By Kushaan Shah, Founding Executive Director of Social Rise
Have you ever used the Internet to find information about a stranger? Ever judged people on their social media profiles? Have you Googled yourself?
You’re not alone. Most employers are doing this every day to filter job candidates. In a recent survey, 93 percent of recruiters admitted to searching candidates’ LinkedIn profiles. Of those, 42 percent said they reconsidered a candidate based on their findings – positive or negative.
What does that mean for you? Being visible on LinkedIn can help you stay up to date in your job search, connect with others, research companies, and stay positive: you get the opportunity in your profile to make up for gaps in education or work experience by sharing your story and passion.
Where do you start? Try these Eight quick tips:
1. Create or Update Your Profile
Make sure you have your current work experience, location, skills and summary filled out on your LinkedIn profile. The more you fill out, the easier it is to learn more about you. Do you have volunteer experience? Certifications? Have you written a blog article? Include as much as you can to boost your position as a job candidate. Be sure to also have an up-to-date professional picture to make your profile shine.
2. Add a Strong Summary
The summary is one of the most elements of your profile. This is your chance to craft a story that explains your past and future professional interests. If you’re working as a cashier but want to work in teaching, use your summary to explain why.
Fun fact about LinkedIn: It operates much like a search engine. The more specific words you put in your profile, the easier it is for people to find you. This is what separates LinkedIn from a traditional resume. Using the word “teach” will lead people to your profile. If you’re stuck, try these summary templates. Be sure to also include extracurricular experiences and contact information so people can get in touch!
3. Use Your Headline
This is the one part of your LinkedIn profile that shows up when people search you. Make sure it tells a potential connection enough to know who you are and what you want. If you are searching for a job, put that in the headline. Recruiters search words like “seeking opportunity” and “job hunting” every day to find those looking for jobs. Being specific can only help you here!
4. Research People & Companies
Are you scheduled to have an interview with a hiring manager? Have coffee with the executive of a company? Use LinkedIn to learn more about them and their company so you can offer interesting insights in your conversation. What makes their products, services, and work exciting? LinkedIn can be a big glass door in finding out what makes companies and people tick. Remember that earning trust is a big part of getting hired at any company and people who spend time perfecting their LinkedIn will be impressed that you were able to learn from it!
Once your profile is done, you need to connect! Connections are essential to your LinkedIn profile and network. Many introductions to employers can come from current connections and members of your professional network. Start with your family, friends, neighbors, and work colleagues; move on to connecting with employers you meet at a job fair and anyone who you want to keep a professional relationship with. If someone gives you a business card, they are fair game. If meeting people at events, make sure to connect within 24 hours so you are fresh in their mind.
The burning question: How aggressively should you connect with people you don’t know and have never met? It all depends. Keep in mind that reaching out to connect with strangers becomes more favorable when you have clear intentions. Is it a hiring manager where you want to work? Someone whose career path is similar to yours and you want to learn from? Drop them a personal message and most will be happy to consider. Remember: 80% of jobs are gotten on referral; your chances skyrocket when you have an inside resource.
6. Find Groups That Excite You
Did you know you can message anyone if you are in the same group on LinkedIn? Groups are a great way to enter conversations and find people that have similar interests along with industry connections (networking!). Groups give people a reason to connect with you because you have something in common! Your listed groups can also help a potential employer understand what interests you. If you join groups like “Teachers Networking Group” and “National Science Teachers Association,” people will see that you are serious.
7. Get Endorsed
Don’t be afraid to ask for endorsements and recommendations. If you have a colleague who can attest to something you did, a classmate who applauded you on a project, or a Byte Back instructor who mentions that you performed admirably in a class, use this to your advantage. Everyone can see your public endorsements – this is a great way to reduce the impact of any flaws in your work experience.
8. Keep Your Profile Up To Date
Your presence on LinkedIn is now just beginning. The most important step now is to log in regularly to keep your profile updated, build relationships with your connections, and look for opportunities.
It does take effort and persistence to keep a strong LinkedIn presence, but getting connected is one of the best ways to search for a job in 2015. Have more questions on LinkedIn? Leave them in the comments or email firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will be glad to help you answer them!
Our guest blogger Kushaan Shah is the founder of Social Rise, focused on digital literacy through social media and supporting better digital access for all. Social Rise strives to help community members share their stories, build networks, and create new opportunities.