How to Use LinkedIn to Get a Job

If you’re not on LinkedIn, you’re committing career suicide!

© Jakub Jirsák - Fotolia.com
© Jakub Jirsák – Fotolia.com

That is a message I share often with clients and others in my network. Key decision makers, be they HR professionals or executive recruiters, will tell you that if they don’t find you on LinkedIn, it raises a lot of scepticism of what you might be hiding.

LinkedIn is primarily a business networking tool, which can also deliver huge value to your career management and advancement, especially when you remember that close to 80% of jobs here in Canada are found through networking.

Active engagement on this platform is a must, even when you are employed. It allows you to connect with a huge number of people (more than 300 million and counting) in your defined area, and network with them to uncover ideas and job opportunities.

For those in career transition and active job search, I recommend a targeted approach. Make a list of the top 30 employers you want to work for, along with the reasons why. Do you like the company’s products or services, or their corporate culture? Are they on the rise, maybe even heading towards their IPO (initial public offering on the stock market)?

After you’ve done this preliminary research, use LinkedIn’s tools to open up a dialogue with those who would be key decision makers in your career advancement, i.e., your boss and your boss’s boss. You should also be marketing yourself to people who’ve left the company. Those who have no allegiance can give you all the dirt.

When you have these insider insights into what’s going on, and how you can resolve these issues, you have a business case to put forward to a decision maker. The more you know about the organization, and the more you can articulate how you will fit in and help them with their goals, the more successful you will be.

LinkedIn groups

If you’re serious about finding a job on LinkedIn, you should be joining groups. There are more than 1.5 million groups and you can join up to 50 of them, so choose wisely to get the best return on your efforts. There may be thousands of project management groups, for example, but if you’re looking for an appointment in the industrial or manufacturing sectors, you won’t want to be networking with project managers in banking.

Once you’ve settled on the right groups, introduce yourself and participate in the discussions. When you have a sense of the group culture and what topics get people talking, introduce your own discussions.

When you share a link to your own blog post, or something you’ve found at another reputable site, ask a thought-provoking question that evokes a conversation. For more tips, see Using LinkedIn Groups to Their Maximum.

Your LinkedIn job page

LinkedIn has a robust set of customizable job search tools, and you can even receive notifications when new jobs are posted that fit your criteria. When you do discover an opportunity, start researching that company and networking with its key players as I suggested above.

Be discovered, be chosen

If you want your profile to be found when someone is searching for talent in your particular area of expertise, your profile must contain the keywords they’re using (download my free guide to resume keywords).

Here are five ways to make the best impression on someone who has found you via a search:

  1. Complete all sections of your profile, including a detailed account of your skills, experience and goals.
  2. Include a professional photo (head shot).
  3. Add your phone number and email address to the Contact Info section, AND to the Summary section of your profile, so it’s easy for someone to reach you immediately.
  4. Customize the address (URL) of your LinkedIn profile page (here’s how).
  5. Request and post a minimum of three recommendations on your profile.

Being on LinkedIn is a start, but opening an account isn’t enough. Networking, job search and career management on LinkedIn takes steady effort – and can yield big rewards.

P.S. Prefer to do your job searching in 140 characters or less? Check out How to Use Twitter to Get a Job.

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