Can LinkedIn Help You Land a New Job?
by Robin Ryan, author of 60 Seconds & You’re Hired and Over 40 & You’re Hired
Social networking is all the rage, but can LinkedIn really help you get hired? Yes—with an emphasis on the word “help.” I work closely with my career counseling clients, advising them on how to use this social media more effectively in their job search.
LinkedIn is widely used by internal staffing departments in most high tech companies and in many Fortune 1000 companies. You may hear more about Twitter or Facebook, but if you seek a promotion or new job, LinkedIn is the right network to use. Why? Two reasons. First, there are more than 70 million users on LinkedIn. It’s becoming more social, easier to use, and a recruiting resource employers are using.
Second, 63% of all jobs are found through networking, according to the Department of Labor. Expanding your network of contacts is essential. And LinkedIn is an ideal tool for job hunters to add to their job search arsenals. But just going online and signing up for LinkedIn won’t do it. Utilizing this resource takes time, effort and some savvy direction. The benefits of networking are well-documented. Someone may tell you about a job opening or new company that may need your skills. Another connection may send your resume on through internal channels to reach the decision maker. Expanding your digital rolodex is essential for career success in today’s job market.
LinkedIn can seem overwhelming at first. Here are some tips on how to more effectively use this tool in your job search:
- Have an objective. Know what your purpose is for creating a LinkedIn account. If you think you can create a simple profile, add your resume and wait for employers to call you, it’s going to be an eternity of a wait. Millions of people have opened accounts, and did not get more than a handful of connections. You must work at it. Ask your friends. Search for their names and invite people you know to join your network. Actively begin to invite friends and colleagues to connect to you. Be sure to write a quick note to personalize your request. If you need a boost, go to http://www.linkedin.com/… and in the search area, type my name—Robin Ryan—and invite me to connect with you. I’ll accept, and you’ll instantly have hundreds of connections—many of whom will be HR professionals and recruiters.
- Remember who your audience is. You don’t just paste your resume on LinkedIn. This is a social medium, which means you need to encapsulate your background. You wouldn’t hand out your résumé before introducing yourself, so don’t do it here. Instead, describe your experience and abilities, as you would to someone you just met. Also, write for the screen, in short blocks of copy, with visual or textual signposts.
- Create an Enticing Profile and Personal Brand. This is the key to our success on LinkedIn. Everyone can see the profile you make of yourself. It is your self-advertisement, but it’s not all business. In fact, it needs to be inviting, with a genuine personal touch. Carefully fill out the data fields, college, past employers, etc…these are how other people find you, so be sure to create a complete picture. Take time to enrich what you say, so that you convey your experience and work strengths and also the personality traits that make you the unique individual that you are. Think short fragments, action verbs, and noting a couple of accomplishments. Picture yourself at a business meeting. Think about how you introduce yourself to strangers. That’s what you are doing on LinkedIn, so do try to be genuine in the tone you use to write your profile.
- Upload a nice, recent picture of yourself—smiling, of course, and looking friendly. People want to see you now. And skip the formal business suit pic, it will make you look standoffish. Instead, a head shot of a smiling you is much more appealing and welcoming.