If you aren’t using LinkedIn as part of your job search and career development strategy, now is the time to begin. With nearly 600 million members and 30 million companies in over 200 countries (as of the first quarter of 2018), LinkedIn is the leading social network for hiring by a very wide margin, according to online job search expert Susan P. Joyce (LinkedIn Job Search Guide).
Job seekers are finding great job opportunities on LinkedIn, and some of these opportunities are not available anywhere else (see Find Your Next Job on LinkedIn: Your Community Can Help). Whether it’s a hiring manager who finds your profile, a referral that opens the door to a new company or a LinkedIn connection who paves the way to your next job, the LinkedIn community can provide resources, opportunities and valuable support throughout your job search.
Taking full advantage of LinkedIn features can accelerate your job search. As job search expert Alison Doyle points out (Is LinkedIn Worth It or a Waste of Time?), the first step for many recruiters and hiring managers after receiving a resume or application is to look up the candidate on LinkedIn. Having a LinkedIn profile can provide a fuller picture of your skills and experience and help you stand out from other applicants. Many companies with standardized online applications have added a LinkedIn section near the resume upload tool, allowing you to upload your LinkedIn profile and giving potential hiring managers direct access to both your resume and your LinkedIn profile in one step.
An additional important feature of LinkedIn is that it allows you to research companies, interviewers, recruiters and hiring managers, which can help you uncover valuable information and insights to guide you through the application and interview process. LinkedIn makes it easy to find and follow companies you’d like to work for, which can keep you updated on company news and the latest open positions as they become available.
If you haven’t already done so, the first step in setting up your LinkedIn account is to sign up, which requires your name, email and a password. LinkedIn provides instructions and guidelines on how to build a profile, including the importance of using key words related to your skills and experience so that people can find you when they are searching for the kinds of skills and experience you can offer them. The Tri-Valley Career Center offers a monthly workshop on building your LinkedIn Profile. Check the calendar online at trivalleycareercenter.org. For a complete, step-by-step guide to creating a LinkedIn profile that attracts job offers, see How To Optimize Your LinkedIn Summary & Profile To Get Jobs by resume expert Michael Tomaszewski.
Once you have your profile in place, you’ll want to invite people to join your network. LinkedIn makes it easy to connect with people you know by importing your contact lists from sites such as Gmail. Your connections can exponentially increase your exposure and access to other connections. You can also grow your network by writing messages to your contacts, including requests for recommendations, assistance with your job search and career advice.
Another effective step in connecting with others on LinkedIn is to view other profiles often. Looking at other profiles on a regular basis encourages others to look back at you, which creates an opportunity for you to connect to them. LinkedIn says that 76% of people they surveyed reported that they found ‘who’s viewed your profile’ as the most useful feature on LinkedIn.
Like any other social media platform, the more you interact with LinkedIn, the more it will work for you in return. Almost every recruiter is checking LinkedIn before making a new hire, and millions of professionals are using it to engage. Now is the time to leverage the power of LinkedIn to boost your job search and open the door to more career opportunities.
For additional tips on how to maximize your use of LinkedIn, see How to Use LinkedIn to Get a Job by Ronda Suder.