There’s a question that many new job seekers are thinking about. “Do I really need to use Linkedin, and how can I use it effectively?”
The first answer is straightforward. Yes, you need to use LinkedIn. You need to use it for your job search. And, honestly, you need to use it before your job search. It should be part of your professional brand – similar to carrying a business card. Integrating LinkedIn into your daily business practice will make it both easier and more effective in the long run.
So, the next question is around how to use LinkedIn effectively. Sometimes, people ask me if there’s a course they can take. And actually, I do teach a workshop about LinkedIn. But in reality, you don’t need a special class to use LinkedIn.
The main thing you need to do to become good at LinkedIn is use LinkedIn. You heard me right. Use it. It’s like Facebook. If you only looked at Facebook every six months, you might wonder how it works. It would be a bit unclear how to find your friends or how to accept party invitations. But, if you’re like most people, you use Facebook every day. And, after a while, it becomes second nature.
So, where to begin? First, you need a profile picture. I get it. You may not really like putting up photos of yourself. You may not have a recent photo you like. I totally hear you. But, in order to use LinkedIn effectively, you’ve gotta do it. Don’t feel like you need to hire a professional photographer. A friend could even take a decent photo on your smartphone. Just be sure that you look professional and the photo is only you. Ideally, you want to smile.
Next, fill out your profile. Put in as much information as you can. Include a mini-bio of yourself in the Summary section. Include your jobs in the Experience section, along with detail about what you did. Include your degrees (but omit the year you graduated). Fill it out – all of it.
Then, ask your trusted contacts to leave reviews of your work under the Recommendations section.
If you’re really feeling ambitious, turn on the “open candidate” feature. This is where you let recruiters now that you’re open for new jobs. It’s also a place where you can leave notes for recruiters about your dream job, including desired job titles, locations, and industries.
Now, get out there and use LinkedIn. Follow companies, participate in discussions, share articles, connect to colleagues and yes – do consider connecting to someone you don’t already know in real life. After all, how are you going to meet new people if you don’t meet new people?
That’s it. Just like Facebook, the more you use LinkedIn, the easier it gets. The more intuitive it becomes. The more aware of little features you become. It’s just that simple.
Remember, don’t put information on LinkedIn that you wouldn’t want your boss to see. Don’t share confidential company stats. And, definitely don’t SAY that you are looking for a job.
There’s no secret to it. Well, except maybe this one. The secret to using LinkedIn is to use LinkedIn. :c)
Author: Angela Copeland
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.