This guest post was written by Christian Arno:
Nowadays, LinkedIn is undoubtedly the best online platform to find a job. Not only can it boast 135 million members in more than 200 countries but, according to recent surveys, over 30% of its users have an income of over $100 000. This means that your chances of getting in touch with high-ranking executives and decision-makers are quite high.
Unfortunately, in this case, the good news comes along with the bad. 135 million users mean a heck of a lot of competition. So, how can you stand out in the crowd? There are no magic tricks or secret recipes but following these essential rules will definitely put you in pole position in grabbing your desired job. Here they are.
1) PUT A FULL PROFILE
The first step is to have a full profile, that is, you have to fill in all the required fields. No matter how compelling your work experience can be, showing to a potential employer that you did not even bother to complete your LinkedIn profile is not exactly a plus. Going into details, it is crucial to take full advantage of the profile headline: it has to be brief, effective and to the point. You have to deliver a catchy message that says who you are and what you do. Since most search engine researches are based on keywords, it is highly advisable to add some of them to your LinkedIn profile, especially in the following sections: headline, biography and work experience.
Last but not least, if you are using LinkedIn to look for a job, just say it! It might sound silly to stress this point but it is not. Not every LinkedIn member is there for the same reason: some are in full employment and use it as a platform to network; others are there to launch a book, a workshop, a webinar or simply looking for new opportunities. If you are searching for a new position, indicate your intensions at the bottom of your profile where is asks, “Interested in…Job Opportunities”.
2) GET RECCOMENDATIONS
As much as we like to demonstrate that we are confident people, before taking a decision, most of us prefer to hear others’ opinions. This is particularly true for decision-makers and recruitment managers who have to pick candidates to hire for their company. Hence, recommendations from former employers are something you cannot really do without and the more you have the better.
A very effective way to get recommendations is to give them. Once you have written a few lines for somebody else you know and trust, this person will be much more willing to do the same for you. As to what they should write about you, following the rules of storytelling is always a good guideline. Just as any good writer will never say that his/her character is clever or violent but, instead, he/she will show it through his/her actions, your recommendation should explain what you have achieved working in a group instead of saying that you are an incredible team player.
Besides, do not forget that your profile should include links to your website, blog or any other valuable online resource you are involved with. Those are tools to help you stand out in the ocean of possible candidates.
3) GROUPS: BECOME AN EXPERT
Becoming a member of a LinkedIn group is one of those smart moves which brings many benefits and no downsides. Some groups have hundreds or thousands of members and once you are a member, you automatically gain direct access to all of them either by starting new discussions or by updating your status and/or sending them messages. If you have expertise in some field, you can also start your own group. Once you are a group owner, as soon as you answer questions from members, you start being perceived as an expert and your chances of attracting employers triple in a flash.
4) BE ACTIVE: CONNECT AND STUDY
Be active. That is the main rule on LinkedIn, as in any other social network. Your everyday activity, apart from updating your status and taking part in group discussions, should involve checking other members’ profiles and making new connections. Unlike the school of thought which suggests that you should not accept connections from people you do not know, I strongly suggest the opposite: get as many connections as possible. The reason? You never know who will be looking for a candidate with your skills.
Take full advantage of that tremendously helpful tool that is the companies section on the LinkedIn home page. Let us assume you would be interested in landing an interview for a position in a company you would die to work for. The first thing to do is to check out which of the company’s employees are also LinkedIn members. Then, see whether they are your 2nd, 3rd or other tier connections and work your way to them by connecting with the right members. Once you have to shoot, shoot high and try to connect with high profile members, they could seem more difficult to reach but they might turn out to be more rewarding in the end.
Keep in mind these basic rules and launch yourself into the game: remember, if you do not play, you cannot win.