Today, the “continuous job search” is a crucial practice that can prevent you from missing out on opportunities. As social media becomes increasingly important to job seekers, harnessing the real power of social platforms – like LinkedIn – can significantly improve your job quest. LinkedIn can be your virtual foot in the door if you take advantage of the following eight best practices. Here’s how to use LinkedIn to find a job:
In order to successfully employ LinkedIn for your job search, you have to be diligent. Make sure to keep your network active and constantly develop and expand it. Stay on it like it’s your job because, for the time being, it is.
Update your profile
Although this may not seem like a big deal, updating your profile headline, putting an end date on your last job, and asking for recommendations and endorsements from people who think highly of your work can make a huge difference. When prospective employers view your LinkedIn profile, they should see an accurate representation of your experience and current standing. Incorrect information could immediately cause you to be overlooked by an employer that, in actuality, would be interested.
Keep up with your network
Keep up with what the people in your network are up to. Simply clicking through your list of connections will clue you into all sorts of news and give you the opportunity to reach out to those you’ve been out of touch with for a while. If they’ve updated their profiles, they want you to know. So, take note of any updates and send out messages of acknowledgment when notifications arrive on your feed. Those interactions help you stay in top-of-mind.
Updates invite people in your network to reach out to you, so take the time to share updates with your network. The more you post, the more opportunities you’ll create for connections to contact you. You’ll appear very involved in and passionate about your field (which you are!). Be a go-to contact by keeping people posted.
Tag your contacts
Utilizing LinkedIn’s tag feature is a great way to maintain relationships. Hold your cursor over a contact and under the name to the left, you’ll see the word “tag.” Click on it and you get a pull-down menu where you can add a word like “colleague,” “former colleague,” “client,” or something more explicit like “met at marketing conference.” This is a good way to keep track of how you developed your contacts.
Make all connections personal
When someone you don’t know sends you an invitation to connect, hit “reply.” Rather than accepting the invite through LinkedIn, it’s better to send the person a query – something like: “Hi X, I appreciate your invite to connect. As I like to know all the people in my LinkedIn network, I’m curious as to how you came across my profile and/or why you decided to reach out.” That type of query can never hurt and may turn into something valuable.
Publish posts about your field
It’s worthwhile to publish posts about your industry on LinkedIn, especially if you have gaps in your résumé or you’re making a career change. If the right person reads your post, they just might want to interview you. Showcase your knowledge to increase the chances that the person you want to see it will.
Spend time connecting
LinkedIn provides a fast way to find contacts who work at the company where you’re trying to get a job, with the job title of the position you’d like to land. The “advanced search” command is great for this. Spend 15-20 minutes three times a week reviewing your connections, commenting on updates or posts, and reaching out for meetings if that seems appropriate. Put in the effort and you’ll inevitably get something out of it – maybe even your dream job.
Bonus: Using LinkedIn in Sales
These same tips that work for job prospecting work for sales prospecting. If you’re looking for a systematic way for your sales team to generate qualified leads using LinkedIn, apply these best practices to enhance your sales prospecting strategy. Simply keep up with your network, share your own updated information, and take advantage of the greatest features LinkedIn has to offer. Remember that business is centered on people, so show your colleagues who you are.
This article originally appeared on Startup Institute
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