Job search: 10 things you should know about using LinkedIn

Imagine you are Mark, a college graduate with average marks.

Mark is looking for a job, so he goes on LinkedIn and creates a profile.

He is satisfied and triumphant because he thinks his job is done. He now believes that he only must wait before he gets connection requests from top recruiters and jobs from big multi-national companies.

Ah! If only a job search was that easy.

Let’s face it, many of us are guilty of behaving similarly.

In fact, 77 percent of LinkedIn users looking for a job are passive candidates who are very hard to find.

To get a job, you need to try harder.

There are more than 530 million users on LinkedIn, so it is very important to stand out from the rest of the applicant pool.

Also, LinkedIn is not just a job portal containing a database of potential candidates and hiring authorities, but a networking and marketing tool meant for building long-lasting work relationships which can contribute to the business.

Melanie Pinola, a Harvard Alumni and editorial manager at Zapier, once said:

“A huge number of jobs that are filled are never advertised to the public, or if they are, they’re filled by people who have a connection to the employer.” — Melanie Pinola

There are more than 10 million active jobs on LinkedIn, so it is paramount to create an active profile so that you can get noticed by the recruiters and network better.

To figure out how to use LinkedIn’s functionalities to rank high on the job search results and what additional tools you can use to improve your profile so that you are exposed to more job prospects, follow these 10 effective LinkedIn tips that’ll help you achieve the desired results.

1. Utilize LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn Groups

Recruiters on LinkedIn regularly join LinkedIn-related groups, either the officially recognized groups or one or more of the various online discussion or mailing list groups, to find potential employees who can work for their company.

LinkedIn Groups are a great platform for similar users to connect and interact, and discuss the industry or different subjects.

The major advantage of using LinkedIn Groups is the extra search functionality provided by the respective groups.

To optimally harness the power of this functionality, you need to join and stay active in the groups by posting relevant subject-related content and answering the questions posed by fellow professionals.

This will demonstrate your subject knowledge and your eagerness to help others, both valuable traits in an employee.

The more active you are, the more visible you’ll be, which will increase your job prospects.

2. Use Third Party Apps to Automate your Group Posts and Schedule Content

Third-party apps such as Hootsuite and Buffer are good services which can link to LinkedIn to schedule and automatically share your posts.

Let’s take a quick look at these apps.

HootSuite

Hootsuite has a much wider social media coverage. Hootsuite can help you:

  1. Auto post on Facebook groups/profiles/business pages, LinkedIn company pages/groups, Google+ pages, Twitter, Foursquare, WordPress, and Mixi.
  2. Ability to share on YouTube, Flickr, Instagram, Tumblr, Blogger, StumbleUpon and much more.
  3. Auto post updates from RSS feeds.
  4. Schedule multiple posts in bulk.

Buffer

Buffer is another popular app which helps you in posting content to your social networks. Publish posts automatically to your social networking sites using its clean and easy-to-use interface.

With Buffer you can:

  • Set up post schedules for different days of the week.
  • Find out when your post gets the most engagement and the type of topics your audience like the most.
  • See how much traffic you get from social media posts through Google Analytics.
  • Buffer also suggests you the topics of the posts you can share on social media.

Sharing on prominent social media networks will increase your visibility and even invite other professionals and recruiters to see add you on LinkedIn.

In fact, most recruiters also go through the employee’s Facebook profile before deciding to hire so it wouldn’t harm you to share content there.

3. Be Open to Accepting LinkedIn Requests from Everyone

LinkedIn, just like any other social media network, values activity and the number of connections one owns.

Having a wide network is the first step for you to get noticed by the LinkedIn community.

In fact, if you have more than 500 connections, your chances of getting a job increases considerably due the fact that when a recruiter is searching for a product, service or skill in your range, they will be shown your profile because they are most likely to have a 1st, 2nd or 3rd connection with you.

LinkedIn stops displaying your number of connections when you go beyond 500 connections.

So, don’t make the mistake of accepting requests from only people you know.

The whole point of LinkedIn is to broaden your network.

By accepting requests from people outside your known circle, you can gain insights into different industries, interact with people from different companies and get a chance to work in your dream company.

4. The Value of a Strong First Impression

It’s been said that you have 10 seconds to make a good impression, which is especially relevant if you are a frequent user of any of the social media channels.

With the emergence of technology, people now have less time and a decreasing attention span. Hence, check off these basic requirements of a good LinkedIn profile to make the recruiter go through your whole profile:

Completed Profile

Did you know that incomplete profiles rank lower in search results than completed ones? Incomplete profiles are also a big turn-off for recruiters since they expect you to at least put in the minimal effort of completing your profile.

  • A complete profile should contain your educational background, certifications, work experiences, summary, extracurricular activities, and much more. Adding endorsements by senior professionals to your profile acts like a letter of recommendation and adds respect and trustworthiness.
  • A completed profile gives an overall view of the person and highlights you as an individual with a lot of strengths and skills. Also, use keywords (but don’t litter your profile with them) when completing your profile.
  • Recruiters make full use of the way the LinkedIn profile format enables members to list what they’re looking for, in terms of positions, business opportunities or collaborations. Hence, fill out more details on your profile and increase your chances of being noticed.

Professional Photo

Profiles that include a photo are 21 times more likely to be seen than those without one. They are also 9 times more likely to receive connection requests. Hence choose a professional, well-lit photo that gives off a polite and professional vibe. Also, add individual pics that don’t contain your family or even your pets.

Connections

Like any social media network, your reach and popularity will be a higher if you have a greater number of connections.

Profiles containing more than 500 connections are much more noticeable than profiles with a less number.

So how do you get to building 500+ connections in your network?

Hint: Don’t just accept requests from known people.

LinkedIn is to expand your professional circle and make networks of people from various industries.

5. Write the Perfect LinkedIn Summary

The summary section on LinkedIn is the perfect place to showcase your achievements and personality briefly. Recruiters consider it the most important section of your profile since it acts as your digital introduction to those viewing your profile.

Create an attention-grabbing headline and summary using the following tips:

1: Include appropriate words and jargon from your industry or subject so that recruiters from the industry can relate to it.

2: Write your LinkedIn summary and imagine how the audience would read it the first time. Avoid the tendency to skim past your summary.

Consider answering the following questions:

  • Does the opening sentence, phrase or heading make you want to read more?
  • Is it authentic – consistent with who you really are?
  • Is it relevant, addressing the needs of the people you are trying to attract (decision-makers and influencers)?
  • Is it compelling? Does it provide interesting facts and statements that make the reader want to get to know you?

6: LinkedIn Salary

LinkedIn Salary

Through LinkedIn Salary, you can filter out the information based on location, years of experience, educational qualifications, etc.

You can get answers to questions like which city pays the highest for your area of interest, or which company pays more for your qualifications.

To get all this information, however, it is mandatory to share your remuneration.

LinkedIn promises to keep your data encrypted.

This data is dependent on the information is given out by the users of LinkedIn so it could be inaccurate.

Even if a handful of the users have lied about their salary, the results can show a false picture.

7: The Power of Boolean Search

Boolean Search

LinkedIn has more than 500 million users, 5 million companies, 25 million SlideShares, member posts and more.

So, when you are searching for someone specific, Boolean Search can help you sort things out quicker.

There are several tools which will help you search exactly what you were looking for such as quotes, and parentheses among others, for example: If you wanted to look for a software developer at XYZ company, you shouldn’t blindly hit software manager in the search term.

Instead, you need to enclose them in double quotes like this: “software manager” so that they are interpreted as one. If you didn’t do this, you’d receive tons of searches for ‘software’ and ‘manager’, but very few for ‘software managers’.

Similarly, use parentheses to combine terms. For example: If you wanted to look for a software manager and a software architect, you can use parentheses to find both! This search string here – Software AND (Engineer OR Architect), would get you the desired result for the above example.

You can also use the operators AND, NOT and OR to create sorting conditions which can filter out the unnecessary information and make your search more productive. Using the AND keyword between 2 terms will include both in the search term, but using the OR keyword will broaden your search and find profiles which include either one of those terms. Instead, if you want to search, but exclude a term, the type that term with an uppercase NOT right before it. The search results will exclude any profile containing that term.
For example:

OR:     “Google Analytics” OR “SEO Analyst”

NOT:   “Google Architect” NOT “Developer”

8: Check LinkedIn Pulse

linkedin_pulse

Pulse is a feature on LinkedIn (also available as a separate mobile app) through which you can share articles.

Get featured on ‘Pulse’ and you can drastically improve your profile views and connections outside of your network.

The articles can even be shared across different social media platforms.

Pulse shows a personalized news feed to its users, which shows them the news about the many industries they are interested in.

Trending content in industries, posts shared by your connections, posts from LinkedIn, etc. are some types of articles that can be found on Pulse.

Hence, write useful content containing an eye catchy title and a few images. This content will get you featured on the various channels on Pulse such as Science, Technology, Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Management etc.

9. Use the ‘Who Viewed Your Profile’ Section

When you view someone’s profile, they can see you in their Who’s Viewed Your Profile list. It’s a great a way to show someone that you’re interested to talk to them.

Sometimes they may even check your profile back, and if this happens, you can be sure that they are interested in you.

You should then send a connection request with a personalized mail. If it’s recruiter, they may even offer you a job in their company or share your profile with someone looking to fill up a position in your domain of expertise.

It’s also a wonderful way to increase your network and make your profile more attractive.

10: Take Advantage of Status Updates

LinkedIn Status Update

Status updates are a prominent feature of every social media network. In fact, statuses take up a lot of screen space, so they are hard to ignore.

LinkedIn status updates attract attention to the following features:

  • Your photo
  • Your name
  • Your title
  • Your business
  • The update itself
  • Massive images
  • Visible engagement metrics

To show off your engaging personality and subject/industry knowledge through the status updates. In fact, LinkedIn reported that job seekers who updated their status weekly were 10 times more likely to be contacted by recruiters.

Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile Can Help You Land That Dream Job

Getting the right job is the first step towards a successful professional career. And by optimizing your LinkedIn profile, you are one step closer to your dream job. Follow the above tips and get a good head start on your career.

Good luck!

This guest blog post was written by Pratik Dalvi, a content strategist, at MiM-Essay. An earlier version of this blog post can be found here.

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