How to Use LinkedIn to Get a Job

by Carol Sand

Finding a job has always involved networking. But now, more and more of that networking is taking place online, through social networking services such as LinkedIn. While networking via social media does bear some similarities to traditional means of networking, there are also many significant differences.

As with any technological development, the rise of social media networks in the context of securing employment brings benefits as well as challenges. Perhaps the most significant challenge of career management moving online is that in order to get a job, one must demonstrate at least basic competency with the website. Failing to update your LinkedIn profile or displaying some sort of inadequacy in understanding social networking or technology in general may signify to an employer that you don't possess some of the most basic skills required for a tech-based business.

However, as long as you understand how to make use of social network sites or can at least hide what you don't know, LinkedIn is more likely to provide opportunity than apprehension. As with any job search, finding a job on LinkedIn requires you to be thorough. You never know who will be viewing your profile on LinkedIn, so it is crucial that you provide information on all of your experiences, education and any certifications or courses you have taken.

This disclosure will not only suggest the kind of skills you possess, but can also demonstrate your dedication to gaining knowledge to better prepare yourself for your trade. This is especially important if you have gaps in your work history; taking a course or earning some sort of certification shows that you made an effort to improve your marketability while unemployed, and demonstrates that you view challenges as opportunities rather than obstacles. Particularly beneficial and interesting coursework can also give you the edge over a candidate with a similar history of employment experiences.

One benefit of the structure of LinkedIn is that it allows you to see not only who you know, but those with whom your colleagues are connected. This allows you to tap a much broader array of connections than would be available to you within your own networking circle. Additionally, once you forge these connections, your networking circle grows exponentially, and you never have to worry about losing a business card or forgetting a face, because you have a permanent digital connection to which you can refer at any time. Leveraging these new connections will help your potential for finding a job grow.

Of course, you can't just look outward on LinkedIn - you have to be sure you keep an eye on what others will see when they look at your profile. Be sure to emphasize the projects, portfolio works, and experiences that paint you in the best light. You can also post updates and links to interesting articles and resources, which will show others you are engaged and motivated to share knowledge about your field. Be sure that you keep your updates for LinkedIn separate from your updates from more personal social networks, as being too personal on LinkedIn can make you come off as unprofessional.

This post was written by Carol Sand

Carol Sand's MAP in Houston is a career management firm. Using her experience in the corporate world, Carol now advises others in their own career advancement. Tweet her on @Carol_Sand_MAP and watch Carol on YouTube.

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