It hurts my heart when job seekers tell me they’ve been told that LinkedIn will be the reason for their success in finding a job. It’s great they’re using LinkedIn as part of their job search, but to believe that LinkedIn will the golden ticket to their success is false thinking. They need to combine it with face-to-face networking and other job-search methods.
This said, If you’re going to use LinkedIn in your job search, you have to put your all into it. So what does it look like to work your arse off on LinkedIn, to take full advantage of what it offers?
1. Create a full profile
- The first area where you band yourself is a background image, not merely the default, light blue background LinkedIn provides.
- A professional photo that best reflects your industry. If you’re customer facing, you’ll dress to the nines. An engineer, most likely business casual is fine.
- A branding headline that tells more than your occupation. It also shows the value you can bring to an employer. Think of your areas of expertise, as well as your occupation.
- A creative and somewhat lengthier Summary. (Some say it should be short. Let’s agree to disagree.) Your Summary should demonstrate the value you will bring to employers from the get go. To understand what I mean, read Create a kick-ass Summary with these four components.
- An Experience section that focuses on accomplishments more than basic duties. The mundane duties might be on your résumé. You want to highlight the great things you did.
- An Education section that goes beyond the name of the institution; degree; major; and, perhaps honorary designation. Take advantage of an area where you can show personality, describing what was going on in your life at the time.
- Skills and endorsements. The skills you list–you can list up to 50–count toward the keywords by which people search for you.
- Speaking of Keywords that will help you get found. After optimizing her profile, a former client said she went from close to 100 in rankings to 13.
2. Demonstrate commitment
Spend at least four times a week on LinkedIn. For the diligent job seekers, every day of the week should be the norm. Spend at least 20 minutes a day on the platform. LinkedIn never sleeps; it’s 24×7. But don’t overdue it. You don’t want to be un-followed.
3. Frequent updates
Update at least once a day. Occasionally you can explain your situation but not every day. Your updates can also include industry news, questions you have, sharing articles and media, tips or advice, and more. Updates keep you top of mind. If you’re really adventurous, you can consider posting short videos (only from the LinkedIn app).
4. Develop a quality network
What I call phase two of a successful LinkedIn campaign is accumulating quality connections, totaling at least 250 over a two-month period. Twenty connections will not impress anyone. You’ll be seen as timid and afraid to develop relationships. As well, your search engine optimization (SEO) will suffer, unless your a taxidermist.
5. Skill & Endorsements
Playing the Skills and Endorsement game, where you can list as many as 50 skills and be endorsed for those skills. All one needs to do is click on any of your skills to endorse you. It’s not necessary for them to witness you demonstrating your skills; although, LinkedIn now asks about your level of expertise and how the person knows you. Can you tell I’m not a big fan of this feature?
A certain number of recommendations were once necessary for All Star status, but this sections was taken over by Skills & Endorsements. I’ve been vocal about my displeasure at how Recommendations are disrespected. Request recommendations from former employers who are your 1st degree connections.
Use one of LinkedIn’s best features, Companies, to locate key players in your job search—the better to get your résumés in the hiring managers hands. Before you connect with someone, ask for an introduction from one of your shared connections. Or mention your shared connection in a cold connection request. Read 5 steps to connecting with LinkedIn members.
Use LinkedIn’s Jobs feature which has been enhanced to include demographic information, including other positions viewed by job seekers, who you know at the company, the ability to apply to the company on its website or through Easy Apply. For Premium members there are additional features that give you access to big players and provide you with demographics.
9. Engage on LinkedIn but be professional
This is a very important part of you LinkedIn campaign, so work hard on it. But, keep your engagement on LinkedIn professional. If you are more of a Facebook fan, refrain from posting family photos, video of the presidential primaries, and no mention of your frustration in your job search. Be relevant.
10. Use LinkedIn after you land your next job
There’s one more thing to consider. Once you’ve created a great LinkedIn profile, have established a presence, and are active on LinkedIn leading to a job; don’t give up your activity on LinkedIn. You may need your network in the future. This time instead of having four measly connections, you’ll have hundreds.
Do you get the sense that LinkedIn will require hard work and may not yield immediate results? Good. Do you also feel that joining LinkedIn on the bottom floor will be to your benefit, as opposed to giving up on it? Good.
Photo: Flickr, João Guilherme de Carvalho Barbosa
LinkedIn is more for career development or professional networking. Finding a job is its byproduct. The problem is that when you are out of work you are in crisis morde and cannot appreciate the larger picture.
If you get involved in LI, then get a job and ignore it until you are laidoff or want a new promotion, you do not understand the power of LI.
I agree that LI is for business networking and career management. Starting to use it when you’re out of work is not as effective as when you are working. Thanks
Yes, often people forego their Experience section, while spending all their energy on their Summary. You must have both sections completed. Thanks, C.M.V.
I like the bullet-ed item referencing Experience. Thank you.
Great post again Bob! @suddethandpets I couldn’t agree with you more. LinkedIn is not just a job search tool, and it is not an online resume. It is a career management tool that helps you cultivate your network, build and expand your subject matter expertise and if used properly will positively impact your job performance in what ever position you have.
For those in transition, if used properly it is a component that will positively impact their job search, but as you say, it can not stop there.
Linkedin is a great resource for research companies and learning about the people who work there. It also is a great way to tell stories about yourself that won’t fit on your resume. Have you been featured in a magazine or newspaper? Upload it to your profile. Do you have a great SlideShare presentation on your subject area? Put it there. Wouldn’t it be great if you could bring one of your most satisfied clients to an interview? Have them write a recommendation for you.
I actually found my most recent job through a posting on Linkedin! So, Yay Linkedin!
Of course Linkedin was not the ONLY source I used. I’ve also been on there for years and have a full profile. Yes, it can be a good place to look, but as with any of the job boards don’t depend solely on them.
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As a career coach colleague of yours, I appreciate your honest and direct advice in this column. Many clients come to me, thinking that once their profile is “all star” status, they are finished with linked in and the interviews and offers will roll in. Quite the contrary, linked in requires work but efforts really pay off.
Nurture your network, post articles and engage with influential people – it is all there!
Regards to all job searchers.
Thanks for the comment, Patricia. What’s almost as discouraging is seeing people get a job and then immediately abandon LinkedIn. Some people treat it like a doctor; they only go to one when they’re sick (need a job).
I think this is great advice that should be given to every new user from the onset. When I started with LI, I had no idea what it was, except to stay connected with former co-workers on a more professional level.
This is a great article. I am new to LinkedIn and have been a skeptic for a while now. I am seeing that this can be a great networking tool when you have a job and than very helpful when you are looking for a job.