I didn’t sign up with LinkedIn until I was looking for a job. I hadn’t even really heard of it when I was working in the non-profit sector and busy with the many hats I wore there.
I should have signed up earlier.
I’ve written before about one of my career development coaches, Larry Braman of Global Career Consulting and Placement and beloved instructor at the LA Fellows (not to mention reconnected old friend from singing days in New York—that is a story!). Larry not only taught me most of the things I know about LinkedIn, he gave me homework: 100% Profile in about 5 days. From nothing.
When we came back to class with (some of) our profiles (mostly) finished, we broke up into small groups to make lists of how to use various social media platforms for Job Search. Since I was familiar with Twitter and Facebook already, I went to the LinkedIn group, not so much to offer input as to ask, “What is this good for, anyway?”
Luckily, my friend and colleague Jay Bernard was there to give me the scoop.
There are many aspects of being on a job search that make us feel relatively powerless. I mean, hey, bottom line, you’re waiting for someone else to say “Yes!” and you can’t do anything until they do. That mystery hiring manager seems to hold all the cards.
LinkedIn is a place to feel like you are seizing back the power for yourself. And that empowerment will feed your energy in interviews, your decisions about how you spend your job search time, and how much effort you really put into finding that perfect role.
That 100% profile? That’s your brand! It shows what you have done, what you can do, what you want to do and what you love to do, if you’ve gone ahead and told your story.
Make sure you know the name of the hiring manager you are interviewing with before you go and check them out on LinkedIn. You can find out what you have in common and also come up with interesting things to ask based on facts like how long they have been with the company and what roles the have had in the past.
Build Your Credibility
Interacting in Groups can help you show off your expertise. Your Profile will show which Groups you belong to and let a hiring manager see how involved you are in their industry. Take the opportunity to comment and start discussions and show off your expertise.
Fill in Gaps
If you are between roles but volunteering or interning using any of your transferable skills (I hope you are!), LinkedIn now offers a Volunteer category in your Profile to list those activities. This is a great way to cover any possible gap in your employment history. I will be talking about Volunteerism in an upcoming post, so please come back for that.
As your list of connections grows, monitor it for connections to your target companies. Get your 1st level connections to introduce you to theirs. If you followed my advice about whom to connect with, they should say yes!
One of the hardest things about the job search process is never knowing which iron in the fire is going to be the one that pays off. The iron in the LinkedIn fire has a lot of potential if you stir the coals and feed the flames!
Wendy Stackhouse, for Artisan Creative