Career Search Tips: LinkedIn (from The Appointment)
This article was written for the appointment magazine (April issue).
The effectiveness of social media platforms as a means of finding a new job remains a hot topic of debate. Of the ‘big three’, LinkedIn seems to the most obvious fit for a career search. Certainly if you’re not one of the five million UK users now harnessing the power of this business-focused social network you could be missing out on a valuable addition to your job-seeking arsenal. But how to use it effectively?
Luke Williams, specialist trainer at SocialTech, provides some top tips for growing your network, optimising your profile, some of the general do’s and don’ts for job hunting on LinkedIn and outlines some strategies for finding that new job.
Top profile tips:
[To edit your profile go to ‘Profile’>’Edit profile’ from the menu at the top]
Have a 100% complete profile, including previous jobs and education. LinkedIn will tell you how complete your profile is on the right-hand side of the profile page and advise you which sections need completing.
The usual good CV writing tips apply when listing previous jobs and experience on LinkedIn. What are the things potential employers are looking for on your page?
If the job role you are looking for requires specific industry skills or qualifications re-arrange the order of sections on your LinkedIn page to bring these nearer the top. You can drag and drop sections by clicking and holding on the cross in the top-left of each section.
If you haven’t already, get a good headshot for your LinkedIn page. Try searching for a common name and look at how much the profiles with a picture stand out.
Update your “professional headline” – this is the sentence of text under your name on your profile page and is one of the few things that shows on search results. As standard this shows your current or most recent job title but it can be changed to highlight your position i.e. “Currently seeking a role in ___ in the ___ industry” – choose edit next to your name and the headline section is halfway down the page.
Have an up-to-date phone number on your profile – I’m always amazed at how many people do not have a phone number on their profile. Add your number in the personal information section on your profile page.
Note: your contact details are ONLY visible to your connections and not visible on your public profile.
Update the web address of you public profile to a more professional one. Change the public profile options with the edit link next to the URL (web address) In the public profile settings, update your public profile URL to a more friendly one i.e “linkedin.com/in/lukewilliams”, this makes it easy for you to remember and looks a lot more professional if you use it on a CV or in an email.
Grow your network including university classmates, former colleagues and friends. LinkedIn works best through a larger network. When you do a search for people on LinkedIn it will return results to you from your network, your connections’ network (up to three degrees of separation) and people you share a group with (see groups below). If your network isn’t large enough you won’t find or be found by people that you want to connect to.
When you invite someone to connect, always add a personal note. The standard note is perceived as rude by some and it is better to include a reminder of how you know that person or a friendly note that you are growing your network on LinkedIn with the goal of finding a new job.
Three quick tips for growing your network:
- Import your email address list – LinkedIn will look for matches from your address book to emails used on LinkedIn. Select contacts/add connections from the main menu and follow the steps to sign in and connect to your hotmail, gmail or other web based email client. (You can also import an address book file from email programs like Microsoft Outlook using the ‘import your desktop email contacts’ link slightly lower down on the page.)
- Post your public profile URL onto other sites like Facebook and invite people you know to connect.
- Browse the “People you may know” section in the top-right of the home page. This list is based on mutual connections, or groups you share with others. It becomes more accurate once you have a more complete profile.
Please note: It is a policy of LinkedIn (that you have agreed to when you signed up) that you only connect to people you know – you should ask for introductions or use the InMail feature to contact people you don’t know (InMail is available with a job seeker premium account).
Finding jobs on LinkedIn:
Create and save advanced job searches. Select jobs from the main menu and then the advanced search tab near the top. Customise the search using keywords and the tick boxes. Once you’ve done the search you will see a ‘save search’ button in the top-right; this will also offer to send you email alerts for new jobs that match your criteria daily, weekly or never if you wish to just check jobs online.
Improve your chances of finding work by getting involved and joining groups on LinkedIn – look for your university or college alumni, industry groups and professional bodies (IOD, CIMA, CIPR etc.). Answer questions within the groups to demonstrate your expertise. Some groups will also contain job listings.
Identify and follow companies for which you would like to work. If there are specific companies you would like to work for change the option next to the search box in the top-right to companies and search for the name of your target company. Once you are on the company page you will see a ‘follow’ button in the top-right hand corner. You will then be notified of any new jobs posted by this company. Some organisations monitor who is following them and, if (as above) your headline reflects that you are looking for work, they may well contact you despite having no jobs listed if they are looking for someone with your skills and experience.
If someone in your network is connected to a person who works at the chosen organisation it will show you how you are connected to this person on this page. You can ask for an introduction by clicking on that person’s picture and selecting get introduced through a connection on the right hand side of their profile page.
I really hope you found this article helpful, there are so many ways to use LinkedIn to find work and I’d love to hear any of your suggestions in the comments below.