Jul 24

Using LinkedIn to Your Advantage

LinkedIn has emerged to become the social network for professionals and job seekers.  If you don’t already have a LinkedIn profile, you could be hurting your chances at landing your dream job.  But, you may ask, what is LinkedIn about, and how best do I use it?

It’s no secret that a good number of people are hired as a result of a recommendation from someone they know rather than through a blind application process.  The more solid your network, the greater the likelihood that you will make the connection you need to land your next job.  But, networking can be hard work, and the days of exchanging business cards are almost over.  These days, networking happens far more frequently through the internet.

Your primary objective with a LinkedIn profile is to sell your personal brand. This is done by expanding your network of influence and highlighting your skills, experience and value to potential employers and/or clients.  It’s essentially a living resume.  Actually, LinkedIn is sort of like a combination of a resume and informal drinks after work with your peers.  There is definitely a social element to social networking that is just as important as making contacts in the first place.

Once you have signed up with LinkedIn, be sure to flesh out your complete profile. Highlight contributions you have made to employers, skills and education you have achieved, professional associations with whom you are affiliated, etc.

Next, make as many LinkedIn contacts as you can. Take advantage of LinkedIn tools for finding other members you may know by their email addresses or names.  Search LinkedIn for other professionals in your field or trade association. The more contacts you make, the greater your reach.

Personal recommendations are key. Don’t be afraid to ask a contact for an endorsement. You’ll have the best results if you take the initiative to endorse others first.  Be a valuable contributor for your contacts.

Finally, share on LinkedIn regularly.  Use the status update feature to provide valuable and/or interesting information and to respond to others. Engage your contacts in conversations. Share job leads. Promote the services of your contacts to others who might be looking for those services.  Basically, be a contact that people are pleased to know, and they will reciprocate.

Good luck, and see you on LinkedIn!