Just in case you have been living under a rock for past few years, let me tell you briefly what LinkedIn is and why it is fast becoming a must have piece of weaponry in anyone’s arsenal who is looking to land a new, improved job. With over 135 million members and with on average two new members joining every second – that is an nearly 90 000 new members every day – LinkedIn is by far the most important tool that you can have at your disposal in terms of professional networking and job searching.
Why is it so important, I hear you ask? Simply put because recruiters and hiring managers are relying increasingly on LinkedIn to scout for potential new employees. Businesses and companies all around the world see the benefit of LinkedIn, understand its usefulness, and use it to its fullness.
But it is so much more than just a place to advertise your skillset. Professionals at all levels – whether it be entry level, middle management, or the top brass – use this tool for networking, keeping in touch with current and former colleagues, and engaging with a broader range of people.
I am a current member of LinkedIn and have taken the time out of my workday to write this review about the benefits of LinkedIn and how you can use it to its maximum benefit. I hope that you find it informative.
1) Your profile is absolute key
I cannot stress this enough. A well thought out, professional profile is essential if you want to do well on LinkedIn. This is what potential employer will see firstly and most often so make sure that you have a professional picture and headline. Think of your profile as your digital first impression – make a good one and then go from there.
2) Use recommendations
Recruiters and hiring managers are attracted to recommendations on your profile and most definitely take the time to read them, so make sure that they are genuine and worthwhile. Recommendations are not the most vital part your chances to snag a new job, this is true, but if done correctly they can be another benefit that increases your chances.
3) Us your profile to show off the stuff that cannot be fitted on your résumé
Make sure that you fill out all the fields that are available when you set up a new account on LinkedIn. Also fell free to upload anything else that shows everyone what your capabilities and skills are – like YouTube videos, images, PDFs, Microsoft Word documents and so on. Remember, the more info and resources that you give then the better you will look.
4) Check out the jobs section
LinkedIn does actually have a dedicated jobs section. Employers post vacancies in the hope that a savvy jobseeker like you will come across them and turn out to be the ideal candidate. Click on the Jobs tab at the top of the homepage and you’ll be taken to a keyword search box as well as a list of suggested vacancies based on what your profile says.
5) Join Groups
It is not rocket science – you will get more traffic to your profile if people know you exist. One of the best ways to maintain a visible presence on LinkedIn is to join groups and take part in their discussions. If you join several groups in your chosen career field, chances are you will keep coming across a few people who are also in all those groups. People build up a rapport by contributing to one another’s discussions in their shared groups. You can even start discussions asking for advice related to your job search, such as recommendations for good vocational courses.
6) When you are happy with you profile, plan your next move carefully
By this I mean plan how you want to connect with others. It is not very productive to just aimlessly connect with everyone and anyone that you come across. Make sure that you are connecting with people that are serious about using LinkedIn and who can help you in your own chosen field.
7) Stay active on LinkedIn
This is vital as staying active will mean that you are constantly updating your profile, making new connections that could benefit you, and, most importantly, keeping up to date and in contact with any potential employers. It would be a terrible shame to check your account after a week of inactivity only to see that someone had contacted you five days previous about a new job! Of course, nowadays you can organise that you will get notifications straight to you phone so be sure to apply these in the settings.
8) Send messages
The ability to send messages on LinkedIn is one of its best features. Many LinkedIn Members don’t have their email addresses on their public profile, so unless you know someone personally anyway, you have no way to contact them privately other than through the Messages function. This is a rookie mistake in my opinion. Whether you message Connections to ask outright if they know of any job openings, to tap them for information on their organisation, or to arrange a voluntary/shadow placement, do it in the right way. Be clear about why you’re contacting them and what you’re asking for. Ask them if there’s anything they need help with.
9) Be an active member of the Q & A
Another function that helps you meet people and turn them into Connections is the Q&A. With this feature you are able to ask the whole LinkedIn community questions on almost anything, provided the topic loosely fits in with one of the designated categories. Again, asking questions is useful for getting information and advice on a particular job role, organisation or industry. It’s not the quantity of answers that you get but the quality. I’ve asked questions and only gotten one answer, but because that answer was useful to me, I went away happy. Just as important is answering questions. It’s another way of drawing people’s attention to you and your profile. And if you answer questions on your chosen specialties, potential employers get to see your knowledge and experience in action.
10) Share updates
A lot of people dread status updates from other people as they can clog up their feeds with mostly useful info. Don’t be one of these people! Instead, post updates that are beneficial to what you are trying to achieve on LinkedIn. By this, I mean keeping your Connections up to date with your voluntary work, skills building or networking activities. This lets employers know that you’re being active and creative in your job search as it shows them your enthusiasm and commitment in targeting the right role.
11) Explore the other applications that are available
In order to take advantage of the other apps that are available through your LinkedIn membership, you will have to access the Applications Directory in the menu and you will see that you can connect your blog and Twitter updates to LinkedIn; share a personalised Amazon reading list, content and presentations; create polls, and a few other great resources. All of these apps are ways to inform people about yourself and to gather information for your job search.
12) Make use of the events that you can go to
Social networking is super useful, there is no doubting this fact, but that doesn’t mean that you have to negate the benefits of offline networking. A great feature of LinkedIn is that it will actively help you find events that are suited to your chosen profession. As with all the options available in LinkedIn, these events are easy to find.
My final word
LinkedIn is a super way to help promote yourself in the occupational world. I should know, my current job was achieved via LinkedIn! I know all too well how hard and frustrating it can be to find a new job, so this tool can really save you a lot of heartbreak.
Another great benefit of LinkedIn which I touched on in the final point is the easy to use interface. Everything is laid out for you in a simplistic manner that makes using LinkedIn as easy as possible.
Thank you for reading my review and I wish you all the best in your job hunt.