Whether you are a fresh graduate looking for your first job or an experienced executive ready to take on a big move, LinkedIn can help you connect with the right prospects.
If you are not very familiar with LinkedIn, you would probably think it is nothing more than a job site where headhunters and people in Human Resources post job ads to recruit qualified candidates. Actually, you are right. But more than just a job site, LinkedIn is a powerful networking tool that allows individuals to grow their professional network and better their chances of securing their dream jobs. In fact, HR managers of big multinational companies believe that having a LinkedIn profile at this day and age is crucial for everyone, especially starting professionals. Most top sourcing companies also depend on the site to gather profiles of prospect hires.
Prior to its launch in 2003, the possibility of connecting directly with hiring managers and prospect clients was virtually unheard of. LinkedIn was borne out of professionals’ need for smart and qualified connections. With a single click of the mouse, you can start to network with like-minded individuals, make referrals and draft recommendations.
Unlike most social sites to date, LinkedIn uses a more selective approach to networking. Users don’t just connect with random people with the thought that having more “friends” is better. It only connects users to relevant professional contacts that can help them with their future careers.
If you are a newbie looking to find a job on the site, below are five easy tips to fully take advantage of your page:
- Create a complete profile. Job experts advise candidates to create a comprehensive profile with details of current and previous jobs. To stand out, it would help to highlight major achievements, awards or successful projects rendered on the job. It would also help to plug in keywords that describe your professional experience so that hiring managers and headhunters can easily spot your profile when they search for similar terms. Remember, however, that you should avoid any grammatical error in everything you input.
- Get recommendations. Having people vouching for your skill on your page only boosts your credibility as a professional. Ask your university professors, current or former colleagues to write a recommendation for you with specific highlights on the field you would like to pursue.
- Upload a professional-looking headshot and a brief summary of your profile. Recruiters are not after seeing Facebook-worthy photos on your page, so stick with a decent shot taken within the last 6 months. Also, do not just mention that you are looking for a job. Take advantage of the summary space to creatively state your experience and what you’re looking for in a company or career.
- Connect and connect. By adding contacts to your page, you increase the ‘searchability’ of your profile on LinkedIn. Scout for relevant connections – friends, colleagues, clients, professors, hiring managers and recruiters. These people can help you land a new job, so do not hesitate to reach out for introduction. When they post job opportunities on their pages, state your intention to apply, and, if given the chance, reiterate your interest.
- Scope out the job market competition. This is quite obvious, but you can actually take advantage of LinkedIn to gauge profiles of people working for a job, and how you can tailor fit yours should you apply or be called in for an interview.
LinkedIn for Business
While most people on LinkedIn are on the look out for jobs, small business owners can also benefit from publishing on the site. Most businesses assume that the site is all about jobs, and thus miss out on the wider advantages.
Like expert marketers say, small companies can level the playing field with big, multinational competitors by effectively using social media to build a reputation. This is especially because more and more companies are moving to social media for marketing. Company profiles on LinkedIn, for instance, could be a central hub for engagement and awareness of their products and services even without resorting to traditional means. These pages allow direct communication with prospective clients, which could eventually translate to sales.
Similar to individuals, however, companies should come up with a comprehensive profile to more effectively target potential clients and generate leads. A well-managed business profile should be active in terms of updates and conversations. If you are a small business owner, populate your page with relevant, interesting and timely posts to increase likeability, albeit bit by bit.
Remember that your brand should show how you identify and converse with your present and future customers, so make sure that your company page has a personality of its own. Observe creativity when publishing content. Instead of merely sending text updates, make use of interesting videos and photos to make them more exciting. The popularity of image sharing platforms like Pinterest and Instagram proves the effectiveness of visual marketing, so you might as well take advantage of this on your company profile. Nonetheless, do not forget to highlight your products or services as these are where the specialized content on your page should revolve around. Customize your messaging to appeal to different segments especially if you are marketing to a wide spectrum of audiences.
Another advantage of using LinkedIn for business is that it allows you to gauge customer satisfaction. You can touch base with people on your network with surveys, polls and questions. If implemented correctly, this could lead to better customer satisfaction level as people on your page would think yours is a company that takes into account their opinions. People appreciate the feeling of getting their voices heard; thus, active communication – whether publicly or privately – should be practiced.
If your business caters to a niche market, people on your network check out your page for expert point of view. Given this, it is important to have a dedicated FAQ section to address standard concerns, in addition to useful information uploaded regularly on the page. When you publish content, note that it should show your expertise in the industry you are in.