Tag Archives | linkedin

Image by Shekhar_Sahu, Flickr

Image by Shekhar_Sahu, Flickr

Networking is primarily the art of connecting with peers and colleagues to further your career advancement and development through mutual and beneficial cooperation. Unfortunately, most recent grads ultimately fail to realize that networking is not about taking, but also about giving.

Networking is one of the most valuable tools in job searching, and unfortunately for most, does not come easily. LinkedIn is a valuable and accessible social networking tool, with over 300 million users worldwide, that all professionals and recent graduates should use to connect and interact with prospective employers. Here’s a list of five LinkedIn job search and networking tips:

1. LinkedIn is a job board

LinkedIn is not just about connecting with professionals – it is also a career centre. As of right now there are over 76,000 Canadian job postings (you’ll see this number change on a daily basis). Job postings through LinkedIn are important because they give you more access to prospective employers – usually the job poster’s profile is attached to the listing. Take some time to do some research of not only the company, but also of the hiring manager or recruiter. This is valuable and insightful information that is often not available when applying through traditional job boards like Workopolis or Monster.

2. Make connections

Don’t be afraid to make connections with senior management in your career field. LinkedIn is a perfectly acceptable method of introduction, whether it be through one of your existing contacts or not. For example: decide on an industry you want to enter, find a company you want to work for, do some research on the company, as well as its employees, and connect with HR managers by way of introduction through a mutual acquaintance or by approaching them yourself.

An example could be messaging the hiring manager of a small manufacturing company: “Hi, X. My name is Robert and I wanted to connect with you because I have an interest in working with your company. I noticed on your company website that you are looking for a production supervisor. I think I would be a great fit for this opportunity because of A, B and C.”

In the example above remember that networking is based on reciprocity; professionals do not connect with other professionals without a reason, or without the expectation that you can help one another. In this example you are connecting with someone because you feel you are a qualified candidate. You benefit by getting a job, and your connection benefits by potentially filling one of their roles. You’ve also stuck out from the crowd, made initial contact with the hiring manager, and skipped the queue all in one connection. I would also advise following up with a phone call the next day.

3. LinkedIn lets you scope out the competition

There are few professional social media outlets that let you browse your direct competition. Although job applications are confidential, LinkedIn does let you look at professionals similar to yourself. Use this to improve your profile and resume. Obviously do not steal people’s job description bullet points, but look at the professionals in your industry and see how you measure up, where you can improve, and what you are good at.

4. Wisdom from your peers

LinkedIn is a pool of wisdom if you’re willing to look for it. There are options on LinkedIn to “follow” (not connect) with “LinkedIn Influencers.” Use this to your advantage, and take note of what industry leaders have to say about a variety of personal and professional issues.

5. Groups

Join groups with other like-minded professionals in your field or location. There’s a mountain of wealth to be learned in LinkedIn groups, and they also provide a way to align your connections and network along your chosen career path. Job searching is increasingly turning to social media and online profiles, and professional groups are often where peers and colleagues congregate to discuss industry hot button topics, opportunities, market trends and more.

Read more on LinkedIn here:

Image by TheSeafarer, Flickr

Image by TheSeafarer, Flickr

You have no job experience. You’re in school 30 hours a week, nearly 40 weeks a year. You feel like all other time is spent studying, working on assignments, and drinking coffee to stay awake. You’re conscious of your future, and the online community talks about how everyone “needs” to be on LinkedIn. You know it’s useless to set up a profile with nothing on it. So how can you create one that will actually add value for recruiters or industry professionals?

Great question. Starting with the 10 tips below will make a world of difference to your professional online brand:

  1. Post a professional profile picture

  2. The group photo from that party last summer may be your most photogenic shot yet. The one with your dog licking your face is cute too. And you look drop-dead gorgeous in the photo where you wore that low-cut dress. Here’s a tip: save those for Facebook. LinkedIn should be used for making industry connections and trying to further (or even begin) your career. It’s in your best interest to use a professional picture. Choose a clear headshot with only you in the photo, and a solid or lighter background. Remember that most recruiters will be viewing a thumbnail of your photo, so it’s your face you want visible, not your dog’s tongue.

  3. Add a relevant headline

  4. If you have a part-time job, add that as your headline. If you’re on the job hunt, don’t be afraid to call yourself a student, but also use phrases like “aspiring professional” (make it specific to your industry). Show recruiters that you’re interested in the industry and ready to start your career.

  5. Use keywords

  6. Keywords within your headline and the rest of your profile will help recruiters or industry professionals find your profile in a search. Do some research on popular terms in your preferred industry and make sure to talk about them within your profile, but only use the terms that are relevant to you. Keep your profile honest.

  7. Don’t ignore the summary section

  8. This isn’t one of the sections where you can select a description from a drop down list. You’ll need to use some brain power here and describe your qualities to a potential recruiter. What is it about you that will make a recruiter want to know more in an interview? This is a good place to highlight those keywords, and to show how you’re different from other potential candidates.

  9. Don’t be afraid to show your personality

  10. Is LinkedIn a professional platform? Yes. But remember that recruiters want to see you have a personality. There are ways to make your profile professional, but relaxed. If you have hobbies, mention them. Stay away from slang and exclamation marks, but there’s no need to be overly stiff either. Find a balance that shows who you are.

  11. Include your volunteer experience – and extracurriculars

  12. When you don’t have work experience, recruiters will be drawn to your volunteer experience. Even if you do have work experience, some recruiters place a great deal of value on your extracurriculars. If you can show initiative and success in places where you aren’t being paid, they’ll start to imagine what you could do for them with a salary.

  13. Ask for recommendations

  14. No one likes asking people to say something positive about them, but once you get that first recommendation, your self-confidence will skyrocket. Those recommendations will also mean a great deal to recruiters. Now, don’t go looking for recommendations from people who barely know you; the whole idea is to add value to your profile. Ask people you’ve volunteered with/for, who you’ve been part of a committee with, or who can vouch for your work ethic.

  15. Join groups for your industry of interest – and be active in them

  16. LinkedIn is brimming with hundreds (if not thousands) of groups for every industry. If you’re looking towards working in one or two specific industries, find groups that interest you and join them. Read up on what professionals are discussing within the group, and offer your insights when you can. This will show up on your connections’ feeds, and if you’re adding value to the conversation, people will be aware of it.

  17. Proofread

  18. One of the biggest keys to professionalism is ensuring your profile is error-free. Check for spelling and grammar. If you’re unsure, Google it. Get someone to review it for you. Your profile is, essentially, your online resume – put as much care into it as you would with your hard copy.

  19. Be proactive

  20. Do all job postings seem to require 3-5 years of industry experience? You might be looking in the wrong place. LinkedIn has recently become more student-friendly; they even have a student-specific job section full of internships, co-ops, and entry-level positions. Don’t make recruiters come to you – be proactive and start the job hunt on your own.

Follow LinkedIn’s student-focused Twitter account for more advice on optimizing your LinkedIn profile: @LinkedInU.

Good luck with your profile! Tweet us @StudentsDotOrg when you have yours set up and we’d be happy to offer feedback.