Five Essential Online Social Networking Tips: How to Use LinkedIn to Your Advantage

January 24, 2011

From Job and Career Accelerator
by Miriam Salpeter

LinkedIn is more than a place to publish and store your resume online. It is a network that offers an opportunity to connect with thousands (even millions) of people who provide the potential for job leads and hiring opportunities.

For those who view LinkedIn as a “set it and forget it” network, it is time to revisit a site that is constantly updating and reinventing itself, and providing new tools for job seekers. Here are five of LinkedIn’s best features that jobseekers may be overlooking:

1. Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter of Career Trend collected several ideas to help use LinkedIn well, including advice from Hannah Morgan, career consultant and strategist at Career Sherpa, to “selectively join and participate in LinkedIn groups where you can give and receive value.” It is easy to join groups on LinkedIn. Just click on “groups” in the top navigation bar. LinkedIn even suggests “groups you may like” and provides a searchable directory. There are bound to be multiple potential groups to join, but it is a good idea to be selective. Encourage jobseekers to review groups and assess:

  • How many members belong?
  • How active the group is. How many posts and news items are listed? Do people seem actively engaged?
  • Is the group carefully monitored? While a group that requires permission to join may seem like an unwelcome barrier, it is a sign that someone cares a lot about the group, and is willing to invest time in making sure it is useful and its membership is monitored.

Have job seekers choose several groups to join that seem to promise ongoing interaction, and then participate actively. Review contributions, make comments, add news and discussion items, and answer questions. Doing so helps raise a job seeker’s profile in a community of his or her peers, and may make it more likely to learn about useful job leads.

2.Did you know that you can follow companies on LinkedIn? Have job seekers navigate to the “More” tab on LinkedIn’s toolbar and select companies from the dropdown. This feature makes it easy to learn when people either join or leave an organization. Following a company also allows a job seeker to review activity from the organization’s employees. A user may be able to learn when and where a company’s employees are speaking at events, what conferences they attend, and what books they read (depending on how many share and update this information on their profiles).

3. LinkedIn recently introduced several new sections as part of their profiles. A user may now include the following information in its own section, which helps make it easier for people to find and search. Be sure to have job seekers add these sections to their profiles if they are relevant:

  • Certifications
  • Languages
  • Patents
  • Publications
  • Skills

4. Job seekers should use all of their LinkedIn real estate to their advantage. By only including basic information or a few sentences in the summary and specialties sections, prime real estate is wasted.  It is important to include details that will make it easier for people to find the job seeker. I strongly suggest completing a profile with in-depth information that anyone who might want to hire a job seeker will find useful.

5. Remember, recruiters and employers will only find a job seeker if they use keywords in their profile. Craig Fisher, a former recruiter and current Vice President of Business Development at People Report explains, “As a job seeker, you need keywords in your Linkedin profile that will be specific to your niche, in order to help separate yours from the hundreds of less targeted profiles….Having these listed multiple times in your profile will help it come up at the top of the search results.”

Following these suggestions will help ensure that a job seeker is using LinkedIn’s tools to his or her best advantage!  It will also help to insure that one’s main areas of interests and skills are appropriately matched with the correct job leads and contacts, and ultimately the best job.

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Did you know that the Career Center has a Student and Alumni Career Mentor Network group on LinkedIn? To learn more about how you can join, please click here.




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