As discussed in Part One of this two-part series, LinkedIn is critical if you want to engage with your professional network. Whether you’re searching for new opportunities, networking with experts and peers or just trying to stay connected with what’s happening in your industry, LinkedIn is a powerful tool that can be a great aid no matter the stage of your career.
If you’re actively seeking a new job, LinkedIn can be particularly effective. Here are a few tips on how to use LinkedIn during an active job search so that you optimize your chances of landing the role you deserve:
- “Open to New Opportunities”: Whether you’re actively seeking job opportunities or just passively interested in learning about what’s out there, you need to know about this fairly new LinkedIn feature.
What does it do? Enabling the “Open to New Opportunities” feature on your LinkedIn profile allows recruiters to see that you’d like to be contacted or considered for roles which align with your background and interests. This feature cannot be seen by the standard LinkedIn account, so there’s less need to worry about jeopardizing your current employment.
How do I set it up? Follow these simple steps:
a. Go to your LinkedIn profile and click on the “Jobs” tab at the top
b. Click on “Update Career Interests”
c. From here, you can customize options to help recruiters reach out with the right roles. These include location, industry and function preferences.
Using this LinkedIn feature is not only beneficial for recruiters when reaching out to you – it can also help minimize the number of messages you receive from recruiters about jobs which don’t interest you.
- Jobs Section: The Jobs Section of LinkedIn can help you find open roles at organizations of interest and even track your applications for them. This is where you can share with recruiters that you’re “Open to New Opportunities,” but this also is the place to create notifications for particular opportunities as they’re added by prospective employers. In this section, you can also search for open jobs by keyword and location. This is a great way, for example, to see which financial services companies are hiring new marketing talent in the San Francisco Bay Area.
- Building your network: This is something that is imperative at any stage of your career, whether in search mode or not. Staying on your network’s radar screens is incredibly helpful whenever you kick off an active search. There are a number of easy ways to stay on top of building your network:
a. Follow people and organizations of interest to you. If you have an interest in working for LinkedIn one day, follow LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner. Consider who sits in the seats at the organizations of interest who can help you get where you want to go.
b. Join groups which could be helpful at different stages of your career. This could include alumni networks, groups of similar professionals, business fraternities, etc. The options are endless, and if you don’t see a group that aligns with what you’re trying to accomplish, you can always start one!
c. When connecting with anyone on LinkedIn, always send a professional, personalized and genuine invitation. Don’t simply click the “Connect” button. This message could be as simple as “Hey, Rebecca. It was great to meet you at the conference last week in Jersey City. I look forward to staying in touch.” You might also want to connect with individuals with whom you lack direct ties but with whom you’re nevertheless interested in establishing a connection. In these cases, share with the individual why you’re reaching out and what you’re trying to accomplish.
LinkedIn remains one of the most powerful tools for conducting a job search and a great way to connect with like-minded professionals in your network. As discussed in Part 1 of this two-part series, there are many ways to ensure that you’re maximizing the value of your LinkedIn account – and, in turn, your entire professional networking experience.
Determine your audience and what you’re trying to accomplish on the platform. From there, make your profile your own and remember to regularly update that reflection of you as your skills, experiences and preferences evolve. Now go out and network!