LinkedIn is the gold standard for business social networking these days.
LinkedIn has made it easier to connect and build relationships with people you meet, giving you advantages in job search and career growth. It is not a perfect medium, but it is the best we have right now.
This is particularly important for job seekers since networking is a more successful method of finding a job than submitting resumes to job postings. A strong optimized LinkedIn profile can tip the scales in favor of one candidate over another. Why miss out?
Here are five ways you can use LinkedIn for job search:
- Establish a personal brand. Your personal brand are those characteristics and accomplishments that make you different from other people who do the same thing. Your LinkedIn profile is the perfect platform to distinguish yourself. You can put your personal brand in pictures, descriptions and content that illustrate how you are different. Without LinkedIn, you must rely on submitting your resume to job postings, a job search strategy that does not work in your favor.
- Research companies & people. The key to a solid job search marketing plan is identifying target companies. You can research those target companies by exploring the company pages. Most companies have a company page where they share ideas, propaganda, and news. By clicking on the “See all XXX employees on LinkedIn” clickable link, you can use the advanced search functions to find people who might be your boss or colleagues. You can learn a lot about a company and their people from this resource.
- Connect with people. Making social connections is at the heart of social media. LinkedIn encourages you to add more connections and talk to them regularly. Expanding your network makes you more visible and opens you up to opportunities you never would have imagined. Set goals for yourself to add a certain amount of connections each week and month. My goal is to add 50 connections per month, or 600 per year. That goal keeps me active and provides a steady flow of new ideas and opportunities.
- Become a thought leader. You enhance your reputation and visibility by sharing content on your profile. Posts and articles you write or record on video, and the content you find, are shared with all your connections in the daily feed. This is a chance to remind people you still exist. SlideShare provides a platform for you to share PowerPoint presentations you create in PDF. All this keyword rich content is attached to your profile, making you more findable.
- Learn & grow. Professional development keeps us fresh and relevant. LinkedIn offers formal learning through its LinkedIn Learning platform, available with the Premium membership. I use that service to research topics and prepare presentations by simply entering the topic in the upper left search box and exploring the resources that appear in the results. You can also find and connect with experts who attach interesting books and articles to their profiles. LinkedIn Groups offers information sharing in specialty areas. LinkedIn also offers certifications after you take online courses. I saw a job seeker’s profile recently where he had taken 20+ LinkedIn courses, receiving as many certification badges that add to his credibility. This is particularly important in high tech professions.