LinkedIn is well known as the social platform for professionals, a place where people in the workforce gather to connect, educate, learn, and yes, find jobs or find job candidates.
But how do you use this robust social network to your career advantage? There are many tips and tricks, each of which could easily warrant a full and lengthy article (there are many books on the subject, as you may know).
If you are new to LinkedIn, here are a few tips to get you started. If you’re already a LinkedIn pro, we hope you’ll be reminded to use some of these features you’re already familiar with to help you with your career goals and job search efforts.
Number 1: Connect with people you know. As you build out your career history within LinkedIn, remember the fellow employees you worked with, managers, and key executives who may be a reference for you in the near future, along with relationships with vendors, clients, and business partners. Connections from school can also prove to be vital, including faculty and fellow classmates. If you belong to any professional organizations, those count as well. What about the conferences you’ve attended? Networking meetings? And don’t forget your friends who are themselves professionals.
Bonus Tip: LinkedIn provides a valuable tool to bring all these people into your Connections. It allows you to Import your address book and “add those trusted connections who are already on LinkedIn.” This imports your address book directly from web-based email clients such as Gmail or Yahoo! Mail, or you can use the Outlook address book importer.
Number 2: Keep your profile updated & professional. It’s important to have up to date information on your LinkedIn profile as companies are using this to screen candidates. If you’ve already put a resume together, simply import it into LinkedIn and presto, you’re done (for now…remember as things change, you’ll want to make changes to your profile). LinkedIn will provide reminders of any information that is needed to make your profile 100% completed.
If you’re currently looking for a job, use keywords within your job history information and in your headline that aligns with the position you seek. Example: Software Engineer | Java Specialist | Mobile Developer.
Number 3: Join groups. As with the real world, where numerous professional organizations and collectives exist, they live on LinkedIn as well. Based on your profile, LinkedIn will suggest Groups to join. Due to a change in the LinkedIn platform, many of these Groups are open and do not require an acceptance approval to join. So you can dive right in and see what conversations are taking place, and of course, join in on these conversations.
A great place to start is with your school’s alumni network. The Regis University Alumni Association Group has almost 3700 alums on its LinkedIn group! This is a fantastic way to connect with people you’ve lost touch with, or individuals that work in an organization that you’d like to be involved with.
Number 4: Follow companies. Many organizations have LinkedIn pages for their company, and if you’ve targeted specific companies where you’d like to work, search and connect to them.
While Regis University has a main Linkedin Page, which we encourage you to follow, Regis University College for Professional Studies just launched our own LinkedIn Page. Please follow us as well! Then you’ll also be able to connect with CPS faculty members as well as fellow classmates while getting updates specific to CPS.
Number 5: Demonstrate your Expertise on LinkedIn Answers. We’re snagging this recommendation straight from LinkedIn themselves. One of the key tips LinkedIn provides is a form of putting your money where your mouth is, or in this case, proving what you know to those you can benefit from your knowledge.
“LinkedIn Answers is one of the best places on the web to share business knowledge. You can ask and answer questions on specific subject matter. By demonstrating your expertise on LinkedIn you earn recognition that helps you build your credibility. The more points of expertise you gain, the higher you appear on lists of experts.”
In next month’s LinkedIn Series, we’ll focus on the specific area of “LinkedIn Best Practices for Job Searching.”
If you need a refresher on LinkedIn and other online job search tools, you can set up an appointment with a Career Counselor! Make an appointment online here.