LinkedIn was founded in 2002 by Reid Hoffman. He had a dream to change the way professional networking was done. As of September 2013, there are 238 Million users. LinkedIn is an extremely powerful networking tool when used to its fullest potential, both for corporations, as well as, individuals. Both use LinkedIn in similar, yet slightly different ways to gain connections.
Below are 5 tips to increase your networking footprint for individuals experiencing a career transition.
1. Recruiters look for candidates on LinkedIn daily. This is more reliable than Facebook, and faster than mulling over thousands of resumes on CareerBuilder or Monster. Recruiters can look for their perfect candidate through multiple keyword searching in the LinkedIn user profiles. Make sure that your profile is 100% completed.
a. Your summary should include only professional experiences and skills.
b. The experience section should include job titles with dates and a short detailed explanation of your position. This is a shortened version of your resume that should date back no more than 15 years.
c. The endorsements section should be true and not embellished. I would recommend having at least 20-30 endorsements.
d. The recommendations section is where you can truly shine. Instead of having your supervisor, client, subordinate, etc… write a letter of recommendation for you, why not have them recommend you on LinkedIn for the world to see? The recommendations do not have to be long, maybe a paragraph in length, but when a recruiter read multiple recommendations, it can help make that decision on whether or not you will be called for an interview. I would recommend having 10 recommendations from various sources
e. Your contact information is critical. Make sure to put a professional email address and mobile number. There is no need to include your address, city or home number.
f. Your picture. Why do you need to post a picture? Most people would agree that it is a bit uncomfortable, but in order to make your profile 100% complete, you must add one. On a personal note, having a picture on LinkedIn is a nice touch because you can “see” who you are doing business with / interviewing with.
2. Post an update. When you go into your Profile, under the “Activity” button, you can post an update. This update will go to all of your contacts you have made within LinkedIn. You could simply post something about the type of job you are looking to land, or simply post a link to a great article you found that is specific to your industry. Either way, you are putting your name and picture in front of your contacts every week.
3. Network. Literally reach out to every professional you have ever met in your career. Reconnect. The more connections you establish, the more apt you are to landing the right connection that can assist you in finding a new position.
4. Join a Group. One of the tabs is called “Interests”. Under that tab are the “Groups” tab. There are many different kinds of groups, all designed to network people together in similar situations, industries, or backgrounds. The people in these groups are outside of the individuals in your “Connections”. Which means you may post an update just to your connections to see, or you could post a “Discussion” on a group and have the entire group see your post. If the group has for example 3000 members, that’s 3000 other people you didn’t know, that now may be able to help you.
5. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Let’s say, you want to work for ABC Company in their IT department. You have submitted your resume twice, no one has returned your call to HR or an email. It’s frustrating and it happens all the time. Instead of giving up and finding another opportunity, think outside the box. Try going into your Advanced Search box. Type in the name of the ABC Company and the city it’s in. Now hit enter. You will be amazed at the amount of connections at that company that you will find. Remember that the HR manager / recruiter that posted the position you are trying to get in the first place is not the final decision maker, and they are probably searching out candidates by vital keywords in order to sift through the resumes without reading them all in detail. In this case, have you ever considered trying to connect with the supervisor / director / manager of the department instead? For instance, if you are applying for an IT helpdesk position, why not try to connect with the IT Director of the company or better yet the helpdesk manager directly. You could invite them to connect with you and include a personal note explaining in short, that you are interested in the position and ask them to view your profile. This could be the difference between you getting an interview or not. If they like what they see, most likely, they will ask to connect with you, to view your profile, to email your resume to them, and set you up with a phone interview to start. Or better yet, you could just pick up the phone and call them directly. Through LinkedIn, you have access to their name, email address, and phone number. This is not invasive, this is creative. And creative individuals land positions. It is networking in its truest form.
Contributed by Christy Rowe is a Srenior Career Consultant, New Horizons Great Lakes
Go to www.TADPGS.com, click on the “Looking for People” tab, then view “Veterans Solutions” to see more for information on our Veterans Solutions for Employers. Please feel free to join our LinkedIn group, Veterans Hiring Solutions for Veterans and Companies at http://linkd.in/Sg346w. If you have specific questions about hiring veterans or the incentives for doing so, contact me at [email protected]