Online social networks are especially important to us while we can’t easily meet up with others in person.
If Instagram is the platform for interior decorating ideas and Twitter is the platform for staying meme-literate, LinkedIn is the place to make valuable professional connections.
Whether you’re new to the platform or have been on it since you were an undergraduate, this is how to use the platform to make your job hunt faster and more successful.
Transform your profile
The more detailed and complete your LinkedIn profile, the more you’re going to stand out as a candidate. Make sure all your previous roles have descriptions, the dates are accurate and complete, your profile picture is professional, your skills are up to date, and any extra achievements, languages, volunteering, and extra qualifications are mentioned.
Want to go even further with your LinkedIn profile? Craft a description and professional summary that tells your industry’s community exactly who you are and what you bring.
Read, watch, and learn
Nearly every sector or industry has its ‘thought leaders’ – experienced professionals with valuable opinions and perspectives. Follow your sector’s major players on LinkedIn to hear about new industry developments, learn from their career trajectory, and see when and how they’re making their hiring decisions.
The most interesting and educational people on LinkedIn aren’t necessarily at the very top of their industry (though they’re a pretty good start!) Look for the innovators, people on a similar path to yourself, and anyone constantly developing themselves.
Set up LinkedIn job alerts
Many employers advertise new roles on LinkedIn, some exclusively. If you’re already searching the main hiring platforms like Indeed, Total Jobs and Reed, make sure LinkedIn is added to your list. If you’re searching for the same kind of roles in a similar location, set up alerts and you won’t miss anything.
Post as regularly as you can
Not everyone has time to run an extensive social media campaign to promote themselves, but some well-timed posts can get you in front of more people when you’re trying to make connections in your industry.
Helped to spearhead something important within your team? Tell people about it. Have some thoughts on a recent industry trend? Post them. The more active you are, the more likely you are to be memorable to people and potentially hear about unadvertised roles through the industry grapevine.
Check your privacy settings
A super secure, locked down LinkedIn profile isn’t going to be seen by many people. Change your settings so you’re more visible.
You can choose to notify your network when you update your profile and make your posts visible to anyone on the platform rather than just your connections. You can also edit what’s hidden on your profile and update your URL so your name is easier to search.
Connect with people you’ve met before
Spamming people with messages rarely works on LinkedIn. Connecting with the CEO of a company you’d really like to work with is unlikely to get you very far, mainly because they probably get hundreds of messages every week.
It’s much more meaningful (and less time consuming!) to connect with people you’ve met, know through another colleague, or crossed paths with even briefly. As long as you have some kind of link or existing real-life connection, it’s a good reason to connect on LinkedIn. LinkedIn connections are designed to link people to other people, giving you a better chance of interacting with someone who has decision-making power in your industry.
LinkedIn can be incredibly useful for job seekers if they use it well. Make your profile work for you, connect with a meaningful network, and post when you can to push yourself in front of the right people.
About the author
Andrew Fennell is the founder of CV writing advice website StandOut CV – he is a former recruitment consultant and contributes careers advice to websites like Business Insider, The Guardian and FastCompany.
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