LinkedIn can be a valuable resource for job-seeking, even when you are not actively seeking a new job.
LinkedIn can be a valuable resource for job-seeking, even when you are not actively seeking a new job. Recruiters and hiring managers are scanning LinkedIn all the time, sometimes even when they don’t have a specific role in mind.
By making some simple tweaks to your LinkedIn profile and interactions, you can improve your chances of being noticed for future roles.
Incomplete profiles are more likely to be overlooked or ignored. You can strengthen your profile by:
Having a photograph – the person behind the profile matters, and an engaging photograph helps. Be professional and engaging – research your role or sector, and try to appear like one of the professional ‘tribe’ you want to join.
Having an engaging headline and summary – you have flexibility in how you describe yourself in your headline, it doesn’t need to be your exact job title. Describe both your current skill set and your aspirational position. Highlight things you’ve worked on, what you’re good at, and what you’d like to be doing.
Completing your experience and education – should be a factual record but can be selective in what you highlight. Keep the descriptions short but celebrate key responsibilities or achievements. Tailor these to your current job search or career aspiration and review them regularly.
Indicating your location and availability – you can indicate to recruiters your preferred locations and availability, but check your privacy settings carefully if you don’t want your current employer to be aware you are actively looking.
Filling in skills keywords – it makes a big difference in recruiter searches and network matches if you fill these out. You only get 50, so focus on those that a) will have the greatest professional impact (what you want to get hired for), and b) are specialist, or skills fewer people will have (technical, especially).
Including volunteering, professional memberships and other things that highlight your professionalism. Link those to the organisations they come from if you can.
You should build your network before you need it.
Make connections with colleagues, people you’ve met at conferences and events, former and current teachers/lecturers, fellow alumni… and then explore who they’ve previously worked for and their networks - you may find other people you know, or would like to know.
Don’t be afraid to ask your network to help you. You can ask for introductions to people in their network, too. This blog post has some great advice on asking LinkedIn network connections for assistance.
If you want to connect with people you haven’t met yet, make sure you explain why you’re contacting them. You only have 300 characters to use in a Connection Request message, so use them wisely! This blog post has some advice if you’re ‘cold messaging’ someone on LinkedIn about a job
Give before you get - take an interest in what your network is doing on LinkedIn, like/reply to their posts and celebrate their achievements. If you do then get in touch for any reason, they’re more likely to remember you as a contributor to their professional presence.
If you don’t have a professional blog (personal or via your employer), your LinkedIn feed can be a great way to share information of interest to others in your field – this can be things you’ve created, or published by others.
You can upload presentations, videos or images, and add a short description – this can be included as a link in your CV if you’d like to showcase specific pieces of work.
The more you share and engage, the more visible you are likely to be to others, and the more connections you will make. Post content at different times of the day to ensure it’s seen by a wide variety of people (and time zones).
LinkedIn isn’t just about you and who you know, it’s also a great way to get to know other organisations and colleagues.
Follow the pages of organisations you might like to work for to get a feel for their priorities and be alerted to vacancies.
Use groups to engage with specific interests and actively contribute to discussions.
If you’ve got an interview coming up, use LinkedIn to research the organisation and hiring team. This shows you’ve done your homework, and may help build rapport or shared interests.
7 Simple ways to use LinkedIn to find your next job | LinkedIn
10 Little Known Ways to Use LinkedIn to Find a Job (aarp.org)
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Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) (2021). Using LinkedIn effectively for job-seeking and career advancement. Available at www.rgs.org/careersresources/using-linkedin-effectively. Last accessed on: <date>
Image: @gregbulla / Unsplash
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