Everyone says you need to be on LinkedIn, but what does that really mean? Just putting up a profile and letting it sit there isn’t enough. In order to get any benefit out of being on this social network, you have to be active.
The first thing to do is punch up your profile:
- Post a profile photo—hopefully something professional, not a casual, blurry snapshot.
- Personalize your headline.
- Keep your descriptive summary short and sweet, but highlight your most important achievements.
- Make sure your job history includes your two most recent jobs.
- Include contact information, including your other social media profiles.
Now that people can find you and discover a little bit about you, it’s time to participate. LinkedIn is a great place for networking opportunities, showcasing your industry expertise, marketing yourself and yes, finding a job.
You can use LinkedIn for building connections, but here’s an important caveat: don’t connect with people just for the sake of connecting with them. Interact!
How? You can:
- Post frequent updates.
- Join groups and participate in discussions.
- Follow companies to stay informed of their updates.
- Connect with recruiters to stay informed of possible positions they may post.
- Check in with former co-workers.
Does this sound like too much work? Is LinkedIn really that valuable? Look at it this way:
- LinkedIn has more than 150 million users in 200 countries.
- LinkedIn’s membership boasts executives from all Fortune 500 companies.
- LinkedIn has information on more than 2 million companies from all industries, sizes and geographies.
Another, more old-fashioned way of opening yourself up to a wide network of companies, employers and colleagues, is to work with a professional recruiter that specializes in your field. An experienced recruiter will always know where the jobs are, what salaries are being paid, who the leading employers in your field are and whether a move is right for you. Through a good recruiter, you can gain access to some of the best companies in your industry and start making connections in person. A good recruiter is not just out to fill a job, but to build relationships and help your career.