Would you send an out-of-date resume to a potential future employer? I doubt it. Unfortunately, for many people, they are doing that every day by neglecting their social profiles.
“But I’m currently employed, I don’t need a new job”
“I don’t need to worry about this for a while…”
“Who uses LinkedIn?”
I hear these quotes all too often, but perhaps they’re right. Maybe no one will search for your account on LinkedIn, but HR is trending towards using LinkedIn as a tool to search for new candidates. For recruiters, this means many more opportunities to find new talent, for job searchers, this means more opportunity to find a dream job.
So what steps should you take to maximize your LinkedIn potential?
1. Update your account to reflect your correct degree
Unless you are pulling a Van Wilder and delaying graduation, not updating your online accounts is similar to not updating a resume. You presumably joined LinkedIn under the premise that it is a sort of Facebook for professionals. Stating that you anticipate graduating in 2010 doesn’t help your case for employment
2. Update your connections
This is a big one that bothers me. There is no person on LinkedIn that shouldn’t have at least 45 connections. We have all met people along the way through business, education, and social settings that could be beneficial to career development. Search for people you recognize and add them; you’ll never know what opportunities await.
3. Update your current job situation
We all have heard the saying “it’s easier to get a job when you have a job”. That same mentality applies. If you have a job, let others know that you do. If you don’t have one, find ways to volunteer your talents to keep your skills in check. And just update to update. People notice updates in their news feed. What better way to interact than by updating?
4. Dress to Impress
Your headshot is your first chance to get someone’s attention. If you want to be a wild-life ranger, maybe your photo should be of you outdoors, however, if you want to be a financial analyst, a photo of you base-jumping won’t win them over (unless they like really high-energy, high-risk financial analysts)
5. Join Groups
We all qualify to be members of many of the groups on LinkedIn. Without a doubt, your college has a LinkedIn group online for alumni to connect. Do you have a weird hobby? You would be surprised by the many different groups available. Join one and watch the connections flow in. Furthermore, don’t be afraid to post or comment. People won’t ask for a connection from an inactive user. Many groups provide posts for people just looking to network: sign up!
6. Contact your Connections
Maybe you’re not job searching, but perhaps you are looking to learn about a new field or idea. Do you envy someone’s ability to sell certain products, make a website, or make excellent connections? LinkedIn is a tool that allows you to meet people that you find interesting. Is your best friend connected with Bill Gates? Why not ask your friend for an introduction? Think of the four degrees of separation that has replaced the concept of six degrees of separation. We are not more connected than ever.
7. Help out others and they’ll help you
The old adage, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” can’t be forgotten. Help out your friends and watch them help you.
Know that your Facebook profile is just as likely to get you a job
Recently, Jobvite found that more people found jobs through Facebook than LinkedIn and Twitter. Adjust your job hunting and Facebook usage accordingly. If you post about how much you hate your current job on Facebook, a recruiter will take that into consideration. Just assume that they have hacked your account and are looking at EVERYTHING that you say. Privacy is gone