LinkedIn is the #1 tool in your job search.
No way around this one, if you are a professional, or want to be a professional. You are going to use it in a transition, for your professional network, for finding new clients and customers, and learning about your competition.
What should YOU, as a job seeker, do on LinkedIn? A lot of things. Or just a few things. It depends on who you are, your strategy, your industry, your level (exec or entry), your objectives, etc. Here are five things that should apply to just about everyone:
- Increase you chances of others finding you. Optimize your LinkedIn Profile. When I’m asked what the #1 mistake most people make on LinkedIn is, it is that their Profiles are weak. This is kind of the foundation to a solid LinkedIn strategy.
- Look for others. I am guessing the Advanced Search features are underutilized. Why? Maybe people are afraid of the next step, after they find someone: communicate with them! Use the Advanced People Search to narrow down your search results (I did a search that went from about 1,400 hits to less than 70, because I made the search more precise). Look for people in Groups, through Answers, etc. Look for prospects, and then REACH OUT TO THEM.
- Brand yourself. Personal branding has been a hot topic for a few years. Use LinkedIn to help communicate your brand. Personal branding is about helping others know how to perceive you. What you put on your LinkedIn Profile, and in Answers and Groups and in your Status will shape how other perceive you.
- Nurture relationships. People hate networking for a lot of reasons. One reason is that it feels superficial. Use LinkedIn to get away from that. Use the tools in LinkedIn to help you communicate with your contacts… you’ll be nurturing relationships, which is only good for your career and your job search. Two great tools to do that are Answers and Groups.
- Competitive intelligence research (or, look for opportunities). I am learning about a few industries I don’t know much about. I’ve used Groups to learn about those industries and have been able to set up phone calls (like Informational Interviews). This is fun and highly productive, as it prepares me to better meet needs in those industries, and helps evolve my business in the right direction without simple assumptions on my part. As you do something like this you will uncover new opportunities, and you’ll tap into people who are plugged in, putting you in the middle of the “hidden job market.”
I’ve written a lot about LinkedIn – you can get years of tips, tricks and strategy on my LinkedIn blog: ImOnLinkedInNowWhat.com.
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