LinkedIn Job Search Strategies for Beginners
Networking is one of the most important — if not the most important — activities that you can leverage throughout your career. Because only 20 percent of all job opportunities are publicly advertised, it is essential that you grow a strong network of career stakeholders to provide a healthy flow of support and potential job leads.
In today's digital age, while in-person networking will always be important, many first impressions begin with an online search, making it even more essential that you be present, searchable and branded in everything you do online.
SO, why should you start your job search with LinkedIn?
First, LinkedIn is an interconnected network of more than 90 million professionals from around the world, representing 150 industries and 200 countries. Second, LinkedIn is highly ranked in Google and other search engines, and your profile is often in the top search results for your name. Lastly, your LinkedIn profile is your online resume. Not only does your profile require your experience, education and credentials for 100 percent completion, but it is also where career stakeholders expect to find you and your professional information.
Now, how do you start your job search with LinkedIn?
- Complete Your Profile 100 Percent: Your LinkedIn profile is your online resume. If an incomplete resume would look bad to an employer, how do you suppose an incomplete LinkedIn profile would come across? First impressions matter, and your LinkedIn profile may be the first impression you make on a potential employer or career contact. In addition to making you look more professional, a 100 percent completed profile helps you rise higher in LinkedIn People searches, increasing your visibility for potential job opportunities. LinkedIn makes it easy to complete your profile 100 percent with a step-by-step profile-building guide.
- Build Your Network: Make sure to connect with all of your current and previous contacts. You may also choose to get involved in open networking, which involves connecting with both those professionals you know and those you don't.
- Join LinkedIn Groups: There are thousands of LinkedIn groups you can join, including alumni groups, industry-specific groups, special interest groups and more. Joining groups will increase the size of your network, but may also allow you to message more contacts regarding potential opportunities.
- Get Recommended: As you build your network, request as many recommendations as is appropriate from your colleagues, classmates, professors, partners or clients. They don't have to be long like traditional recommendations; they just need to be genuine and supportive of your personal brand. Collectively, a few brief recommendations can be more powerful than one extensive one.
- Search Jobs: Don't forget that LinkedIn has its own job board of listings you can browse. Many of the opportunities list the individual and/or company that posted them. This makes it easier to apply for positions and simultaneously identify the appropriate contacts with whom to follow up and network. Also check the discussion and job boards on the groups you are in, as many opportunities are shared there by fellow group members.
There are many other more ways you can use LinkedIn to pursue opportunities and build your brand that we will discuss next month; however, you would be surprised to know how many people don't do these basic things to start and then wonder why everything else they are doing on LinkedIn isn't working for them. These are the essentials to help get you started on the right foot, and next month, we will cover some more advanced strategies to advance your job search and career on LinkedIn.