LinkedIn has grown in both popularity and in the ways you can use it to find a great job. What was once widely viewed as a rich contact database has become an active and vibrant professional community.
While the relevance of LinkedIn has grown well beyond job seeking and candidate finding, those core LinkedIn competencies have blossomed into really remarkable platforms. But to get the most out of LinkedIn, you need to learn the lessons and the etiquette that will make this platform work harder for your career. Let's enroll in LinkedIn finishing school -- take a look at eight ways to maximize the value of LinkedIn for your job search.
Maximizing your profile
If your LinkedIn profile has just your name and your current employer, you are missing out on tremendous value. While developing a comprehensive profile takes a bit of time, it represents a few hours well spent. As you progress in your career, you want to reach the point where new jobs find you, not the other way around. In order for companies and recruiters to see and understand your awesomeness, they need to understand what you do and have done. By proactively managing your LinkedIn profile you make it much easier for people to come to you with opportunities: Passive job search.
Photo: Adriano Gasparri
On the most basic level, the profile allows you to provide a synopsis of your career and education. You can use the text from a current resume -- it's perfectly acceptable to have your profile match your resume. In fact, several recruiters told me that they compare the resumes they receive to LinkedIn profiles to see if a person is representing their true self on paper. This is in response to candidates overhauling their resumes to include keywords so as to get past resume reviewbots. Some revision is a good idea, and welcomed by recruiters as an indication that you truly care about the opportunity. But some candidates are misrepresenting their backgrounds by fraudulently changing their expertise.
One area that relatively few people avail themselves of are the "skills" and "experience" keywords, where you choose a set of a few words that identify your particular areas of expertise.
These keywords help power LinkedIn search, and help recruiters understand your strongest skills. That's important because a marketing generalist might have experience in literally dozens of areas, but genuine expertise in a smaller but highly desirable subset.
Including your other social media identities in your LinkedIn profile is a good idea if they represent your professional persona and interests. Exercise judgment, however, with social, political, or religiously oriented presences. Don't serve up ways for recruiters to feel distant from you.