How to make the most of your LinkedIn account
LinkedIn is one of the most effective tools in your job search, so it’s no wonder I field questions about LinkedIn every day. With this in mind, I want to share with you some of the most common questions I receive — and my recommendations.
Do I need LinkedIn profile?
Yes, absolutely! LinkedIn is one of the most powerful tools at your fingertips. It allows hiring managers to learn more about you. It allows you to learn more about companies. It’s a great way to stay connected to your professional network without all of the day-to-day clutter found on other social websites.
Should I connect to people I don’t know?
This is really a personal decision. Some people choose to only connect to those they know really well. Others connect to everyone (they have L.I.O.N. on their profile – LinkedIn Open Network). The best answer is probably somewhere in the middle. If you never connect to anyone you don’t know, how will you will meet anyone new? And, is there really anything so private on your LinkedIn profile that it would do you harm to connect with a stranger? My guess is probably not. Try to be as open on LinkedIn as you might be in real life if someone introduced themselves to you in person at a networking event.
Do recruiters really use LinkedIn?
Yes, they really do! Both internal human resources folks — and external headhunters and placement agencies use LinkedIn. Really! It can be hard to find just the right person for a specific job. So, recruiters often use LinkedIn to track down candidates who didn’t apply through their traditional process. It is not unusual for a recruiter to contact you through LinkedIn out of the blue for a position you didn’t know about. They also use LinkedIn to look up more information about you than what fits onto your resume. So, be sure to keep it updated!
How often should I updated LinkedIn?
Your LinkedIn profile should be a living, breathing thing. You should keep it updated all the time. Don’t wait until you are actually looking for a job to update it. By then, you’re already behind. But, if you do find yourself in this situation, turn off the e-mail notifications that go out to your friends when you make updates. You know those e-mails. They say things like, “Bob got a new job!” or, “Sally got an award!” When you make mass updates, turn those off, so you can avoid sending red flags to your current employer.
Should I get the paid version?
This is such a great question! LinkedIn offers additional features with their paid members. They vary from $29.99 for a Job Seeker package to $99.95 for a Recruiter Lite package. The Job Seeker package offers limited direct messaging to people you don’t know, more ‘who’s viewed your profile’ information, and applicant insights. It also offers something called Featured Applicant which claims to move you to the top of recruiters’ applicant lists. Whether or not the paid version is for you depends a lot on how you use LinkedIn. The good news is — LinkedIn offers a free 30-day trial, so you can decide for yourself. Just be sure to mark the 30-day cutoff on your calendar, so you won’t forget about your option to cancel.
How many connections should I have?
Ideally, you should have over 500 connections. Whether you have 501 or 5,001, LinkedIn will display that you have 500+ connections on your profile. This makes you look more connect. And, in fact it’s true. The more first degree connections you have, the more second and third degree connections you’ll have as a result. And, that means that your network will grow — and your chances of finding a new job will grow.
Speaking of connecting on LinkedIn — I would love to connect with you! If we are not already connected, please click the button below and send me a connection request. I look forward to being in your LinkedIn network!
Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.
Angela Copeland is Founder and Coach for Copeland Coaching, a great way to jump start your job search. Follow her on Twitter @CopelandCoach for tips on finding the perfect job for you.