How to Optimize LinkedIn for Job Search
I was recently interviewed for an article, How to get the most out of LinkedIn, on MSN/CareerBuilder. The article is very well written, by Alina Dizik, and I highly recommend it to job seekers, or anyone else wanting to get the most from LinkedIn. Below I have posted her original questions, and my answers, in full, for your reading pleasure. Enjoy.
What should I have on my LinkedIn profile if I'm looking for opportunities?
A candidate should tell a good story that describes who they are and what they do well. You also need detailed job descriptions in your work history going back at least 10 years. The more relevant detail and specific keywords that you include in your profile, the easier it will be for recruiters and employers to find you when they search for appropriate candidates for their openings.
What are some LinkedIn tools that I should be using?
Use the apps available on your profile page to import content into your page. Apps that automatically import your blog posts, SlideShare presentations, etc. help your profile to rank higher in search results. The idea is to get more eyeballs on your LinkedIn profile. Update your status daily with something that would be interesting to your targeted employers or prospects.
What types of forums, groups, etc. should a person join?
Join groups that relate to your industry, skill set, or location. All are good for networking for jobs. Also, do a search for people who might be in a position to hire or refer you for jobs and companies you are interested in. Join and participate in the relevant groups they are in. Then, after you have been a good contributor, perhaps go back and ask those people to join your network.
Who should I connect with?
LinkedIn recommends that you only connect with people who you know. So definitely connect with as many people who you know that are LinkedIn users. After all, any of your friends or colleagues might know someone who could be a great lead for you. Beyond that, connect with people who appear to be active in the groups in which you are networking.
Are there any mistakes or misconceptions about this method of job searching?
The top misconception is that if you just create a LinkedIn profile, then you should get calls from employers or recruiters. Not so. You must optimize your profile with plenty of specific information that relates to your skill set; and participate in LinkedIn groups, Q&A, and status updates. You must also grow your network. The more active you are, and the more people you connect with, the more people will see your profile.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Make sure you give prospective employers an easy way to contact you. If you have no email address or phone number listed, it might be tough for someone who is not a 1st level connection on LinkedIn to contact you. The whole idea is to be contacted.