Using LinkedIn to Find a Job

Question:

I keep hearing that LinkedIn is the new big thing for job search. So I started a LinkedIn account and put in my job history (the job titles, companies, and years I worked there.) I also put in my college information. I’m done, right? I can just wait for the job offers to roll in now.

Answer:

Nothing is ever that easy, is it?

It sounds like you’re off to a good start. Many people do exactly what you’ve just done, and then abandon their profile. They are not getting the most benefit out of LinkedIn, though.

If you have not yet uploaded a photo of you at your professional best, do so ASAP. You’ll also need to create a headline that promotes you and shows others how you can help them. Along with your name, these are the most important parts of your LinkedIn profile, because they are the parts the employer sees first when he’s searching LinkedIn for people to hire.

You should also have a great Summary (the part under your headline.) It’s similar to the Professional Profile or Career Highlights section you should have at the top of your resume: your greatest accomplishments and successes. You can even include a link to something you’ve created.

Don’t stop there, either. Fill out those job entries with your accomplishments. Don’t focus too much on your daily duties; you want to show employers how you can help them succeed at whatever they’re trying to do.

There are lots of other sections that may be helpful to you as well. Do you speak another language? Do you volunteer? Have a patent? A project? There are places in LinkedIn for all of those and more. Take the time to fill them out. Show other LinkedIn users what you can do.

Once your profile is up to snuff, you’ll want to connect with other LinkedIn users: people you’ve worked or volunteered with, folks in your field, old friends from school, etc. Be sure to connect with them from their profile and personalize the connection request; don’t just click on any Connect button you see.

Yes, it’s a lot of work, and it will take a lot of time. Unfortunately, job search is not a very good place to save time and energy. The more you put into your LinkedIn profile, the better it will serve you.

If you want to learn more ways LinkedIn can speed your job search along, come to The LinkedIn Connection at the American Job Center. Check our Events Calendar for the next class.

Julie Anderson