This is a guest post by Sandi Vidal, Executive Director of Christian HELP Foundation. If you’d like to be a guest writer here on Jobtrakr, we would love to have you. Just follow these guest writer guidelines.
As part of my job, I do some employment counseling with professional job seekers. One of my first questions to them is “are you on LinkedIn”. So many times I have heard no, or yes, but I don’t really see the point of using it. I have to say to them you are missing a big opportunity to get connected with your next employer.
LinkedIn is one of, if not the most powerful networking sites out there. Unlike Facebook which tends to be very personal, or twitter which is mostly one sided, LinkedIn gives you an opportunity to have a resume online (even if you have a job), connect with people you want to know and who can help in your search, and has research tools at your fingertips.
Recommendations are another great benefit of using LinkedIn. In a time where references are hard to obtain, recommendations can help you build your case to a hiring manager.
To fully maximize your presence on LinkedIn, make sure your profile is kept up to date and error free. Use it in resume format to highlight your skills and accomplishments. Upload your address book and make connections.
Take the time to personalize the requests you send out to increase your likelihood of being connected. Join groups in your field or areas of interest and participate to add value. Commenting and “liking” are always encouraged. Post relevant articles to engage the other group members and help you to be seen as a subject matter expert.
When applying for jobs though LinkedIn, you can see who is connected to the company, and who is also connected to you. Through your connections, you can ask for facilitated referrals to the decision makers. This can open up doors for you. Employers can also reach out to you.
LinkedIn can also be customized to add in applications such as slide share, your blogs, or other relevant information that would make you more appealing to employers. On the flip side as with all social media, be careful about what you put on your profile. A link to your YouTube videos with your college buddies might not be a good bet.
Websites and social networking sites are only as good as the user makes them. The site will not do the work for you, but used correctly can increase your exposure and help you to make connections and land your next job.
Sandi Vidal is the Executive Director of Christian HELP Foundation, a non-profit devoted to equipping and empowering job seekers in their search. She has over 15 years of recruiting and HR experience including recruiting for Fortune 500 companies.