Posted by Brian McCullough
LinkedIn.com is one of the fastest growing recruiting tools currently used by Headhunters and Professionals alike. If you are used to networking and taking advantage of business meet and greets, then you can expand your networks and your professional name by using LinkedIn. If you are still coming to grips with how to network or even what it is – then LinkedIn provides a great base on which you can build for your “offline” world. If you become savvy at using LinkedIn as a professional advancement tool then your opportunities are exponential.
Why use LinkedIn to get recruited?
Headhunters are now using LinkedIn as one of their primary tools to source new talent for Employers. Business Owners and Employers have also become aware of just how useful LinkedIn is to search for talented professionals to fill positions – cutting out the middle man and major advertising costs. Over 130,000 recruitment agents including representatives from all of the Fortune 500 Companies are using LinkedIn to source their future employees and contractors.
Professionals who have developed their LinkedIn Profiles and are working on their connections report on receiving at least a contact a week from either Headhunters or Employers who have found them through LinkedIn. This is a great tool to advertise your skills to a much larger audience and also provides opportunities for networking yourself into your Company of choice. As you familiarize yourself with LinkedIn you will start to realize how this site and your connections can provide a personal introduction to the right person at the right time.
How does LinkedIn work?
Heard of six degrees of separation? LinkedIn works on the principle that by you inviting your contacts to join you on LinkedIn, you also gain access to their contacts and so on and so forth. Firstly, this builds up membership as a lightening pace (over 25 million users currently). Secondly, this creates a huge community of people who can professionally assist each other. LinkedIn is a professional driven social networking site, so no video uploads of late night opinions or family pics – just professionals linking in to each other.
How do I get started using LinkedIn for Professional Advancement?
A Basic Membership on LinkedIn.com is free. You just need to join and fill in your profile. If you’re serious about using LinkedIn to get recruited, and then take the time to set up your profile properly, in the same vain you would offer your CV to a Recruitment Agent.
The next step is to start connecting! LinkedIn operates interactive tools that can upload your address book from various email programs including Outlook and web based mail programs. These tools automatically identify any members of your address book that are already LinkedIn members. Go through and carefully choose who you want to invite to become a connection.
Note: Your Connections will be visible to the rest of your connections.
You can also reconnect with old classmates and colleagues by using the Colleague Reconnect and Classmate Reconnect tools. This is a great way to expand your connections and you never know who may be working for what potential employer. Profiles with over 20 connections have an increased chance of success.
TIP: Don’t just enter someone’s email address or business card into your contact manager – see if they are also on LinkedIn. A few minutes a month can provide you a huge network of connections that can access your profile.
How can I use LinkedIn to get recruited?
Here are a few fast tips on how to optimize your chances for being recruited through LinkedIn. They are relevant to both individuals who want professional advancement, freelancing or consulting professionals and business owners who want to expand their reach:
- Don’t just sit on your profile – work your colleagues, former employers, clients and professional contacts for recommendations. Having recommendations on your LinkedIn profile is gold in terms of recruitment. You can also use your LinkedIn profile as a central repository for recommendations rather than having to re-contact your referees each time you apply for a job. Business can also use this as a tool to centralize their testimonials for prospective clients. You can then refer potential employers to your LinkedIn profile to view recommendations.
- Use keywords when you are preparing your Profile, take advantage of search engine optimization wherever possible, while still ensuring your profile looks professional. For example systems analyst familiar with business intelligence software – work at getting the attention of your target audience. If you are running a professional or promotional blog, you can connect your blogs URL to your LinkedIn profile. Again – keywords – professional. You can also personalize your LinkedIn profile by customizing the URL to reflect your name and ensure you allow your full profile to be viewed by public users. LinkedIn is a friend of the major search engines – giving you the chance of a higher return on search results.
- You can download the JobInsider toolbar from LinkedIn. If you are searching for open positions on many of the known jobsites, then the JobInsider toolbar gives you an inside track. When you view a listing, JobInsider will search for your inside connections in the prospective company. Using your connections you can gain inside information, advice and maybe even a helping recommendation.
- Join relevant groups – you can join professional, alumni, industry and corporate alumni groups listed on LinkedIn. This is a great way to exhibit your profile and increase your connections. You can also create groups – bringing together your own major network of liked minded professionals.
- People have had amazing results from just simply asking and answering questions using the Q & A tool on LinkedIn. Try for credibility rather than self promotion.
- Take the few milliseconds to keep an eye on the LinkedIn notices that come into your inbox. It’s useful insider intelligence to watch who’s connecting to whom and what your friends, colleagues and former bosses are doing. Pretty soon with a large enough network you can start to build your connections in the right direction.
- There are also mega connection boosting sites such as www.toplinked.com. Offering to help you expand your connections exponentially as long as you agree to some basic conditions, such as never declining an invitation to connect to someone referred by the site. Remember the more connections, the better opportunities for professional advancement and likelihood of getting recruited.
- Get to know your “network statistics” under the People section of your Linkedin profile. This will give you a summary of the industries your connections are related to. By clicking on an industry of interest, you can view the connections and how many degrees of separation there are between you and them. Using your common connections as a base, you can introduce yourself to relevant people.
- You can also choose to upgrade your account to Premium at a cost. This offers further features for recruitment on LinkedIn. Note: if you downgrade later on, you will lose all of your connections and profile and need to start again.
- Last word on profiles – it’s not just about who you’re currently working for or what you are currently doing. Each time you update your profile with a former Employer or Qualification, LinkedIn will automatically search for other people who worked or went to classes during the same time period. Your ancient history could open up the door to tomorrow’s dream job!
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