How To Make LinkedIn Work for Your Career Goals

4 Ways to Step Up Your Social Networking Game

Sometimes the best advice for job seekers and those considering a career change is to spend more time on a social network – one that provides the latest job opportunities, expands your contacts, and provides career development support. You probably know about LinkedIn’s reputation for professional networking already. You may even have a LinkedIn profile. It might be time to revisit it.

LinkedIn isn’t just a place to post your resume. Using it consistently and smartly to build your network can put you closer to your career goals. Ready to step up your game? These five things will get you started toward moving up the career ladder, finding a new job in your field, or starting a career in brand new industry.

1. Complete Your Profile. So, you have a LinkedIn profile page…but it’s incomplete. According to LinkedIn, a 100% complete LinkedIn profile means you’re more likely to get clicked on and more likely to receive opportunities. It’s time to fill those voids: keep your current position up-to-date, include your education, add skills, and include a professional profile photo. A complete profile also requires at least 50 connections. Start by connecting with co-workers, members of business or social groups you belong to, and anyone you know in real life. You can get started by using these tips for stress-free LinkedIn requests. You’ll build your network before you know it.

2. Show Off Your Skills. Having the right skills for the job can be as valuable as having an education. If you’ve got job skills, especially those that are in demand – certain types of computer programming, for example – flaunt them. Completing your skills list shows colleagues and potential employers the areas where you excel. Experts say list as many as you can – it makes it easier for your connections to “endorse” you for those skills. Keep in mind that potential employers may take endorsements with a grain of salt (they are fairly easy to get), but listing them is still essential, and it will make your profile search-friendly.

3. Join Groups. Interested in interacting with people in your field of work? Joining LinkedIn groups – and there are plenty – is a great way to get started. Being part of a group can improve your networking and provide valuable information about what’s happening in your industry or region. You’ll be able to grow your connections, comment on discussions, and submit your own articles.  If you are actively looking for a job, there are groups dedicated to posting leads and new listings – join them. There are also groups devoted to career transition and to developing new skills.

4. Reach Out. You’ve completed your profile and joined some groups. Take the next step by endorsing others for their great performance, posting regular updates, liking updates of others, and making new connections. The more you reach out, the more you’ll get in return.

Remember that LinkedIn leans toward being more professional than other social networks. If you are used to overly-enthusiastic Liking and posting on Facebook, for example, you may want to be a bit more restrained on LinkedIn. And even if you are social media savvy, remember that real-world etiquette applies. Thank a connection for an endorsement, or email a connection that has helped you out. Think of LinkedIn as a conduit to real-world interactions – opportunities for you to really shine.


PRO TIPS FOR JOB SEEKERS

Pro Tip #1: Do Your Research

If you are a job seeker currently interviewing for positions, LinkedIn can be a valuable tool for getting a leg up at your next interview. Use it to learn about the company you are interviewing for and who you’ll be speaking with. Your interviewer will be impressed when you mention their alma mater, or bring up a connection with a previous employer. When you are trying to stand out among other jobs seekers, being engaged and knowledgeable can make all the difference.

Pro Tip #2: Share Your Insights

In between jobs? It’s easy to get discouraged when the phone isn’t ringing. Make your downtime work for you by publishing posts. Pulse, the LinkedIn publishing platform, provides a list of “writing ideas” that will provide timely potential topics to get you started. You can even write about the challenges of the job search – just remember to make it helpful, specific, and upbeat. You’ll make new connections and remain visible to those who know you. Get started by using this beginner’s guide to publishing on LinkedIn.

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