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Using LinkedIn to Find Your Next Job

First off, LinkedIn is just one tool that should be used in conjunction with other tools for a proactive job search. Like one of the arrows in your quiver.

That said, the folks at LinkedIn have created an excellent tool for marketing yourself to potential employers. Here are a few tips to get the most out of the service:

  1. Treat your profile like an online version of your resume – i.e., understand that while a great one won’t necessarily get you the job, a bad one can definitely hurt. HR, recruiters and hiring managers are all over LI, so definitely take the time to fill out your profile accordingly.

  2. Link to your blog/website/twitter/etc. The goal here is to create an online brand that allows you to effectively showcase your talents and knowledge across multiple outlets. This strictly refers to professional sites – keep the party pics on Facebook private.

  3. Get great recommendations. This is huge. Ask people in your network to say some kind words about you and offer to do the same in return (only if they deserve it, of course!). *Bonus Tip: Put those recommendations on a separate page on your resume – As a recruiter I can tell you that when I look through a stack of very similar resumes, the ones that come with recommendations definitely go to the top and get my first phone call.

  4. Join the right groups – Joining groups that are relevant to your experience & interests allows you to directly connect and interact with people in those groups, which leads to the next tip:

  5. Participate – Be an active participant in your groups by asking and answering questions and interacting with group members. This is where you get to show off your particular expertise and set yourself apart from the herd.

  6. Use the job search – This one is somewhat obvious but use the job search tool to find out who is hiring in your area and who you know that can connect you to the hiring manager. Then ask for an introduction. Don’t be overly salesy, but write a short paragraph about what you bring to the table, your contact info, and add a link to your profile. Boom! There’s your electronic cover letter & resume right in the hiring manager’s inbox.

  7. Connect to people with lots of contacts in the area that you are interested. People have different and passionate opinions about this but bottom line: the more people you connect with, the more people that can find you. You are searching for a job right?

  8. Applications If you have a blog, use the apps feature to link with your blog & highlight your expertise, right on your profile page

  9. Update your status to reflect your job search & qualifications – like the objective section on a resume. You can use Ping.fm for updating across multiple sites at once (twitter, facebook, etc.)

  10. Personalize – Feel free to add a little bit extra that you don’t put on your resume. Your interests, hobbies, etc. really don’t belong on a professional resume these days, but its okay to get somewhat creative with your profile. That said, please make it interesting & not annoying.

If you are just starting out, LinkedIn can definitely be overwhelming. That said, I strongly believe that logging on for just 5-10 minutes a day will quickly get you up to speed and that taking the above advice will give you a great tool for your proactive job search.

What about you, are you currently using LinkedIn as a resource? Had success? Frustrations?

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