Searching for a job can be time consuming and tedious if you constrain yourself to the typical tools such as online jobs boards, trade publications, and networking with only your close friends. In the current jobs market you need to use all the weapons that you can, and one that many people don’t use to the fullest extent is Linkedin.
Linkedin has over three hundred and twenty million members worldwide in over 140 industries. Around 5 million of these are in the UK. Most of them are adults, employed, and not looking to post something on your Wall or date you.
Executives from many FTSE companies and all the Fortune 500 companies are on Linkedin. Most have disclosed what they do, where they work now, and where they’ve worked in the past. It is a target-rich environment, and the service is free.
Here are some tips to help you get started with your profile. To do this you need to go into Profile Edit.
1. Complete the Summary section.
This is where you can highlight what you have done and what stands you apart from others. It is an overview of you and your shop window. Include your Personal Profile from your CV but make it more personal and informal.
Add your key areas of expertise. If you have a Functional CV then you can include your main Achievement headings from it in this section.
Feel free to use more than one paragraph. Also make sure that you include as many key words as you can in this section. These are the words that are specific to you and your expertise. Recruiters and other people looking at your profile may well have done a search under some of these words.
2. Fill in the Experience section.
Here you should add in your current and past jobs, job titles and underneath each one your key achievements. These need to be strong and where possible quantified. They should also be ordered with the most important ones and those that you are proudest about at the top. You and paste them from your CV into this section.
3. Make connections to build up your network.
It is important that you build up your connections and contacts. Set yourself a target of 5-10 new connections each week. You need to decide if they are people you know and have met or not. There is no rule here.
Many people prefer to connect only with people they have met and in that way they are more likely to be able to recommend them and vice versa. Remember that 80% of people on Linkedin are passive so you may need to send the person you want to connect with an email to ask them to log on to Linkedin to accept your invitation.
Make the invitation personal if you can. It is better than just using the standard form provided. Most people would prefer to receive a personalized invitation. Once you have made connections use your 1st degree connections to help build up your broader network and contacts to help you in your job search.
4. Get Linkedin recommendations from your colleagues.
Aim for 3 to 4 for each job shown on your profile. A strong recommendation from your manager highlights your strengths and shows that you were a valued employee.
This is especially helpful if you were recently laid off, and there is no better time to ask for this than when your manager is feeling bad because they laid you off. If you were a manager yourself, recommendations from your employees can also highlight leadership qualities.
These recommendations can be from peers, suppliers and other key stakeholders as well as your manager and subordinates. Think of who might have appraised you in a 360 degree appraisal.
Remember that recommendations do not count as references but recruiters and companies like and expect to see them when conducting a search or reviewing your profile.
The Linkedin Help Center will help you write recommendations. The best way to receive a recommendation is to give one! You may also want to write one for the person you want to recommend you which will save them time.
You can also send an email to them to alert them to expect an invitation on Linkedin as many people are not active and will not regularly pick up their Linkedin mail. Remember that 80% of Linkedin users are passive so it is up to you to do the running with your connections.
5. Use the Certifications and Education sections.
Add in as much relevant information as you can. This will help the search engines and allow people to locate you.
6. Use the Skills and Endorsements section.
Although this section is not wholly accurate as a picture of who knows you for which skill and who does not it is important to add in as many relevant skills as you can. In this way the Linkedin search engines will pick you up and help people recognise you.
Recruiters and Companies who are hiring have specific searches set up and the more information on your skills that you can show on your profile the more likely you will be to be found in any search.
7. Use the mail box.
This is found on the top towards the right hand side on the menu bar. It is important in order to track messages and invitations to connect. Check it regularly and keep on top of activity.
8. Post an update on the Home page.
This will go to all of your connections and keeps them informed of what you are doing which is useful if you are looking for work or wanting to promote your business or brand.
9. Privacy & Settings.
This is located in the drop down box if you click on your photo at the top right of the menu bar on Linkedin Profile page. It is a key area where you can control your settings and see who can see your profile.
It also allows you to change your password and monitor your Groups and Companies activity. It is a key part of maintaining control of all aspects of your Linkedin profile.
10. Check who has viewed your profile.
This can be found by clicking on Profile. It is a good idea to check who has seen your profile recently, especially if they might be a useful contact to help in your job search or broader networking.
Gateway Career Management is owned by Peter Wilford and offers a complete range of products and services and support programmes from one to one careers advice and support with career change and help with career transition to a fully personally and tailored career management programme. Click here to visit the website and here to follow the company on Linkedin.