knowing the employers that hire people in your occupation, and following those employers, can be helpful if you follow up. Once you have found a company you’d like to work for, find and follow that company on LinkedIn. On their company page you can research information about their company including its mission, recent activity, and who in your network works for them. Perhaps you see the name of a 2nd degree connection who is a recruiter for that company. You can connect with that person through your shared connection and expand your network.
5. Join groups
Referring back to my job fair analogy, you meet few if any people by just walking around the room.
LinkedIn Groups allow you to network with other people who have something in common with you—it could be a common industry, college alumni organization or shared interests. In these groups you can quickly discover the most popular discussions in your professional groups and draw attention to yourself and your profile by starting, participating in and liking discussions. You can also use these groups to expand your network and ask questions and advice of their members.
It helps to put a face to a name. Having a good photo of yourself on your profile can make it more personalized. Many people find it far easier to remember a face than a name, and to put both together makes your profile far more memorable. Be careful about the choice of photo, however: I see photos that show people from a distance, or with other people, or that might not even show the person’s face at all. Use one that clearly shows your face— SMILING!
7. Personalize URL
By default, when you create a profile on LinkedIn, you are assigned a sub-domain of letters and numbers that make no sense (such as www.linkedin.com/7bb1024). If you really want to get your name out in the virtual world, change your public profile URL from the Settings page to something more relevant to you. Then it will appear more like http://www.linkedin.com/in/kimberlyjmyers. In doing this, it will be open to search engines like Google and Bing.
8. Check out jobs section
Employers are increasingly using LinkedIn to post jobs; some employers even use LinkedIn exclusively to recruit. You can search for jobs on the site, but LinkedIn will suggest jobs that may suit you according to your profile information. Depending on the preferences the company uses, the posting will either redirect you to its corporate website to apply, or you can upload a resume and submit your profile directly to the company through LinkedIn.
9. Frequent updates
LinkedIn, like every other social network, has status updates feature. Keep your connections up to date with your current work, skills building, or information sharing. Again, activity keeps your profile in the public eye. It also shows your enthusiasm and determination.
10. Link other profiles
When employers are researching you, the more information, the better. Making your online information as user friendly as possible helps recruiters and employers see all you have to show quickly and easily. You can connect to personal or company websites, RSS feeds, blogs, Twitter accounts, and other sites.
- Proof LinkedIn Helps You Find a New Job (corbusllc.wordpress.com)
- How to Find a Job on LinkedIn (sproutsocial.com)
- 5 Essential Tips For Using LinkedIn to Land A Job (willtravelforwork.com)