It’s no secret that LinkedIn is the largest business-focused social network around. Recently, LinkedIn reported more than 500 million users and that number is steadily increasing. LinkedIn also lists more than 10 million active job posts and data on more than 9 million companies.
And there’s something else; more and more businesses and recruiters are using LinkedIn as either their primary, or in some cases exclusive, job-posting site. More than 90% of recruiters use LinkedIn to fill open positions. What that boils down to is that if you are looking for a new opportunity, LinkedIn is no longer optional – it’s a necessary job search tool in today’s job market. These days maintaining a current LinkedIn profile is as important as keeping your resume up to date.
First things first … There are a few critical aspects to using LinkedIn in your job search.
- Complete your profile. A completed profile is the first critical step in turning your LinkedIn efforts into job search results. A completed profile includes the following: professional photo, headline, summary, experience, skills and endorsements, recommendations, contact information and links to other profiles, e.g. professional website or Twitter. Make sure your profile’s headline reflects the job you are seeking, not the job you are currently in.
- Speak to your market. Your profile will generate results if you develop your profile with your future targeted role in mind. You will know what skills and experience are needed through job postings. But to better understand what the market is looking for in those jobs, do your research so that you can optimize your LinkedIn profile for what the market wants. Find seven to ten job postings that are what you are looking for in your next role. Look for the terms that appear consistently in all the job postings. These will be the keywords recruiters and hiring managers will most likely use when searching for candidates. Make sure you are using these keywords in your profile. Be sure to use the keywords in the proper places an in natural ways – your headline, job titles, skills and summary – rather than stuffing your profile with them.
- Be active and be found. It is not enough to simply create your profile and then walk away. You must be actively engaged with your network and post regular updates, comments and participate in discussions.
Once you are actively using LinkedIn, there are some really great tools you can use to maximize LinkedIn during your job search. Recently, LinkedIn launched several new features to make looking for a job a whole lot easier. We have highlighted some of them here:
- One of the biggest challenges in looking for a new job while you have one is letting recruiters and companies know you are available without your current employer finding out. LinkedIn now has a feature called Open Candidates which lets recruiters know job-seekers are open to learning about new opportunities without notifying your current employer. It also lets you customize the kinds of roles and companies that appeal to you! One thing you want to make sure of when signaling to recruiters that you are interested in new opportunities is that your profile is up to date. You can update your profile and the changes you make won’t be broadcast to your network if you make sure you turn off “Notify Your Network” when you edit your profile.
- LinkedIn Learning was launched at the end of last year and it consists of online training classes which are free to Premium members and available at a-la-carte pricing to everyone else. These courses were designed to help LinkedIn members secure skills they need to remain relevant. Topics range from Finance & Accounting to Marketing, Leadership and Professional Development.
- Salary can be a sensitive topic to discuss but LinkedIn has a new feature called LinkedIn Salary that taps into their network of more than 460+ million members to provide deep insights into the compensation landscape. This includes salary, bonus, and equity data for specific job titles, and the different factors that impact pay such as years of experience, industry, company size, location, and education level – all of which becomes critical knowledge as you navigate your career.
- Earlier this year LinkedIn changed the profile design to make it easier to navigate. The new design focuses on making pages look more attractive, so make sure your profile page looks good. The new profiles highlight recent posts and activity more prominently, so be sure you are consistently liking and sharing content. This will help keep your profile looking updated.
At the end of the day, with LinkedIn being the go-to site not only for job seekers but companies and recruiters as well, you have to take the time to optimize your network and your profile constantly and stay on top of any new features LinkedIn has to offer that may give you a leg up in your job search. The pay off may just be the perfect new position!