LinkedIn: The Job Site for People Who (Wink, Wink) Aren’t Looking for Jobs

by Todd Raphael

LinkedIn’s a paradox. It’s a place for recruiting people who aren’t looking to be recruited. And it’s a place for finding jobs — especially if you’re not trying too hard to find a job.

I talk about these oddities in the 9 1/2-minute podcast below, with Coleen Byrne. She’s a sales director, most recently with Yahoo, and is the co-author of a new book for job-seekers called The Web 2.0 Job Finder. We also talk about the interesting advice people are getting with respect to creating a LinkedIn profile, as well as some mistakes job-seekers make when using LinkedIn.

Listen to the ERE Podcast

Brand yourself, LinkedIn tells job hunters

CAREER networking site LinkedIn’s record float this week may have had analysts using it as a litmus test of the value of social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

But for its Australian head of communications Tara Commerford the comparison is not one the company is keen to make.

The corporate message is that social networks are for play but at LinkedIn the networking is for serious business – one that is now valued at about $US10 billion ($9.4 billion).

Ms Commerford is the publicist on the ground for the US web juggernaut, spruiking to Australian and New Zealand companies, marketers, recruiters and ad agencies on how best to use the service, which allows users to meet and share their resumes with prospective employers online.

She says success today means marketing yourself effectively and surrounding yourself with people from a range of industries for support, right down to the individual.

“I’ve never secured a role in a conventional way,” she says. “Never via a job board and always through networking, a recommendation or word of mouth.

“We call it ‘Brand You’ – every individual is now a brand so make sure you’re sending out the right messages. Learn as much as you can, as fast as you can and keep up to date with changes in digital trends.”

Ms Commerford said it was a practice LinkedIn made sure to use internally to provide opportunities for staff to excel at the company and for later if they move on.

But for all the faith in digital networks and communications there’s one technology that seems to trump them all – the jet plane – for getting to meetings at head office in Silicon Valley three to four times a year.

“It’s invaluable to have that face to face time with my boss (VP Corporate Communications) and other members of the public relations and marketing teams,” Ms Commerford says.

“We’re all about connecting talent with opportunity at massive scale so the breadth of the opportunity is huge and the challenge is exciting.

LinkedIn last year opened an office in Australia, where it has more than one million users.

“We have a truly international office – I was the second Australian to join. Our MD is South African, we have an expat from our Mountain View headquarters heading Hiring Solutions, and a Brit heading our Marketing Solutions team,” Ms Commerford says.

She said some days started at 4.30am with a conference call to the global team. She tries to answer emails early enough to catch the US operatives in the office and later on – whether through Skype or email – it’s time to liaise with offices in the UK and India.

“I can be doing media outreach one day and organising event sponsorship the next,” she says. “Every day is different, it’s extremely rewarding.”

Branding Yourself Through LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the leading social networking site for professionals and offers countless opportunities for both building your brand, as well as for advancing your career and career search.
Here are just some of the ways that you can leverage this network’s features to more effectively establish credibility and communicate your personal brand:

Profile

Complete Your Profile: Take the profile creation process seriously and follow LinkedIn’s suggested steps to complete your profile 100%. Add a professional picture/head shot and fill in key information and work and education history from your resume that strengthen your personal brand and desired reputation. The more complete and compelling your profile is, the more professional and credible you will appear to your profile visitors.

Subtitle: Depending on the reputation you would like to have and area of interest and/or expertise you are pursuing, choose professional, yet intriguing title(s) for yourself. Whether you have a different full-time job or not, list that you’re an author, a blogger, founder of an organization or community, an entrepreneur or any other appropriate and relevant designation. Also, include your unique one word or phrase personal brand and possibly any certifications or advanced degrees as these can increase your credibility.

Summary: While not everything that you would want to share to build your reputation can be included in your work history, your profile’s summary section is a great place to detail your personal brand, list your awards, press or media you have received, books you have written, organizations you have founded, blogs you write and manage, and anything else that sums up the unique value you have to offer others.

Customize Your Website Links: Use your external profile links to connect your profile viewers to your website, blog, company site, online resume or other networking profiles as this will help promote other platforms on which you are creating and contributing value.

Recommendations: Ask for brief recommendations from as many past supervisors, co-workers, classmates, customers etc. as possible, especially from people whose testimonials of your work would support your personal brand and reputation. Recommendations or testimonials for a blog itself from partners, readers, clients, community members, customers etc. also increase your credibility.

Groups

Join Groups: LinkedIn allows you to join up to 50 groups. There are groups for every industry, functional area, association, company, university, event and more. Groups allow you to engage with professionals beyond your profile. Joining groups also can help expand your visibility and messaging access to individuals as you begin to increase your network.

Contribute: There are numerous ways you can contribute value to the groups you join, including contributing high-value articles and commentary both as new discussion threads and as responses to others. The more value and insight you can contribute, the more credible and professional you will come across.

Start Groups: If there seems to be a niche area with no current group, don’t hesitate to start one up. It will take some work to grow it; however, it might be an opportunity for you to establish yourself as a community founder and leader while creating a community opportunity for your blog readers to join. If starting a group isn’t up your alley, consider helping moderate a group to get more involved. Send a message to one or more group owners and ask them if there are some ways you could contribute as part of the group administration.

More Advice and Complete Blogaristo Article

5 Tips To Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile

Today I want to cover how to optimize your LinkedIn profile so that people can find you.

Use Keywords In Your Headline
Your headline is the first thing people see when they go to your LinkedIn profile. Unless you change it, your headline will appear as your current or last position held.
Since this headline will appear in various places on LinkedIn, you want it to be more descriptive. The LinkedIn algorithm seems to put a lot of emphasis on the words used in the headline when ranking people, so make sure your headline includes your USP, benefits your company offers or your geographic location if you serve a specific area.

Include Keywords In Your Summary
After the headline, your summary is the first place that people will learn about you. Your summary is your elevator pitch. Make sure it looks clean and professional, while including the top keywords that you want to target.

Customize The Web Sites Option
So many people have this set to the default option (personal web site., company web site). LinkedIn allows you to make these more descriptive by using keywords as you can see below.

To do this, when adding your website select “other” from the drop-down menu and then manually key in your website title. Next paste your URL into the appropriate field and click “Save Changes.” You can do this with up to three (3) websites.

Tips 4 – 5 and Complete Article

10 Things I Know About… LinkedIn

By Susan LaPlante-Dube

10. BASICS WORK
The free, basic LinkedIn account is a great starting place. Maximize this level before paying for enhanced services.

9. It Is Networking
All the rules of traditional networking apply. You need to build relationships. You cannot barge into conversations, ask for recommendations from people who do not know you well, or link to strangers to build your connections.

8. OPTIMIZE
Make the most of LinkedIn’s powerful search feature — use your keywords throughout your profile and company page. Include them in your summary, specialties, web links, company description and job title.

7. FIND/SHARE EVENTS
Click “Events” from the “More” menu to find events your connections are attending, to share events you’re attending or hosting and to search for relevant events.

6. COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION
Groups are a great way to listen to conversations and increase visibility. Choose three to five groups and add value with your input. Answer questions, share insights, support members, but no selling!

5. BE A THOUGHT LEADER
LinkedIn Answers lets you answer specific challenges and questions posed by members. Select “Answers” in the search drop down and enter a phrase related to your expertise.

Things 4 – 1 and Complete Article

Making LinkedIn Work for You

By Sue Shellenbarger


Some Juggle commenters have asked for a post on the professional networking website LinkedIn. The site passed 100 million users in March and continues to grow by about one million members a week. Its public offering this week is drawing even more attention.

Non-users of LinkedIn may wonder, why bother? Posting a profile, keeping it updated, building and maintaining your network of connections, and responding to messages takes time.


Of course, LinkedIn can help you find a job and research prospective employers by contacting current and former employees. Recruiters use it heavily to find what they call “passive candidates” who are open to new opportunities but not actively looking.


But even if you aren’t looking for a job, LinkedIn is a tool for displaying your work and credentials to colleagues and potential clients, gathering intelligence about trends and competitors from others in your industry or profession, and keeping in touch with alumni and other groups that matter to you. Also, if you lose your job unexpectedly, having your LinkedIn network up-and-running is a big asset.


The first step is to sign up and create a profile. The profile should be briefer than your resume, but it should include current and past employers, education, a professional-looking head shot (no party or beach candids, recruiters say), and any relevant affiliations appropriate for listing on a resume. Try to include details that will set you apart. “We are searching through tens of millions of people on LinkedIn, so include the thing that makes you different and unique,” says Steven Raz, managing partner of Cornerstone Search Group, a search firm.


It is also OK to include a little personal information that would be suitable for your resume, such as being an avid runner, says J. P. Sniffen, a regional recruiting manager for the recruiting firm Orion International.


Keep your profile up-to-date, and don’t make the common mistake of failing to delete outdated versions. Recruiters sometimes call these up by mistake, thinking they are current. Another common error is failing to respond to messages, which can create a negative impression, says Corey Ackerman, a senior partner at Cornerstone.


Strengthening your LinkedIn network is worthwhile. The more contacts you have, the more likely you are to get job interviews. Also, employers are likely to review your contact list to see who you know at what levels and in what industries, a measure of your networking skills, says Don Kjelleren, director of career services at Middlebury College. Many LinkedIn users maintain dozens to hundreds of contacts.
LinkedIn poses a risk that your boss will notice your profile or activities, assume you are jobhunting and hold it against you. A vigilant boss may wonder why you are connecting with a human-resource manager at a competitor, for example. Or “a significant change in activity level, such as new recommendations or changes to your profile, it could look suspicious” to your boss, says Laura Poisson, a vice president at ClearRock, an executive coaching and outplacement firm.


Mr. Sniffen says “it happens all the time:” An unemployed jobseeker calls to say he is out of work because the boss discovered via LinkedIn that he was looking around.


Recruiters offer tips on reducing the risk. Consider making a pre-emptive strike: Tell your boss that you are active on LinkedIn for networking purposes, to share ideas and information, to get help solving work-related problems, or to stay in touch with alumni or professional groups, Mr. Sniffen says. Be consistent in updating your profile and contacts, so a sudden flurry of contacts from recruiters or prospective employers won’t be so conspicuous. And if you receive a LinkedIn job query, consider responding via your personal e-mail or phone. Some users post their personal e-mail addresses on their profiles, enabling prospective employers to contact them that way.


More Tips and Complete WSJ Article