LinkedIn has quickly become an staple in for the job search and you will find countless resources explaining how to create a professional profile. Having a solid profile is a greatstart and all, but that is just the beginning. Here are my top 5 favorite uses for LinkedIn for those seeking jobs or exploring career options:
5. Resume development: who better to tell you what to talk about than people who are currently doing the job?
You need to adapt your resume to the specific position to which you are applying. If the job posting does not give enough information to do this, try using the Advance Search feature to find the profile of someone who has a similar job title in the same/competing company. If their profile is complete, you will be able to see how they describe the position and any specific skills or contributions may be detailed. These are things you may wish to address on your own document. Or, you may learn about certifications or additional trainings that may prove useful to you in your own professional development.
4. The Alumni page: even the people who slept through class may be able to teach you something now
There are a lot of things you can do on this page, but one of my favorites is to search for fellow AU graduates with your major to identify possible career options and/or companies to pursue. Especially for majors that offer a variety of career options, this may be a way to narrow down your focus or identify specific companies to research and target in your search for internships or full-time positions. It is also a great way to connect with fellow alumni and begin networking into positions.
3. Research your interviewer: you wouldn’t show up to a blind date without Googling the person would you?
If you receive a request for an interview be sure to find out with whom you will be interviewing. This is your chance to do a little research into this person/persons to learn more about areas of similarity or topics you may want to bring up during the interview. For instance, if she has a lot of information about her volunteer efforts with the American Cancer Society and you have taken part in a fundraiser to race for the ACS than you definitely want to bring that up during the interview to find a common area of interest that will catch his/her attention. Now there is a fine line between research and sounding like a stalker, so try not to mention anything too personal that may make them uncomfortable.
2. Groups: your free access to experts and professional development…what more could you want?
No matter where you are in your career…haven’t even begun or a seasoned professional, group membership in LinkedIn can be very valuable in your professional development. Don’t be afraid to join groups of interest or part of your professional associations and contribute to the conversation. Please do not be “that person” who goes into a group and has your first interaction consist of you asking for a job. No one likes that person and rarely is that effective. Instead, lend your opinion to the questions of others or pose questions concerning your own career interests or class projects. Asking for advice and information is always appreciated. Also, there are always posts linking to new research and articles of interest which could be very beneficial to you as well, so be sure to stay involved.
1.NETWORK…strategically: seriously, you had to see this coming people
It is not enough to just be on LinkedIn, you must use it effectively. Once you have built your profile and started connecting to people, start your networking by sending a message to someone who either works in a company or position of interest. Again, NO NOT ASK FOR A JOB! Instead ask for information and advice. Everyone’s favorite topic is themselves, so don’t be afraid to stroke their ego a little. If possible, ask to meet face-to-face or over the phone to engage in an informational interview. After your discussion ask to stay in contact or if there is someone else they know that may be willing to meet. This technique can often land in a position or at the very least be a valuable learning experience. Contacting alumni or people in higher positions in the company are typically your best option since they are more likely to want to help and less likely to view you as a threat.
This is just a sampling of what you can do with this valuable tool, what additional uses have you found that you would like to share?
Written by Addye Buckley-Burnell
Assistant Director of Career Development