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How to use LinkedIn to get a job

Posted by on Aug 7, 2012 in Compensation, HR Issues, Moneyville | 0 comments

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August 07, 2012

The LinkedIn logo is displayed in the foyer at headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.
The LinkedIn logo is displayed in the foyer at headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. Paul Sakuma/AP

 I signed up for LinkedIn several years ago, but it wasn’t until I left a contract position in mid-2010 and was looking for business opportunities that I realized how valuable it is.

First of all, there have been many mergers and a great deal of movement in the pension and benefits industry and by linking to former co-workers, clients and mentors I could easily track where people have landed. But even more important, once I beefed up my profile and indicated I was open to career and consulting opportunities, I was contacted about several very interesting projects.

You can use the basic LinkedIn service for free which allows you to see only the profiles of the people you are linked to. However, Business Plus subscribers (CDN $40.95/month on an annual basis) can get the full list of people who have viewed their profile; contact up to 10 people/month directly with InMail; see expanded profiles of everyone on LinkedIn; and, zero in on profiles with premium search filters.

Therefore if you are not on LinkedIn or if you have an incomplete or poorly thought out LinkedIn profile, you may be passed over for by recruiters with lucrative job opportunities.

As recruiters Martyn Bassett Associates Inc point out in a recent blog , for many people LinkedIn is an online resume more than a social network, which is why it’s so surprising that those same people frequently have terrible LinkedIn profiles.

Related: 7 ways to clean up your social media profile

Whether it’s incomplete work histories, a complete lack of job descriptions or the absence of a picture, they fail to present themselves well in the one arena every modern employer is almost guaranteed to check. Even if you never post a status update, apply the same rules to your profile that you apply to your resume.

If a former position is worth noting, it’s worth briefly explaining.

  • Not all positions are worth mentioning. Your profile should reflect your current career, not the two years you owned an ostrich ranch.
  • Post a picture. This is the only rule that’s reversed from an old-school resume.

Other hints from the Martyn Bassett team of recruiters include:

Skills show up in search: A resume is a place to show off your skills, but you can do more than just include them in your job description with LinkedIn. Under the skills and expertise section  you can tag your account with keywords and skills related to your industry. These are tags that help you show up in search results so, if a recruiter is looking for software sales Toronto, having software and sales is a good first step to getting noticed.

There are a lot of different tags you can apply to your profile, so don’t be afraid of a little overlap. Marketing and web marketing” are going to attract different audiences and the more specific you can be, the better.

Request recommendations: Nothing will replace a reference check, but a recommendation is a good way to establish that everything on your profile isn’t a complete fabrication. If you work directly with clients, they may voluntarily recommend the work you’ve done but in any other situation you’ll probably have to ask. When you do, try to get someone senior to vouch for you. It carries more weight than swapping recommendations with the guy in the next cubicle.

Be there or beware: LinkedIn is the go-to resource for recruiters in technology, finance, manufacturing and a host of other sectors. If, for whatever reason, you’ve decided to avoid it, there are still ways you can come across the desk of recruiters, (recommendations, direct applications, etc.). But they might not even bother if someone else’s well-manicured LinkedIn profile provided everything they need before they had to ask for it.

Related: 7 ways social media canhelp a job search

For the most part LinkedIn is a “set it and forget it” social network, which is good for people who might not be social media savvy. However, I share all the stories I publish on LinkedIn with my 421 connections and the thousands of other people in my network.

If “out of sight, is out of mind” taking advantage of LinkedIn is an easy way to remind the people that matter of what I do when they are looking for a writer specializing in workplace issues. It can also be your ticket in the lottery for a new or better paying job.

Related: How to use social media to find a job

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