For the uninitiated, LinkedIn is essentially an online CV and personal statement with a twist. Used mainly by professionals in all fields, LinkedIn gives you an opportunity to strut your virtual stuff to employers the world over from the comfort of home. It is also an extremely valuable networking tool that when used correctly – can produce some rather awesome opportunities.
Setting yourself up…
Getting set up on LinkedIn is just about as easy as it gets. Simply register on the site for a free profile and you’re away! But beware: the challenging part of the process is accurately and skillfully representing yourself and what you stand for professionally.
Who are you?
While you might be tempted just to upload your CV and leave it at that. Don’t. You have to ensure people stay on your profile long enough to realise you are perfect for the job. Listing your skills as well as hobbies and professional interests can all help your personality come across. You can even add documents for an online portfolio of your work.
Your profile is your tool to finding the right job – or being found by the right employer. But how?
I’m over here!
First ensure your job title, or previous title if you are currently unemployed, contains keywords of the type of job you want. This way LinkedIn will suggest jobs that have been posted with that title, and your profile will come up in searches by recruiters.
What are your options?
After settling for nothing less than the perfect, ego-stroking description of yourself and your career, you can start adding previous colleagues and companies to your profile. Adding connections means you will turn up in more search results. The more you come up in searches, the higher the chance you will be found by the exact person to help you to greatness.
When you’re ready to search for jobs, simply click on the ‘Jobs’ tab and begin the task at hand. There are, according to LinkedIn, two million companies looking for employees on the site right now. And while you are looking for them, they are also looking for you.
Keeping it fresh
Don’t be lazy! If you are using LinkedIn to find a job or further your career then do it well. Make sure you keep it up to date. Get recommendations from people you have worked with, but remember this is more powerful when coming from clients not colleagues. You don’t want to look like you have gone around the office asking to be talked up…
When it comes to your profile picture, keep it professional. However don’t make yourself look like you have no personality. Use a good quality photo that shows you smiling casually but avoid having a drink in hand! Remember: this isn’t Facebook.
Be part of the “in” crowd
There are plenty of groups and forums to join that should prove veritable fountains of knowledge about any job-related questions you may have. If you are interested in CV advice, you’ll find it. If you are interested in working in Australia, you’ll find that right here. Joining groups related to your industry of interest can really boost your networking opportunities. The possibilities are just about endless. Why not get researching here?
If you are going to become a LinkedIn maestro and bend it to your will then just remember a few simple things. Ensure you have the correct privacy settings enabled. You don’t want to end up the subject of a tragically amusing news story. If your current employer sees you joining a jobseeking forum or that you are “currently looking for work”, you may be in for a frosty Monday chat with your boss.
However if you are unemployed and seeking a new job, remember that employers have full access to just about everything. They can see your connections, your joined groups and the bits in-between.
So get to it and show the world what you’ve got to offer. Professionally of course.