LinkedIn, as it rightly proclaims itself as "the world's largest professional network", is a valuable tool in reaching out professionally to those you've worked with in the past. Fusing the realm of social media with the job market, LinkedIn is an innovative concept that helps you go beyond just the resume. There are so many features like connections, recommendations, endorsements, multimedia attachments/links, posts by thought leaders in your industry - you name it!
We've already discussed a large chunk about leveraging this amazing resource to our advantage in our previous articles - part 1 and part 2. This week we'll continue further on it and discuss the other aspects of LinkedIn that ease your job search process:
- Keywords and SEO
- Building a Presence in Your Industry Groups
- Actively Posting Content and Updates
Use Keywords to Be Found
With more than 500 million member profiles, LinkedIn is the biggest and best resume database ever created! Around 94% of recruiters use it for hiring candidates and that number is only growing. It is important to keep in mind that all these recruiters do searches to find the relevant candidates who meet their job requirements. They use long, elaborate search strings to screen through the humongous number of profiles on the site.
These searches usually consist of specific keywords and only those profiles that contain the right combination of these keywords they are likely to stumble upon. This means that if your profile doesn't contain those specific words, recruiters are not even looking at you! And how can you win the prize when you're not even running the race?
Hence, include keywords everywhere, especially in the summary and experience sections for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) purposes. Take a good look at your job description and observe the skills required, titles being used, specific terms listed in the descriptions etc. Make sure your resume is varied and diverse in its language to incorporate each and every way of saying the same thing - because different companies may list the same concept in different ways!
For example, for a headhunting position, several keywords could be "recruiter" v. "talent acquisition" v. "staffing" v. "sourcer" etc.
Building a Presence in Your Industry Groups
With over 2.1 million LinkedIn groups, the group participation statistic is vital for anyone hoping to get noticed. Taking advantage of the various industry-related groups is important to anyone who's serious about leveraging LinkedIn to grow their career prospects.
It is easy to search for relevant groups in your industry through the group search feature on LinkedIn. Join as many relevant groups as possible and contribute to the conversation. Begin with the alumni groups for where you went to school and then move to industry association groups pertinent to your line of work.
However, it is never enough to be simply listed as a group member. Merely joining a group will not make you stand out from the pack. Once you join the groups, participate in the discussion, lend your expertise to benefit the conversation and display your interest and value. Use this tool to brand yourself as an expert in your field and make yourself attractive to prospective employers and hiring managers.
Also, groups give you an added advantage of making primary connections that'll increase your exposure to people that could be your future colleague, employer or simply, a collaborator on a project.
LinkedIn assists you in finding a group you may want to join. To find a group relevant to your career path, review the "Discover Groups" suggestion from LinkedIn. Click on the "Work" icon in the top right corner of your screen. A drop-down menu appears with one of the options as "Groups". Go to this section to know all your activities pertaining to LinkedIn groups.
Once you find a group you'd like to join, click on the "Ask to Join" option and wait for the request to be accepted.
Importance of Group Participation
Active group participation not only fetches you recognition but has several other benefits as well:
- Discuss the problems facing the industry and ponder over possible solutions
- Learn about the latest developments and advancements in your industry
- Build your network with some major players in your industry
- Get to know the prominent leaders in your field
- Build credibility as an expert in your field
Of course, just like with any other e-groups, making wrong moves could amplify your negative reputation among members. Therefore, be careful about your presence in groups like these.
- Joining several good-sized local groups is always better than the giant "we-accept-anyone" groups that appear on the top of the search bar. Local groups aid you in getting a lot more traction than getting lost in the chaos of the mega-groups.
- Involve in groups even before dive into your job search. This is a wonderful technique to help you establish your identity in the industry. Prospective employers can go through your updates to determine your possible value as an employee.
- Avoid joining more groups than you can effectively participate in. Focus on quality rather than quantity. Make the most of the groups you're already in by sharing relevant articles to spark discussion within the group.
- Aim to check into your groups at least 2-3 times a week. If you've got your two cents to share about any particular topic, by all means, do so.
- Remember that the most active person in the Group will get the "Top Influencer" status which can fetch you a lot more exposure.
Actively Posting Updates and Content
We live in the realm of social-media where this anthem of "Publish or Perish" rings true. With LinkedIn, it's easier than ever to publish. Your content and status updates on the site keep you on the top of mind with contacts who could refer you to open positions. It brings you large returns for a minimal investment of time and daily effort.
Posting regular updates is no Herculean task. All you gotta do is to find some relevant and interesting happenings in your industry and share it with the masses! It needn't be your own work - at least largely. You could turn an interesting piece of information on your feed into a status update.
Here are few tricks to maximize the impact and reach of your posts on LinkedIn :
- Be opinionated. Whenever you share an interesting article from your feed, make sure to integrate your point of view (POV). Your POV should relate to your area of expertise and distinguishes you from the pack.
- Schedule your updates wisely. For maximum exposure, you need to post your content during the busiest hours of LinkedIn. You might want to do that on weekdays, particularly on Mondays and preferably in the morning or at midday.
- Reuse and Repurpose. Yes, communicating the same content in distinctive ways reinforces your message within your brand community. It amplifies your message and delivers brand consistency. Hence, don't shy away from using content you already have available. Convert your blog posts into activity updates and articles in your profile.
- Post Regularly. Actively posting status updates makes your profile "searchable" in industry-related searches and earns more recognition from LinkedIn. Routinely posting content is the best way to invest your time in a way to maximize potential return. Studies show that posting at least 20 updates a month is optimal for job search. It solidifies your credibility and brings people to your profile.
LinkedIn can be an amazing resource if used effectively. Fully leveraging the LinkedIn tools available could amplify your job search process which means that you'll not remain a job seeker for long! :)
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