I am an inveterate networker. Amongst all the conversations I have, at least once a week, I'm asked by a job seeker (passive or active) how they can use Linkedin to be found by headhunters and take advantage of new career opportunities? So here's my top 10 tips on how you can be found:
- Make sure your Linkedin profile is 100% complete. There are loads of websites you can google offering great advice on making your profile as strong as possible so I won't regurgitate too much here. But for me the key elements that allow me to find candidates are industries, companies, job titles and locations. I'll search on all of these to locate talent
- Become connected.There's no point having a lovely looking profile and then keeping it hidden away by avoiding connecting with anyone. Some people endorse the open networker route and will invite and accept invitations from anyone. Others are more focused and only want to connect with people of particular relevance. Whichever route you take the key is to build a network that works for you by raising visibility and giving you access to hirers. A good place to start is to upload connections from an address book; you can do this is in the "Add Connections" page of your Linkedin profile.
- Join professional groups. On a basic level joining a particular group will allow other group members (including hirers) to message you directly and relevant jobs are often posted on the careers section. On a more advanced level taking part in discussions or posting your own talking points will a) raise your profile b) increase your connections as people will want to connect with you as you're such an interesting person and c) demonstrate your knowledge of a sector or profession.
- Update your status regularly. Tell people what you're up to or post a link to some news item of interest with a comment. Social networking is perhaps more about interaction and sociability than technology; so be sure to be professional in your updates but don't be too boring or repetitive. You don't need to be a slave to updating your status but you should dip in and out fairly regularly so people get a flavour of what you're all about and see you in their updates feed. Adding twenty updates in one go and neglecting for a month is a no-no.
- Follow companies. Linkedin is a great way to keep tabs on companies you may be interested in. More and more companies are using Linkedin as a conduit for news, press releases and job postings. You'll also be able to see who's joined and where they came from and who's left and where they've gone to. Invaluable info if you're planning your own career.
- Follow people. Not in a cyberstalking kind of way but rather use the Signal tool to set up searches that will allow you to quickly scan updates from Linkedin users based on industries, employers, locations etc. This way you can be sure not to miss news, changes, job postings etc.
- Embrace other social media platforms. Linkedin allows you to interact with Twitter and blogs. If you have the time and inclination get on to both and give hirers the chance to see more of you. But of course remember to keep the social and the professional delineated to avoid embarrassment as companies are using social networking checks more and more to screen prospective hires.
- Add applications. Linkedin isn't just a online database but has some good applications such as SlideShare, My Travel, Box.net, Portfolio Display and Events that can showcase your work and provide collaborative space between connections. Let's see what you're made of!
- Seek recommendations. "Shy bairns get nowt" as they say round our way. For those not based in North of England this translates as "If you don't ask, you don't get". So get over any reservations and ask for recommendations from people who you know, have worked with or have done work for. Promote yourself through the good words of others. I'd much rather hire an employee who's profile showed that his or her key clients thought they were ace and why.
- Adjust your settings. My last tip is very very basic. Go to the Settings section at top right of the profile and adjust your settings to your own particular tastes and needs. Here you can specify that you're open to all Introductions, Inmails and Openlink Messages or just Introductions. You can adjust who can send you Invites; from anyone and everybody to only those who know your email address. And lastly you can set what types of approaches you're interested in hearing about; career opportunities, reference requests, consulting offers etc. Clearly the more open you are to all types and methods of connecting the easier it will be for recruiters to find you.
I hope all this helps. If in doubt, shout! Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or link with me at my Linkedin page or follow my twitter account @robmwright.
PS: If you're in doubt about the effectiveness, power and use of Linkedin as a recruiting tool just click on this Forbes article about the rise in Linkedin's Hiring Solution revenue (second only to Monster) or see The Undercover Recruiter's infographic on recruiter use of social media.