LinkedIn now has more than 180 million users, facilitating personal, business and marketing opportunities.
A recent study found that HR managers use “informal recruitment” for more senior positions, and LinkedIn remains the most popular recruiting network for professionals
Enhancing your career using LinkedIn requires careful ongoing profile management and participation in LinkedIn groups and discussions, so what’s the best way to do this?
Enhance your profile
Your photo is a good starting point, and should reflect the image you want to project. People want to see what you look like and this means they need to see your face clearly. If you’re concerned about your privacy you can change your privacy settings to restrict who can see your photo.
Make sure your profile headline truly reflects what you do, keep it concise and include a statement reflecting your career aspiration, for example “Information Management Specialist”. Write a profile summary that focuses on your skills and experience and demonstrate positive outcomes by describing successful projects or tasks and what you do in your current role. Add sections to your profile so you can showcase what you do outside your job including volunteer activities, foreign languages and personal interests (though select these with care).
Remember to export your LinkedIn profile as a resume and check that your profile is complete and provides adequate detail for recruiters. You can make your resume openly available and this will assist recruiters to find you.
Strategically grow your connections.
Connections can help you reach out to find jobs and provide referrals. Remember to connect with care, only recruiters and marketers have a need to connect widely, so be selective and grow connections that will genuinely assist you.
Use the LinkedIn People You May Know Tool and the Alumni Tool to find and invite people to link with you. Friends and former colleagues, including people you went to school or university with, may be valuable members of your network. Personalise interactions with connections, especially at times when something important is happening in their lives, like a new job. Try to target 50 to 100 connections, especially if you’re looking to build a rapport with each of them.
Seek membership of groups that will help your career, for example the “Chief Information Officer (CIO) network”, “CIO Community” and “CIO Forum”. Members of groups can message each other and view group member profiles without needing to be directly connected.
Be prepared to be helpful and join in group discussions. Where possible demonstrate your knowledge by sharing links to white papers and other publicly available documents. Be careful to be helpful whilst not voicing opinions that might give a potential recruiter concern.
Visit your groups every day to see what is happening and to participate in discussions. Being an active participant will raise your presence and make you more visible to potential recruiters.
Remember to visit LinkedIn Today regularly to see what is happening on the LinkedIn Channels where you will be able to find articles, news and who the top influencers are in LinkedIn groups.
Automate job searches
The LinkedIn job search tool provides the capability to save a job search by clicking on the green ‘+’ button on the bar at the top-right of the search results. A saved search is given a name and you can opt to be sent emails daily, weekly or monthly on any new jobs that meet the search criteria.
If you don’t want to receive email updates you can also see the results of saved job searches when you go to the LinkedIn Jobs Tool. In the right hand column is a section for saved job searches and you can view all the job updates to see if any are of interest.
Reach out to find new opportunities
LinkedIn provides a jobs board and you can use the advanced job search to find jobs being offered that you’re interested in. You should also use the advanced job tool to find people in your network that work in a company that has advertised a job that you’re interested in and may have found outside LinkedIn.
Reach out and seek LinkedIn Endorsements from senior people in your network and remove old endorsements that are no longer relevant.
What to avoid
If you want to avoid sharing photos of your last family outing to the beach with a potential recruiter, you should avoid merging accounts on personal social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram.
Create separate accounts for LinkedIn and if you intend to link to other social media platforms then create separate accounts there as well so that you keep your personal social media identity separate from your professional online presence.