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Friday, 17 June 2016

3 Ways to Use LinkedIn for Your Job Search

It can be so much more than just an online resume for you.

A Linkedin profile on a laptop.
Consider using InMail to communicate with a potential employer you aren't connected with.
By + More
If you are a professional seeking to advance your career, LinkedIn is critical for your job search success. Unfortunately, many people understand that to mean simply copying the elements of your resume into your LinkedIn profile and thinking you're done. But that is only a first step, and sadly many people then sit back, do nothing and are astonished that nothing happens. So they go on to something else. And that's a mistake for multiple reasons.
First and foremost, don't confuse a LinkedIn profile with a resume. Sure, they both convey your current and former professional roles. But your resume is a formal document used for the specific purpose of gaining the attention of a hiring authority and motivating them to call you to initiate an interview process.
On the other hand, your LinkedIn profile is social. It is for networking and interacting with a wide variety of people, not just hiring authorities. Consequently, it is an important part of the job hunt aside from a formal job request. It allows you to demonstrate what you really care about as a professional, and it can help you build relationships with people who are in a position to positively impact your job hunt.
While LinkedIn encourages you to use the site to find and apply to specific jobs, that can easily distract you from understanding the site's real power to help in your search. Here are additional things you should be doing on LinkedIn.
Continually build your network. Get beyond your immediate transactional mentality of "Who can help me now?" Your job hunt is a process, and it is part of an even longer-term career that is continually unfolding. As you make connections, you never know who you will come in contact with. Chances are that the larger your network becomes, the greater the odds of finding someone who knows about the companies in which you are interested in.
You probably have a long way to go before you retire, and the investment of building a large network now will help down the road in ways that you can't possibly imagine today.

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Use LinkedIn as an icebreaker. When you send an email to someone, you can show you've done your research by incorporating a reference to something that you've learned about them or their company on LinkedIn.
Many companies have LinkedIn pages that show off their products, services and what it's like to work there. Corporate leaders often post things that you can also utilize. Phrases like, "I was impressed to learn on your company's LinkedIn page that ..." can demonstrate that you've gone the extra mile to research their company and establish a better connection.
Get past gatekeepers with InMail. Depending on your level of LinkedIn membership, you'll have access to a varying number of InMails per month. These enable you to communicate directly with anyone, even if you're not connected with them. Of course, there is no certainty that the person checks their InMail with regularity, or will get back to you, but if your message shows compelling value to him or her, chances are pretty good you'll hear back.
Tip: Make certain that your direct messages are purposeful, well conceived and utilize excellent communication skills. Remember that you need to earn a response and you do that by showing your value and asking relevant questions. It is never OK to start a dialog by asking for consideration, telling your saga of woes or your whole professional story.
When you continually build your network of first-degree connections, the number of people who are second- and third-degree connections expands exponentially. You thereby lay the groundwork for great networking, sharing information and improving the quality of your job search.
Happy hunting!

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