By: Lianne Stephensen – Career Counsellor and Workshop Facilitator – Osborne Village Resource Centre
As a workshop facilitator and career counsellor, I have come increasingly aware of some commonalities with some of my participants and one-to-one clients. Most seem to have fairly good research skills when using the internet and searching various websites as part of their job search. What I found interesting, however, was some of the fear of using Linked In, perceiving it to be a place where managers or business professionals are. I do believe after further discussion with my participants was that a lot of it had to do with not wanting to be on those platforms for personal reasons or fear of networking with people. What I try to do in these instances is educate them on the increasing benefits of using Linked In as the job market can be extremely competitive particularly when applying for advertised jobs.
Here are my 5 Top Reasons for using LinkedIn as part of your Job Search Success:
1. Linked In – The Hidden Gem
Even though LinkedIn has grown in popularity over the last couple of years, it is still a fairly new platform used by many job seekers for a variety of reasons. For those of us that have, it is a great way to network and build connections. As someone who is also a small business owner, I have had several contract work leads come from people I connected with on Linked In. The current job I am in as a Career Counsellor was also advertised on Linked In. I just happened to be checking that day and came across the position. Had I not, I may not have seen it advertised.
With Linked In you want to be make sure to develop and update your profile that highlights your skills and experience in a way that attracts people in your field and potential employers or associations to want to find out more. Under each job you can add a brief description (use point form) what you did and only go back 10 or 15 years similar to how you format your resume. Make sure to include all your relevant education, certifications, courses, and volunteer experience. The beauty of LinkedIn is that you can add a lot more to your profile than you could your resume. I even suggest to job seekers to add their LinkedIn URL link to their resume as another way for employers to review your job application.
Check Job Tabs
There is a section on Linked In where you can click on a Jobs tab to search for jobs. Instead of advertising through the newspaper or large sites like Indeed, more companies are trying to save money posting their job ad on LinkedIn. The benefit of that is when you become a Linked In member, you will automatically be referred to people or organizations that are in your field or area of interest. Employers and recruiters know this and may even reach out to you about a position before they advertise it as there is no cost to them. As well, you may have already started a conversation with them or know them through social networks or conferences you have attended in past positions you`ve held.
2. Get Involved By Building Your Contacts
It’s also beneficial to get involved in LinkedIn Groups or Forums to stay abrupt to topics in your field. You will also be able to identify professional groups in your area and get involved. This will expand your network and show your expertise. LinkedIn Groups allow people to get to know you without selling yourself. You are able to post articles, blogs or share other people’s articles. In addition, you also want to be actively engaged on a regular basis on Linked In at least once per day reading posts, blogs, and asking questions as your network continues to grow. You will start to be a recognized professional in your field. It is also okay to ask for “recommendations” from former or current colleagues and contacts and provide recommendations in return. This adds creditability and enhances your profile further.
3. Research Companies of Interest or Those In Your Field
In addition, click on the search tab and research companies or individuals in your field or career of interest to find out about what their qualifications are, their work history, events, and any testimonials they may have to get to know more. Sometimes company websites are not always up-to-date and so Linked In may be one way to find out the ins and outs of a company. You can also send personalized greeting/messages to new contacts who work for companies or in your ideal job to introduce yourself and possibly set up an informational interview to find out more about what they do. This will help you establish relationships and build your network of people you know that work in your field of interest or company. You also will to want to send a “Thank You Message” to new contacts that connect with you and keep a Linked In Contact List the same as you would your for your job search for future reference.
You will notice that as you develop your LinkedIn network the context for your home page will start to include many special events or conferences are posted by companies. Events such as: career or job fairs, free or low cost classes, and volunteer opportunities. You will want to check out these further and consider participating to add to your knowledge and skill base, particularly if there are gaps in your employment history.
4. Update Your Headline
Make sure that you have a professional current looking photo with your name and headline that will “stand out” and highlight what type of position you are looking for. For example, “Chemical Engineer in Civil Service Sector.” It is also good to include in your headline that you are “Currently Looking for New Employment Opportunities.” Consider your LinkedIn profile like the first impression page that potential employers will view to get an idea of who you are, your qualifications, skills, education, and work experience. Always keep in mind what your new contacts would want to know about you first.
5. Effective Summary Page
In addition to your headline, your Summary section should tell your personal story and be written in the first person using “I.” Instead of Summary I also like to use the words, “Vision or Mission” and talk about the type of clientele I help, successes I have in my current or past jobs. In addition, I like to include my interests and what I am passionate about using statements like “I love seeing people reach their goals and discover a life they love living!” I have had people comment to me when sending me a personalized message something they read that resonated with them in my Summary section of my Linked In. I call this my personality section as well where I can go more in depth than I could on my resume describing my strengths, skills and attributes in greater detail.
And that is it for an introduction as to why I believe using Linked In as part of job search is crucial. Who knows? Your next job may be awaiting you very soon!
Top Resume. (2019). Are You Using Linked In to Its Fullest To Get A Job? [Blog Post]. Retrieved https://ca.topresume.com/career-advice/14-ways-to-leverage-your-linkedin-profile-during-your-job-search
Kelly Wellness Consulting Inc (2017). LinkedIn 4 Workplace Wellness [Online Course].