There are an abundance of online sites and tools you can use to network and strengthen your job search. One of the premier business networking sites is LinkedIn. You can use it to connect with people in your industry and find your dream job.
What is LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is a professional online networking service. In fact, “as of March 31, 2012, LinkedIn operates the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with 161 million members in over 200 countries and territories.” (Source: http://press.linkedin.com/about)
It’s free to join and it can be an exceptional way to build your network and find a job. As a member of LinkedIn you can:
- Upload your resume
- Create a profile page
- Connect with past, and present, employers
- Connect with past, and present, associates
- Connect with past, and present, co-workers
- Discover the top trends and problems in your industry
- Help others learn more about the industry
- Upload a biography
- Write recommendations for others
- Receive recommendations from others
- Link to your blog, website or Twitter account
With all of these features, it can be difficult to create a powerful LinkedIn networking strategy.
The First Steps…
If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, sign up and begin perusing the people you know. You don’t have to add anything or connect with anyone yet. Simply be that fly on the wall and observe the site.
Once you have a feel for what’s possible with LinkedIn, it’s time to build your profile. Upload your resume and consider creating a short “elevator pitch” bio. If you struggle to write your own biography – and many people do – consider having one written for you by a professional resume writer.
Now it’s time to start connecting. Start with your email and Twitter accounts. LinkedIn will upload the contact information for you and suggest connections. You’ll probably be surprised how many people you know. Begin connecting with them and let them know you’re looking for a job.
Write recommendations for the people you know and have worked with. This serves two purposes; it gives potential employers more information about you. Additionally, people often reciprocate recommendations. The more quality recommendations you have the better. Employers will be able to see your vast potential.
If you have a few companies that you’d really like to work with, connect with the hiring managers and management at that company. Start interacting. LinkedIn is a website where you can publish information and answer questions about your industry. This can boost your authority and credibility in your industry and you may find employers are knocking on your door and looking for help. That puts you in the perfect position to land a job.
LinkedIn is a social networking site and should be treated accordingly. Behave 100% professionally and remember that everything you do and say is permanent. Put your best foot forward and use LinkedIn to network and find your next job.