Is it actually necessary to have a presence on LinkedIn? The answer is that it depends on your industry and the type of job you are looking for, but for many 'career' jobs, it can be helpful. When you are looking for a job, LinkedIn can be a useful tool but you need to approach it strategically. Here are five tips that will help you approach LinkedIn in a way that will get you results:
Engage with your network. The real value in social networking is the opportunity that it provides you to engage with people. If you have put up your profile and you are posting on a regular basis, you are off to a good start but reaching out and connecting with the people in your network is what will actually open doors for you. Start by liking and commenting on a few posts each day. If you make it part of your routine it will be easy for you to maintain and you will slowly build a closer relationship with your network.
Update your profile. Try to think of LinkedIn as your 'online resume'. As such it is important that you keep it up to date by including your current position as well as any additional skills or certifications you have acquired. It is important that your profile is an accurate representation of who you are professionally as it may be one of the first points of contact for many employers.
Use LinkedIn to set up in-person meetups. Your networking strategy will be more successful if you balance your online tactics with face-to-face meetings. You will always be able to build a stronger connection with someone you are sitting across from than you will with someone you have only connected with online. Use LinkedIn to maintain relationships with previous colleagues and to make new connections but if possible, invite key people from your network out for a cup of coffee so that you can grow the relationship.
Follow your target companies. Not only does following your target companies on LinkedIn give you a snapshot of the organizational culture and what is happening at the company, but it also allows you to be one of the first to hear about job opportunities so you can be one of the first people to apply.
Use keywords. If you want your profile to be visible to recruiters and employers, using the correct key words is extremely important. Try to imagine a recruiter who is looking for a candidate with your skills. Which search terms would they use? If you are not sure, print out a few job postings for your target jobs and highlight the keywords that keeping popping up. These are the keywords that you will want to include in your profile.
If you have not been active on LinkedIn in the past, it can be a bit intimidating. However, you don't have to do it all at once. Give yourself one new task to complete each day. For example, on the first day you might put three keywords into your profile. On the second day you might invite one of your contacts out for lunch. On the third day you might follow five new companies. You don't have to devote a lot of time to it, but if you are consistently active, it will bring you positive results.
(Written by Karen Bivand, Image Courtesy of nopparats01 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)