Among social networks, LinkedIn is the reigning champion of professional connections and development. The massive business-oriented social platform is among the most powerful tools available for any job seeker — and it’s also one of the most underused.
If you’re on the job search path, LinkedIn is practically a requirement. According to a recent survey from career website Jobvite, around 93 percent of hiring managers search candidates on LinkedIn. Here are some tips to help you make the most of LinkedIn as a highly effective tool for your job search.
Polish your LinkedIn profile
If you’ve created a LinkedIn account but never bothered to do much with your profile, you could be seriously hurting your job search efforts. Your profile is the default starting point, the first thing employers will see when they encounter you on LinkedIn — and of course, first impressions matter a lot.
If your profile is scattered or poorly developed, you’re not only making a bad impression. You’re also not showing up in relevant searches when employers are looking for someone with your skills or experience. You could also be missing out on opportunities for business networking, volunteering, and speaking engagements.
Make sure your LinkedIn profile has a professional photo, a compelling headline, and an engaging summary. List your skills, and completely fill out your experience section. You can also add enhancements like a background photo and rich media to make your profile more attractive and discoverable.
Build your reputation through LinkedIn Groups
There are more than two million Groups on LinkedIn, representing a vast range of industries, interests, topics, and other commonalities. Many LinkedIn Groups are active, professional forums with members that include industry thought leaders, respected leaders, top influencers — and of course, hiring managers.
Joining and becoming an active member of one or more relevant Groups is helpful in many ways. Group discussions are useful resources for knowledge and networking, and allow you to connect with several like-minded professionals. And according to LinkedIn, members who participate in Groups are five times more likely to have their profiles viewed by people outside of their direct networks, which substantially increases your chance of being noticed by hiring managers.
Keep track of who views your LinkedIn profile — and why
One of the most useful features of LinkedIn is the ability to see who’s viewed your profile. This feature has been available for years, but the platform recently added functionality that allows you to see which of your actions drives the most engagement. LinkedIn now layers your profile views over the actions you’ve taken in an easy-to-read graph format that lets you find out how specific actions, such as posting a status, making a new connection, or providing an endorsement, affect your profile views. This shows which of your actions are attracting the people you want to read your profile.
Choose quality over quantity
Many social networks can feel like a race to see who can get the most friends, likes, comments, or reposts. But on LinkedIn, the number of people in your network doesn’t matter as much as the people themselves. In fact, most LinkedIn users don’t welcome “cold” invitations from complete strangers, and won’t add people they don’t know to their network.
Instead of trying to connect with anyone who will accept your invites, look for ways you can make a personal, meaningful, or relevant connection. Find some common ground, whether it’s similar interests, a shared background, or a connection to a connection, and use that information to write a personal invitation. This will help you create a high quality, relevant LinkedIn network that gets results for your job search.