Are you job seeking, job hunting, searching for jobs? If so, then LinkedIn should be your new best friend. But there is a lot more to using this social media platform than just clicking on the “Jobs” link and searching for work in your desired field and location.
What does “early” look like. Let me put it this way… if you are currently job seeking and unemployed, it’s already too late to start early. If that’s your situation, don’t despair, LinkedIn is still your friend, and we’ll catch up in a couple minutes. Using LinkedIn for job seeking should begin well before you actually need a new job.
For starters it is critically important that your profile is always up to date. Did you get a new position, or job title? Update your profile. Earn a new certificate or complete a work-related course? Update your profile.
Keep your connections current too. Did you meet someone new in the “real world”? Connect to them on LinkedIn. Are you connected to your friends and family? Connect. Colleagues (former and current)? Connect to them too.
Beyond keeping connections current, it’s important to keep current on what your connections are doing. Yes, most of the LinkedIn “anniversary” updates are annoying and useless… read them anyway! Look for opportunities to reconnect with those contacts. Consider these little contacts as part of your personal marketing strategy, just a little light tap or touch to let people know that you’re around and thinking about them. There is definitely no reason to respond or send congrats out for every one of these anniversaries, and announcements, but some are important (starting a new job, or new business, moving to a new city, etc.)
The critically important aspect of connection management on LinkedIn is that LinkedIn is a Social Network, and it isn’t social unless you are networking on it.
Networking for Job Search
Now that your profile is up to date, and your contacts are current, what can you do in the LinkedIn social network to actually find a job?
Use your “Headline” wisely
It’s right under your name on your LinkedIn profile. It’s the first thing people learn about you. Depending on your current situation, you might want to start with letting people know what you’re looking for. If that’s not appropriate (maybe you’re not ready for your current employer to know you’re looking elsewhere), the use this space to say something important about yourself that a potential employer might find attractive. Remember, this is not about stoking your ego, or impressing people with a fancy job title. Your goal is to put something here that a potential employer will find attractive. Let people know what you can do for them.
Your work history is basically a resume
Just like the resumes that you send out, employers and potential employers want to know what you have done and what you can offer. Let them know. The caveat here is you may want to go lighter on specific details than you would on an actual resume. Your goal here is marketing. Make sure employers are interested, AND interested enough to want to learn more about you. You don’t want people to make their hiring decisions based only upon what they see on LinkedIn.
Work your network (part 1)
Here is where the magic of LinkedIn really happens. Spend some time learning about your contacts. Do any of them work for employers that you would like to work for? Reach out to them! Ask them if they know of any positions that might be open, or are about to open up. Ask them who the decision makers are in their workplace. Let them know you would like to work with them. Ask them to let people in their workplace know that they have a friend interested in working there.
Work your network (part 2)
More LinkedIn magic. You can also network with your network’s network. How do you do that? Browse the connections of your own connections. Look for people that work for employers that you find interesting. Look for people who are experts in the field you want to work in. IMPORTANT: tact and tactfulness is required. Avoid being an annoying stranger. Instead, ask your own contacts for an introduction. Once introduced, be tactful again… unless the person you want to connect with and meet has indicated that they are actively seeking a new hire, it’s probably better to arrange for an information meeting. While very few people appreciate feeling ambushed by job seekers, nearly everyone loves the feeling of being respected for their opinions, views, and expertise. Remember; they already know that you are looking for a job, make a good impression, show appreciation for their helpful information, and they will contact you if something becomes available somewhere – at their workplace or at someone else’s.
Ask for Help
Finding a job is hard work. It’s probably the most difficult job that any of us ever has to do. Don’t make it even harder by doing it all alone. This article shares some information about using LinkedIn to help with your job search. When you are a job seeker you should also use other resources – both online and offline.
Online, let your Facebook friends know that you are looking for a job. And while you’re on Facebook take a close look at your privacy settings and at your public posts and images. Make sure you don’t have anything there that a potential employer might find to be a deal-killer! If your profile is really wild, consider making it harder to find.
Offline, let your friends and family know that you are looking for work. Better still, ask some of them to review your resume and cover letters. Ask them to review your LinkedIn account. Be open to suggestions. What I’ve written here will be perfect for most job seekers, most of the time… but it might not be perfect for you.
Lastly, consider getting professional help. I offer my services at a steeply discounted rate, specifically for unemployed job seekers, and in addition to my expertise in using social media, I have a background (education AND experience) in career counselling.
Oh yeah… Don’t forget about that Jobs Link!