Just like any other social media platform, there are Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to using LinkedIn in the career transition process. Although LinkedIn is a self-proclaimed “networking tool to find connections to recommended job candidates, industry experts and business partners…” and is thus professional in nature and tone, there are still Do’s and Don’ts.
1. Make Your Connections Count, Don’t Count Your Connections: LinkedIn is not about linking with every single person you can find. Make sure that you are truly connected in some way with those you connect with - colleagues past and present, friends, family, and last but certainly not least, potential connections currently employed by companies you are applying to. Also consider connecting with individuals who are relevant to your career interests. For example, if you work in social media and professionals who do the same from other industries reach out to you, you may want to consider connecting with them; you never know when you may need to leverage that connection. A good rule of thumb would be to do a little research on those who reach out to you, and connect if you see it is fit and relevant. Employers will be more impressed with a well-defined profile, interaction between you and your connections and your recommendations than they will a huge number of connections.
2. Make Your Recommendations Matter: Ask one or two people from each position you’ve held to recommend your work. Don’t go over-board, but be sure to have your bases covered. Ask supervisors as well as co-workers. They can provide two unique perspectives, both of which are important to potential employers. This combination can showcase how it is to oversee you as well as how well you work with others. Remember that you can hide a recommendation if it isn’t good. So if one seems lacking, hide it. Also: remember to personalize your message when you ask for a recommendation and to thank your recommenders after they do so!
3. Don’t Fall To the Bottom of the Virtual Pile: Most recently updated profiles show up more often and higher up in search results on LinkedIn. Be sure to update your resume frequently and to utilize the different features of LinkedIn. We talked more about this when we talked about resumes, click here if you need a resume refresher.
4. Use it! : All too often I stumble upon someone’s page that has been inactive for weeks, months or even longer. As an active job seeker it is important that you actually use LinkedIn. This doesn’t mean connecting with as many people as possible or posting every single article that tickles your fancy. A few times daily, or at least once a week Monday-Friday, we recommend posting a link to an article relevant to your industry and the job you’re applying for, or to your own content if you contribute to a professional blog. This will show that you are active and keeping up with the times.
5. Use, but Don’t Abuse: As it was previously mentioned, it is important to use LinkedIn to its full advantage. But defining that advantage is up to you. Don’t add every widget, gadget and extra bell and whistle they offer: pick a few that are the most relevant to you and the positions you are applying to and stick with those. If you don’t have an active blog, don’t use the Wordpress function. If you aren’t currently reading, waiting on a book or just finished a great read, don’t use the Amazon Book List. Look through the list and choose a few that are the most relevant.
6. Promote Yourself: Include your LinkedIn URL at the bottom of your e-mail signature, on your website, and even your business card if you have room. Don’t try to advertise yourself, but make your profile available to those who may be looking for it, such as potential new employers, hiring managers and recruiters.
Just starting to follow along? Click on each of these links if you missed our discussions of how to use Quora, Facebook, and Twitter in the career transition process.
Careerminds provides scalable, strategic solutions to organizations seeking affordable, web-based outplacement services. Using a Web 2.0 e-learning platform that delivers affordable, online career transition services, Careerminds provides a high-tech and high-touch blend of on-demand career transition education supported by senior-level career consultants to help displaced workers reenter the workforce quickly.