The good news for job seekers, or those starting to think about their next career move, is that if you take your profile on LinkedIn seriously, then it could be the tool that helps you find your next job!
Please find below my suggestions for how to use LinkedIn to help you secure your next job opportunity.
Present the Best Version of You on LinkedIn
To understand how to update your profile to present the best version of you, let’s first consider the role LinkedIn plays in a job search.
Job Seeker Question: Is my LinkedIn Profile like a resume?
My Answer: Not really.
Job Seeker Question: How is my LinkedIn Profile different from a resume?
My Answer: It’s less formal, written in the first person and gives people a chance to get a sense of the whole professional you and what other’s say about you.
The most important things your LinkedIn Profile needs to have include:
1. A Professional Photo
This can be taken by a photographer, which is my preference, and must show you in professional attire. Please avoid pictures with others, pictures of you on holidays or at a recent wedding. For some inspiration please visit Think Bespoke’s Pinterest Board where I showcase a variety of creative examples from a wide cross-section of industries.
2. Your information must be relevant to your ideal employer and optimised so you will get found on LinkedIn.
Before updating this key part of your LinkedIn Profile consider ‘What do I want to be known for?” and “Who am I trying to influence?”. Forgot about your friends and colleagues and focus on future employers, recruiters and hiring managers.
The first 1-2 lines are the most important as they are what people see first and will encourage them to click through and read on. You need to provide a LinkedIn Summary that is personable and speaks directly to the reader. It should clearly represent your style and philosophy and state who you are, what you do, and suggest a call to action as a result of people reading it.
This section has two roles.
The first is search optimisation (so you can be found more easily on LinkedIn and the internet generally) and the second is the provision of evidence that you can do what you say you can in the summary. For your ideal employer you need to be able to clearly articulate the problems you solve and demonstrate key achievements in this area via your experience and key achievement statements.
Briefly describe your accountabilities and then focus on what you have achieved in that role. Provide as much relevant evidence of your achievements as possible, with clear metrics (e.g. percentage increases in business growth, if you’re in a business development role). Also use words such as ‘Successfully” and “Consistently” to communicate a more compelling achievement.
The best LinkedIn recommendations are ones that offer specific results or examples. They are just like a written reference and can be a very powerful way to reinforce that you are the professional who potential employers need to meet.
Please see my LinkedIn Profile to help understand this better. au.linkedin.com/in/karenhollenbach
Research Your Opportunities
LinkedIn is an amazing resource for researching individuals, prospective employers and industry information. When you have developed a profile of the type of organisation you want to work for or a list of target companies, you can use LinkedIn to find a great deal of useful information. You can use the Advanced Search feature to look for people by name, location, keyword, title, school and company.
You can also search for Jobs by company, keyword, title, location and other criteria. The Advanced Search feature even enables you to save search parameters such that you can easily revisit your favourite searches. You can also save up to 3 searches if you have a free LinkedIn account and choose to receive weekly or monthly notifications showing you a list of new people or jobs fitting your search criteria.
While in research mode, you have the option to browse LinkedIn Profiles anonymously so that your connections or the LinkedIn profiles you are viewing can not see that you are viewing their profile. While they will be notified someone is looking at their profile, if you change your settings to be completely anonymous when viewing other people’s profiles, then they will not be able to identify you. Read this blog post where I show you how to browse LinkedIn profiles anonymously.
In preparation for a job interview, it is essential that you research the organisation and the people you are meeting with, and LinkedIn is a great resource to help you do this.
Let Recruiters Know You are Open
Open Candidates is a feature that makes it easier to connect with your dream job by privately signalling to recruiters that you’re open to new job opportunities. You can specify the types of companies and roles you are most interested in and be easily found by the hundreds of thousands of recruiters who use LinkedIn to find great professional talent. Learn more here about this feature.