The following post is Part 3 of Grantham University’s new Career Launch blog series. With 2018 underway, many of you may be considering a job change or looking for ways to advance your career. These career-focused posts will help you improve your resume, make social media work for you and show you how to transform your current position into your dream job.

5 Important Steps to Make LinkedIn Work for youSocial Media can be a great resource when hunting for a job, but you won’t get very far on sites such as LinkedIn unless you update your profile and make the most of what the site has to offer. The good news is Grantham’s dedicated Career Services professionals are here to help. We’ll use today’s blog post to help you get started and walk you through some essentials.

LinkedIn touts that it has more than 530 million users right now, along with some 10 million job openings with about as many companies, and more than 100,000 articles published every week on the site. Each connection you make equates to an average of 400 new people you can potentially reach to build relationships.

Those are some powerful numbers. Hundreds of businesses are out there looking for the specific skills you have to offer, and it’s up to you to position yourself in the best light to get noticed … and hopefully to get the job.

  1. Start with the basics

It’s important to create a LinkedIn profile that gives a strong, positive first impression. Make sure your profile statement is a descriptive but general summary of your experience and what you bring to the table. Include a professional looking photo; there are even some good tips out there for how to shoot one. Use keywords in the tagline right underneath your name that reflect what you do rather than what you are seeking (we’ll cover more on keywords below). Include an email address and/or phone number for people to contact you.

On a related note, this is also a good time to clean up your other social media profiles, since employers often consider all of them – personal or otherwise – when deciding on potential new hires.

  1. Keep it relevant

In this USAToday.com piece, social media strategist and LinkedIn coach/trainer Teddy Burriss stresses the importance of making sure the job you seek is the right fit for you, and that it is "highly relevant to who you are and what you do." If you’re currently an administrative assistant, for example, it doesn’t make much sense to apply for a risk management position, Burriss says in the article.

"You’re just shooting at opportunities, wasting a hiring manager’s time and tarnishing your own reputation," he says.

In short, your LinkedIn profile should clearly show you are relevant to the position for which you are applying. Let recruiters and hiring managers see you have the required talent, skills and experience for the job.

Start by making sure you have all the ideal keywords in your profile, since companies tend to rely on a keyword search (using a search engine) to go through profiles and find ideal candidates. So how do you determine the best keywords?

There are keywords in every single job post. Note the following excerpt from a job opening for a project coordinator: "The Project Coordinator is responsible for the development and oversight …" In this case, "development" and "oversight" function as keywords. Here is another one: "Project & Customer maintenance" or "Contract Processing and Purchase Orders." Almost all of these words could be good keywords to include in your LinkedIn Profile and on any separate resume — provided they reflect what you actually do, i.e., your job duties, title and such. All the industry buzz words and fancy phrasing won’t mean a thing on your resume if they don’t speak to your specific experience.

  1. Search and connect

Your next step should be to use LinkedIn as a search engine that’s like no other you have ever used before. At first, you should be strategic with searches. Consider jobs on sites such as Indeed.com, then do searches to find hiring managers, recruiters, or people you know, such as close friends or even acquaintances.

Once you locate all these people who can potentially help you find jobs suited for you, it's all about officially making LinkedIn connections with them. Invite them to connect with you, and then as you continue the job hunt online, add more connections and build your overall network.

If you’re currently employed, you’ll likely need to take some time to do all this over lunch, or perhaps at home on your off day(s). LinkedIn has an app for your phone, as well.

  1. Network, network, network

At this point, with your connections established, you’re about to get into perhaps the most important step of all in finding a job: Networking! And the opportunities are plenty … from face-to-face networking events in an area near you, to webinars or other happenings online and more.

Since we’re focusing on LinkedIn in this blog post, keep in mind that when you make a new connection with someone, you should be careful not to push the issue too much or over explain the reason for your invite. (A brief note may be okay for those you already know well, though might not be the best approach for others.) Trying to "force network," so to speak, can make you seem too eager and result in fewer responses.

I’ll give you an example of what I typically do. First, I connect with those who work in my field. In my case, it’s Career Services, which is broad enough to include people in human resources, job recruiters, contractors … and of course I can’t forget those who work for Grantham to educate students on computer science, business, allied health or any of the other disciplines in the University’s individual colleges and schools.

These connections then look at my profile and see that my work is related to what they do, and most likely they will accept my invite to connect. At some point, I’ll go back to my network tab on LinkedIn and write messages to those with whom I originally connected, letting them know why I’m reaching out and asking if they can assist in any way or if they know others who can help. The message should be short, sweet and to the point. The entire process would be the same if I were looking for a job.

  1. Dig a bit deeper

Aside from the basics of connecting and networking, LinkedIn offers a world of other things you can do to make the best of your experience with the site. You can join groups and engage in conversations, post blogs, ask for recommendations and endorsements from your connections (and do the same for others).

One of the newer features is LinkedIn Open Candidates, which you can use to "signal" your interest to recruiters about potential opportunities. The exposure job seekers can get from this is limitless, since thousands turn to LinkedIn daily to search for new talent. But keep in mind your signal will only be seen by paid subscribers of LinkedIn Recruiter.

First you should "turn on" your signal with Open Candidates to declare your interest by clicking the "Jobs" tab on the toolbar from your homepage. When the new window opens, select "Preferences" at the top of the page, slide the button to "On" and fill out a few questions about your career preferences (the LinkedIn Blog includes a tutorial on this feature).

Then there’s LinkedIn Learning, which offers free courses to beef up your existing skills or learn new ones. It includes everything from training in WordPress, to how to write a press release, to how to draw recruiters’ interest and much more. Add any new training you’ve completed to your profile and resume.

Another newer feature is Career Pages. It allows you to learn more about the culture of companies in which you may be interested and is found near the bottom of your profile page.

Consider Career Launch

If you’re a current Grantham student or interested in discovering what the University has to offer, we suggest checking out our dedicated Career Services department, where you can:

  • Explore the Career Booster webinar series, which includes topics perfect for career seekers and established professionals alike.
  • Register for the Career Launch program and learn how to perfect your resume, master job interviews, network like a pro and more!

Looking for even more information on ways to enhance your career? Feel free to contact Grantham’s Career Services department at 1-800-955-2527 Ext. 173, or email CareerServices@Grantham.edu today.

And remember to read Parts 1 and 2 of our Career Launch blog series: "Lift Your Resume to the Next Level: 5 Easy Mistakes to Avoid," and "Transform your Current Job into your Dream Job".

Grantham University’s Doug DimlerAbout Doug Dimler

Grantham University Career Services Coordinator Doug Dimler
is an expert in the fields of human resources and career services.
He’s an experienced hiring and training manager, social media guru,
entrepreneur, father of two and lover of life.

 

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