How To Use LinkedIn Effectively to Find a Job or Network

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linkedin_PDM
By Taylor Chrisman

In this day and age, social media platforms are all the craze. Most of the time, social media platforms can be seen as personal outlets that we don’t necessarily want our bosses to be seeing. Then LinkedIn was born. LinkedIn was created as an online resume to “manage your professional identity and build and engage with your professional network.” For the five best ways to use and promote your personal brand on LinkedIn like a pro, read below!

Build Your “Connections”

On your profile, on the right-hand side of your “information box” (the area it says your name and info) it says the number of connections you have. From 0-499 connections, it will say the exact number but if you have 500 or more, your profile will say “500+.” This “500+” number has become a status in a way. If you have 500 or more connections, you are seen as legitimate and that you have invested time into your LinkedIn, therefore you’re serious about your profession. But don’t worry if you haven’t hit that 500+ professional network number yet!

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Here are a couple tips to get to that magical number. Think about your networks: family, friends, old jobs, current jobs, hairstylist etc. Connect with anyone you know. You will be surprised how easy it will be to reach 500+ connections

Organize Your Profile

One of the most important things to consider is a professional profile picture. Also, just like your resume, organize your LinkedIn profile for someone to easily read. Recruiters look at hundreds of profiles a day. If you have paragraphs on paragraphs explaining your work experience, they will simply scroll down and you will have missed your opportunity to impress. Bullet points out the key takeaways in each job: what you did, how you did it and what were the results.

Remember to be as descriptive as possible and use words that will be found in LinkedIn’s search engine. Look at other professional’s profile in your field and get a feel for the type of language that they use to describe the type of business you’re in. Recruiters will be searching for like-minded people that have specific qualifications for the position they’re looking to fill.

What To Put In Your Summary

Everyone has their own way of writing LinkedIn summaries depending on the industry they work in or wish to work in and what they view as important. Here are some ideas that might be the perfect fit for you to align with what you want to do professionally.

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  • Professional Introduction (most popular): Tells other users who you are and what you’re doing. This could be what you are currently doing or what you hope to be doing sometime in the near future. For example: “I am eager to find a full-time position in Marketing by December 2016.” Users also like to include three attributes about themselves (which are basically your biggest strengths). Make sure that these relate back to your field and that they are measurable.
  • Creative Introduction: This will help you stand out from the usual LinkedIn crowd – in a good way! Consider adding in your favorite Ted Talk, insert a link to any published work, or use an inspiring quote that truly shows off your personality.

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On A Job Search? Contact A Recruiter

We all have that thought in our mind of “I don’t want to bug them” or “they won’t respond to me.” Immediately disregard those thoughts and just do it! Yes, recruiters, depending on the company, probably get hundreds of messages and emails a day. But, with the correct positioning and wording, you will have a recruiter contacting you back in no time. There are two ways you can contact them:

  • Via LinkedIn message: This is sometimes a better option because they can immediately look at your profile. When you message the recruiter, keep three things in mind: length, why, and ask.
    • Length: Make sure it is short and to the point (most people check messages on their phone; make sure it isn’t longer than the size of a phone screen)
    • Why: Explain why you are contacting them and why you are the perfect fit for the position. If it is a position you have already applied for, mention that you have applied so they can look you up in their system.
    • Ask: Don’t be afraid to ask if you can hop on a phone call with them or get more information about the company.
  • Email: Most of the time, you will see a recruiter’s email on the “Contact Info” section at the top of their profile or at the bottom before “Companies”. If you find their email, send them a message using the same guidelines as above. Possibly link to your LinkedIn profile in the signature part of the email or attach your resume and mention you have attached it for their review. Oh, and ALWAYS be professional!

Related: How to Talk to Your Boss About Your Career Path

How To Network On LinkedIn

From my personal experience, I have found that searching companies via LinkedIn and looking (more like stalking) employee’s LinkedIn is by far the most helpful. You learn so much about what the person does in his or her role and, the most important, you can see who your mutual connections are. This is gold! Look at who you mutual connections are.

You will be surprised, you’ll see your aunt or your old professor or old boss is connected with them. Now you ask for an introduction. Send your connection an email, text or whatever is appropriate and ask how they know so and so on LinkedIn and if they help you connect with them.

Related: Making the Switch from Entrepreneur to Boss

Sometimes, people add others on LinkedIn that they don’t personally know. That will most likely be a dead end. But in the case you do know them personally, they will most likely help connect you. Once they connect you, pick that person’s brain about the company, what they do for the company and explain how you can be an asset. People don’t love anything more than talking about themselves. So, build that relationship with the mutual connection, because most likely they will be your connection to get into the company.

Many people worry that the connection they have at the company works for a completely different department than them but, in most companies departments overlap and their recommendation for your will be just as strong no matter what department they’re in.

Closing Thoughts

Finally, get a LinkedIn and use it! This is a great marketing tool to promote who YOU are. If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, I highly suggest making one! Go to LinkedIn and select “create an account” and you’ll be well on your way.

 

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