Are you dreaming of landing the perfect job? Finding a job can be a challenge, but if you harness the power of LinkedIn, you can reach and connect with influential people, discover unique jobs and even apply for jobs, online, in no time. Stop dreaming of meeting the right contact to help you get a foot in the door for an interview, take action and start to use LinkedIn in such a way that the job you are dreaming of, comes looking for you.
Getting noticed on LinkedIn will, however, take a bit more than just creating a great profile. LinkedIn is a social networking platform that has enabled over 500 million professionals to show the world what their skills and career ambitions are and to make the most of LinkedIn means applying some tricks of the trade for results.
This article is all about empowering you with LinkedIn to go after your dream job. LinkedIn has taken most of the hard work out of creating a stunning profile, but we’ll show you how you can optimise your profile to get a competitive advantage in the job market, set up job alerts, tap into a world of professional opportunities, discover and apply for your dream job.
How LinkedIn Connects Employers and Potential Employees
Nothing that is worth it, comes easy, and it’s no different if you are using LinkedIn to apply for jobs. You’ll have to put in a bit of effort to join LinkedIn while you remain focussed enough to gradually create your online, professional image with the use of perfect words, high quality images and connected actions. Even if you are not actively seeking a job, this will potentially make your profile rise out above the rest and companies might even headhunt you.
But how effective is LinkedIn as social platform to introduce the world of job seekers to ideal employers?
LinkedIn is reported as the top social media platform used by 55 million companies, including Fortune 500 Companies. An astounding 87% of recruiters have been reported to regularly use LinkedIn in their search for the perfect employees and with around 14 million open jobs and the increase of online activity in South Africa, the chances that you’ll find the perfect job on there is highly probable. BusinessTech also reported that over 43% of South Africans go to LinkedIn first when they are searching for jobs, so recruiters know it’s the ideal place to search for someone and start their background check before even setting up that first interview.
Hopefully those statistics encouraged you to join and optimise your LinkedIn profile with vigour?!
Ways to Optimise Your LinkedIn Profile for a Job Search
Many new users think that registration and the completion of basic details is enough. While it’s a great start, it will not make your profile more prominent than people who are actively keeping contact with the 1000s of online connections they’ve build over the years.
A fully completed profile is labelled as an ‘All Star’ profile and is not only more appealing to recruiters and companies, but also performs better when comparing their discoverability to incomplete profiles. LinkedIn will guide you step-by-step on the details you need to fill-in to reach ‘All Star’ status, but that doesn’t cover all the finer details to ensure your page makes the top of list when a recruiter searches for a new employee with your skill set. For that reason, we’ve provided you with a list of tips and ways you can use to improve your LinkedIn profile.
Create a Great First Impression
Recruiters and company managers who come across your profile don’t know anything about you. The information you provide on it is the only information they have and will create their first impression of you, which can be positive or negative. The overall look of your page, words you use, your profile picture, the profile account heading and way you’ve organised your profile are all elements that will contribute to building the perfect first impression.
LinkedIn is a multimedia platform that offers everyone the opportunity to learn how to create an impactful profile with the help of text, videos, GIFs, voice notes, portfolios and even presentations via slideshare. You can thus save your CV online and those searching for jobs in the creative industry can upload their portfolio directly onto LinkedIn.
Here are four important pointers around ensuring your profile contribute to a positive professional brand image:
- Upload a professional profile picture: What will you wear to a job interview? Your LinkedIn profile is your online business ‘image’ and therefore your profile picture should represent how you want people to see you. Look the part in your profile picture; if you are in a creative industry, it's advisable not to wear a formal suit like a banker and if you are in a professional career, you should steer clear from casual wear. Keep your image a head and shoulders pic so that everyone can see that beautiful smile and for improved results you can try and add just a hint of personality.
- Create a relevant and impactful profile heading: Having your profile heading as a ‘marketing manager’ might not be enough to get your dream job especially since there are so many different types of marketing managers out there. Be specific around your role and see if you can bring in a bit of flavour around the type of marketing manager you are, including your passion in the field and what you think will make people take an interest in your profile. A Heading like 'Marketing Manager and passionate brand storyteller' is an example of spicing it up a little bit while being more directed and specific.
- Keep your profile updated: Your work history and profile details should be updated as frequently as required. This way you’ll give a clear impression of where you work currently when looking for a new job, something that most recruiters and companies want to know before even considering an interview. Also update your pictures every couple of years to match your age and current look.
- Create a clear and organised page: How can you bring across your professional identity with little, yet impactful, information? We’ll delve a bit more into word selection later, but sometimes less is more, and knowing who you are in the workplace will provide the clarity to position yourself with precision. When someone looks at your profile their eye should flow with ease through the profile, and everything should link-up in synergy.
Throughout your profile creation it’s important not to get too carried away by your creativity. Your profile must have some fundamentals in-place, like the type of work you do and your career history. Professionals should know immediately what and who you are in your professional capacity.
Create Profile Copy with Impact
An amazing profile means nothing if recruiters cannot find it. The inclusion of keywords and the use of the correct industry terms are essential to help your profile rank better when it comes to discoverability. An impactful profile is one that says who you are, using the right industry words, but also provides enough identity that you appear different to other people within the same industry.
It’s a careful balance between creativity and practicality, and many writers have jobs where they help executives to conceptualise and add the right words. Smart copy should be applied throughout your profile, but here are two examples of where it can have the greatest impact:
- Write a great bio/executive summary: This refers to that first little section giving people a professional and concise snapshot of who you are, your experience and your ambitions. One of the most important things in recruitment is finding someone who is a cultural fit, will suit the organisation and will be be happy there. Recruiters will view your bio to see what you are about before moving onto the details like education and career history. Ensure you write a couple of sentences that is specific, interesting, showing a bit of your personality and suited to the work environment.
- Include and use a mix of industry keywords: Recruiters will do a search for prospective employees using keywords and search phrases used by a specific industry. Therefore, for the best results you need to learn what those are and add words and synonyms of those terms throughout you page to maximise your discoverability. Also don’t stop using these once your profile is done, add keywords whenever you post on your page to enhance chances for your profile being discovered.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help from a professional if you are struggling. Writing is a skilled art, and it can be tricky to weave and combine personality with corporate lingo and industry requirements. Ask people in the industry, connect with recruiters to ask their advice and if you’d like training in professional writing, you can seek the help of one of our Superprof writers.
Link Your Profile with Other Platforms
Just like any brand or company, all your digital activities and profiles contribute to your professional online persona or image. Most companies will admit that they browse other networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to discover all aspects around potential employees before giving them a contract. We aren’t saying that your Insta should now become boring and corporate, we’re just saying that this is something you should keep in mind. If you feel your other social platforms might not be for potential employers or colleagues’ eyes, you can change the privacy settings to hide posts, images or the entire profile.
Linking your LinkedIn profile to your own website, your portfolio or other channels that can make your personal brand shine will be a smart addition to any profile. You have to be proud of your work and even though you remain humble, it’s your responsibility to showcase your work and show companies what makes you good at what you do.
Including your LinkedIn profile name or unique QR code in all forms of other communications will also help your aim of connecting to more people you know online. People see the LinkedIn icon on your email signature or business card and know they can go find you online to connect.
Actively Work at Networking & Share Ideas
LinkedIn is a social network for professionals, which means you should get ready to network and create new connections. Seek out colleagues from previous companies, friends or acquaintances the moment your profile is set-up and complete. Many of jobs placements come from referrals, and you could potentially find a job through one of your connections.
Also make a list of the companies you’d like to work for and seek them out on LinkedIn. You can follow them and will see when they advertise jobs. You can do the same to try and connect with the people you admire in your industry. You might have to send them an inbox message to connect and introduce yourself and congratulating them on a recent project is a good start to a discussion from a complete stranger.
Professional interest groups in your industry can also be a useful tool when looking at networking on this platform. Not only will you meet like-minded professionals, but you might also get exposure to new ideas, recent innovations and what’s trending to ensure you stay ahead of industry developments.
LinkedIn also operates the same as any other social media platform where the most popular posts and content gets to appear on people’s newsfeeds. If you want to position yourself as a thought leader in the industry you can create articles or opinion pieces on LinkedIn or share existing work as posts on your page. You can also comment and post on current events and remember to use a hashtag so that people who search around that trending topic can pick you up. All these are important strategies to keep active and draw attention to your profile if you want to get noticed.
Lastly, react, share and comment on posts that interest you. This will show support, but more importantly help you connect with people online. The more you engage, the more people will grow familiar with you, and the more likely the chances are that they will feel like they know you.
Search Jobs and Activate Alerts from the Job Board
A job board used to be a physical board in offices where people advertised vacancies on a posted leaflet or card. The same concept has been applied to LinkedIn, it’s just so much easier and accessible and their job board lists millions of open jobs, with job descriptions, location, requirement and sometimes even the salary on offer.
Anyone with a LinkedIn profile can access the job board to search for a job. Simply click on the tiny suitcase icon at the top of your profile and viola, you can now search by filling in a title, skills, city or zip code. This page also allows you to navigate along the left side of your profile through a variety of options like the jobs you’ve applied for, how to build your resume and doing skill assessments online to verify some of your skills.
The most exciting feature on the job board is setting up job alerts, an automated tool that will send you notifications of a LinkedIn job post you might be interested in. If you searched for a job as a ‘graphic designer’ in ‘Durban’ you can select to be notified daily or weekly for similar jobs which makes it so much easier to apply as soon as something great pops-up. Remember to use those keywords when you search and set-up these notifications as well.
Applying for Jobs Through LinkedIn
This is where all your hard work in creating that perfect profile starts to pay-off and you can start to apply for jobs, directly on LinkedIn. Using LinkedIn to get a job can get you as far as the interview phase, but you’ll have to jump through a couple of additional hoops before getting a job offer. Here are a couple of pointers to set you up for success:
- Ensure you have a completed and detailed CV on standby. Different countries have different format, so if you are seeking jobs on the international market you might have to tweak it.
- Check your profile views and ensure your profile gets some views. Try and assess what those people do and if you can connect with them in-turn, they’ve already showed interest.
- Prepare properly for your interview. If you have the right skills and look like a cultural fit for a company, the chances are quite good for getting an interview. The internet is filled with resources and articles to prepare you for your interview.
- Be yourself, Professionally. Let your personality shine through, but always stay professional. Don’t be afraid to be proud of your achievements and work experience, but ensure it’s a confidence that shines through rather than arrogance.
Becoming a member of this popular, global social network can improve your professional image and open doors for you in the business world and if you are in the market for a new job, you cannot afford not to be there. Join today, search for great examples and master LinkedIn to create your own job-seeking profile today.
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