Wednesday, September 19, 2012

15 LinkedIn Tips to Improve Your Job Search

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Using LinkedIn strategically can help give you an edge over your competition. But where do you start? CIO.com has put together this list of tips to help you get the most out of your LinkedIn experience.

1. Temporarily Shut Off Activity Broadcasts
When you make a change to your LinkedIn profile, such as adding a past work experience, LinkedIn broadcasts this activity to your connections' streams. If you don't want people to see that you are updating your profile, you need to temporarily shut off this feature. To start, click on Settings from the menu under your name in the upper right-hand corner.

In the "Profile" tab, click "Turn on/off your activity broadcasts." In the popup that appears, uncheck the box and click save.

Note: Don't forget to go back to this setting and check the box once you have fully updated your profile.

2. Add Keywords
In a Forbes article, General Manager of Lock Search Group, Peter Zukow had this to say, "We have 35 recruitment consultants" "Different recruiters have adapted to different strategies but all of our consultants have adapted LinkedIn." Recruiters, employers and school admissions officers search through LinkedIn and other career sites using keywords to target potential hires or students. That's why keywords are important throughout your entire profile, but especially in the "Specialties" section. That's why you should invest some time to choose your keywords. Think here about what terms might be important to potential employers. To boost your chances of being found by prospective companies, align your keywords with the role you are trying to get into.
There are several keyword tools available and you should use more than one. Here are several free ones that should do the trick.
Google AdWords
WordStream Keyword Tool
KeywordEye
KeywordSpy
SEMRush

3. Update Your Photo
Recruiters and employers regularly look through LinkedIn to find candidates and a professional picture sets the right tone. So it's time to update that old photo of you in a concert t-shirt. Find the most professional looking picture of you and crop it to a head shot. Once you have chosen a photo it's time to upload it to your LinkedIn profile. This can be found by clicking on Profile -> Edit Profile and then clicking on "Edit Photo" in the upper left hand corner of your page.

4. Update your Professional 'Headline'
Your headline, located just beneath your name, is set by default to populate this field by grabbing your most recent job title, which isn't always in your best interest. This is the first thing people will see when visiting your page and as always first impressions are often the most important. Since you can only make one first impression, this message needs to be clear succinct, meaningful and tell people what you are about. Use one or at most two of your top keywords in your headline.

5. Let Your Personality Shine
Your "Profile Summary" is where you can show a bit of personality. Some people copy and paste their cover letter into this section; others use their resume summary. According to Zukow that's not enough, he recommends adding as much relevant data as needed. Your job here is to get readers to take notice and compel them to want to know more about you. Include your accomplishments, your experience and technological prowess. You have 2000 characters here--make them count. Use them all if necessary and sprinkle in keywords where possible. There are many samples available with a simple Google search.

6. Build Your Connections and Connect With Groups
Get out there with the people in your field and interact--that's what social networking is all about. That doesn't mean "connect" with every person, targeting the right people is paramount to your success. Be selective and choose respected colleagues, industry experts, potential clients and the people they work with and so on. In an article from Forbes.com entitled, Recruiters Say: Avoid LinkedIn At Your Peril, Kathleen Yazbak, partner at Executive search firm, Bridgespan Group, had this to say, "using LinkedIn to be strategic about expanding your network is just plain smart."
Involve yourself in a group or two relevant to the position you would like to be in. Groups are found in the top navigation bar and are easy to use. LinkedIn has recommended one's available. These are located in the top navigation--click Groups and then, Groups You May Like. To search on your own click on Groups and then Groups Directory. There are, at the time of this article, 1418650 results or groups. Use the filters in the left column to drill down to the groups that interest you.
Add content to groups when possible and contribute to ongoing conversations. Doing so will not only help you learn more, it will also help you network with people that could potentially hire or recommend you down the road. Which leads us to number 7...

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