By Jordie Kern @JordieKern
If you’re going to use just one social networking site for your job search, it should be LinkedIn. Understanding this amazing networking tool, and utilizing it to your advantage, is crucial in today’s job market. It’s the most effective way to get your information out there, build a massive network, and connect with hiring managers, human resource directors, and recruiters.
Here are seven tips to help you get the most out of LinkedIn.
1. Go for quality not quantity.
Don’t pile on the connections just to impress people. I’d rather you have 75 great connections of people who know you well, then 250 connections of random people you never communicate with. Connect with classmates from college and high school, relatives, past coworkers from internships, and family friends. Never connect to strangers…it’s a waste of time.
2. Write custom invitations.
When recruiting connections, always write a personal note. It’ll get you noticed. Don’t use LinkedIn’s standard, canned message. Remind the person who you are and where you met in your invitation. This personal touch will be especially useful when connecting with 2nd and 3rd degree connections who might not already know you.
3. Complete your profile
Your profile should be 100% complete. Write a great title and summary that describes what makes you unique. Use a smiling headshot in business attire. Load your resume and identify skills you possess. Make sure your contact information is public so it’s easy for a recruiter to find you. And no typos or grammatical mistakes!
4. Load it with keywords
Employers often recruit new talent by using powerful software programs to quickly search thousands LinkedIn profiles. For that reason, it’s crucial you make page search-friendly and loaded with industry specific keywords. A good way to do this is to read job postings for the exact position you want. Then edit your profile so it includes all the common phrases or buzz words.
5. Get recommendations
Obtain as many endorsements as you can from former bosses, colleagues, professors, and friends. People you have worked with you at previous internships or jobs carry the most weight. Think of it like a product review on Amazon.com. It always helps an employer to see someone else’s perception of you.
6. Join groups
There are dozens of groups you can join in every conceivable industry. Hook up with the most popular ones based on the number of members. Don’t overdo it…three to five groups will do.
7. Participate in discussions
Make an effort — at least once a week — to join group discussions that interest you. Ask questions that can help you learn more about your target field and maybe even give you an inside track to an opportunity. It’s important to be visible…you never know who is watching!
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