To find a job, you’ve GOT to be on social media. It makes sense, since according to Forbes Magazine, 90 percent of employers plan to use social media sites to recruit employees. Social media sites give a much larger and truer picture of a person than a carefully crafted resume. Social media sites, like LinkedIn exist to make connections. While you search for jobs online, employers are searching for the real you on LinkedIn.
You in 3-D
While resumes are two-dimensional, LinkedIn makes you come alive. Some basic setup tips:
- Update your resume and upload it to your profile. Keep it updated as you add skills, related training and volunteer work.
- Use a current picture. This isn’t Facebook, so no group pictures of you and your friends drinking margaritas in Jamaica. Let your personality shine through. Invest in a good photographer or enlist a talented friend.
- Keep the Experience section to the last 10 years. If you are changing careers, and all your relevant experience was over 10 years ago, highlight it first in the Summary section.
STATUS: I NEED A JOB!!!
Status updates are not for desperate pleas. Of course you need a job, but you’re looking for, “new opportunities,” or “changing your career path,” or some other phrase that conveys a calm, measured, confident decision. Status updates are often sent as emails to your connections, and that’s all they will see, not your stunning profile. Keep them positive and upbeat.
Start adding connections. Think of LinkedIn as a huge online networking event with a twist. Instead of trying to find three or four influential people at a live event, you can simply send invites to bring them into your circle. Start with the people who already know you as talented professional — former co-workers, managers, classmates, teammates and clients. Once connected, you’ll have access to their list of connections, and you’re off to the races. You may find an influential executive at a target Company is connected to a close friend. Ask if they will introduce you, or send an invite directly. The more connections you make, the more opportunity for your resume, profile and career objectives to be viewed by prospective employers.
Ask and You Shall Receive
Your last boss thought you walked on water, so ask her for a referral. Positive referrals are priceless, and validate what you say about yourself in your resume and profile. Return the favor, and write a referral for your boss as well.
Group discussions are an opportunity to share your expertise, answer questions and get noticed. Search the Groups tab for companies in your target industry or profession. Join in discussions and answer questions. Many Groups have job listings, and you can get inside information and see if you have any close connections to anyone in that company. Since 80 percent of jobs come from referrals, this is a perfect way to use connections to generate introductions and referrals to the right people.
Do Your Homework
Once you have an interview, use LinkedIn to research the company and key individuals involved in the hiring process You may have connections at the company who can give you the inside scoop on the job or hiring manager. Review the company’s LinkedIn profile for the latest news, new hires or hot issues.
Beware of “The Dark Side”
Your positive connection may also be connected to someone who thinks you are a real jerk. You can decline invites, but you can’t control someone who is investigating you. If you said you resigned from your last job, it won’t be too difficult for someone to find out that you were really fired. Keep things honest. It’s always the best course.
Mary Nestor-Harper, SPHR, spent over seven years as a human resources director and is a career coach, consultant and freelance writer focusing on how to land your dream job in a tough employment market.