Sunday, February 26, 2012

Over 10 Tips for Job Seekers Using LinkedIn

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post, "Internet Marketing Tip: Over 7 Ways to be More Effective on LinkedIn," which seemed to resonate really well with other LinkedIn users.

However, I've noticed that there are a lot of people who "want" some things, but they are not positioning themselves to get them.
For instance, I keep meeting and seeing writers on LinkedIn who are unemployed or simply want to change jobs, but they do not seem to be putting themselves in the best position to succeed.

How should Job Seekers Use LinkedIn?

Definitely more than Twitter and possibly more an Facebook, LinkedIn can be an incredibly effective tool for writers looking for JOBS.

Here are over ten (10) different suggestions for JOB SEEKERS using LinkedIn.

  1. Profile Picture - Have One
  2. Headline - Don't just list your Position - Clarify what you DO
  3. Summary - Outline What You Do & How You'll Help
  4. Current Job - Explain What You Are Doing
  5. Create Easy Access to Samples of Your Work
  6. Post Events on LinkedIn
  7. Add Reading List by Amazon - Add Books
  8. Collect Recommendations
  9. Find More Connections - Through Your Connections
  10. Find More Connections - Through Companies, Occupations, Industries, etc.
  11. Join LinkedIn Groups - Check Job Listings
  12. Share Expertise through LinkedIn Groups
  13. Help Other People Find Work
  14. Promote Other People
1. Profile Picture - Have One

There are different schools of thought on how the picture should look, but nearly everyone agrees that you should HAVE a picture of yourself.

When you do not have one, it could communicate
  • you don't have the skills to take/add a picture
  • you don't have the ambition - you're lazy
Do you want EITHER of those labels?  Add a picture, and preferably that picture is not TOO unprofessional.  (For example, you should not look half-naked, drunk, or unclean.  Actually, those are MY only guidelines--unless you're looking to be a model, a salesperson, or a politician.)

2. Headline - Don't just list your Position - Clarify what you DO

Do we REALLY know what you do?

A TON of people simply have the same headline as their Current Job Title.

First, this is a waste, because it is redundant.

Next, many people have job titles that NOBODY ELSE UNDERSTANDS.  (They may not admit it, because they don't want to look stupid, but many of us don't have a clue what that fancy title means!)

Third, many people understand that LinkedIn is a social media platform.

However, many people overlook the fact that it is a DATABASE.  Do you realize that LinkedIn has its own Search Engine, too?  Many people use LinkedIn to try finding specific people.  The HEADLINE is one of the key things the LinkedIn Search Engine uses to help other people FIND YOU (including human resource people and job recruiters).

So make sure that your Headline includes WHAT you do so that people will find you, but make it somewhat intriguing, too.

It needs to answers the main question of what PROBLEM will you help me SOLVE?

Here are some examples of ones that DO NOTHING for me:
  • "President" -What does that mean at YOUR company?  You win the contest for having an impressive title, but I'm still confused about why I should contact you.
  • "Owner" or "CEO" - See President...but even MORE!
  • "Business Development Specialist" - Do you get sales for your company?  Are you a consultant?  Do you improve your own business somehow?
  • "Associate Director - Acquisition & Development" - Sounds impressive, doesn't it?  When was the last time you tried to find anyone for acquisition or development?
  • "Registered Architect, Project Manager, & Marketing Representative" - Does this person wash dishes, too.  This person does everything else, it seems.  (The only part I DO like here is the use of the word architect.  That IS clear, at least.
  • "QMF Master" - That might be really impressive within this person's industry, but it means nothing to me.  Does it to you?  I'm confident that it won't to most people.
  • "AGM" - Yeah, unless you sit in the cube beside this person, we're both left in the dark here.
Don't let that be you!
Let's compare to some that are stronger: clearer and give a good chance of being found in LinkedIn searches:
  • "Helping Small Business Generate New Business Through Digital Marketing - Web, Video, Mobile, SEO, SEM, Social Media" (My Favorite!  I know what this person does and can do for me.  Plus, LinkedIn searches will find this person for lots of things.)
  • "Internet Marketer Speaker & Consultant | SEO/SEM | Internet Marketing Services | Social Media Speaker/Trainer"
  • "Experienced commercial and advertising photographer, shooting people, products, and providing photo production."
  • "Payment System Consultant - Increase efficiency and improve cash flow"

There are probably even better ones out there, but a good Headline (a) clarifies WHAT you can do, (b) allows people to find you via a search, (c) appropriately brags about you.

3. Summary - Outline What You Do & How You'll Help

Most of us are looking here, but we'll get distracted easily.  You need to GET MY ATTENTION--QUICKLY shortly after I start to read this section about you!

Some people DO NOT HAVE any summary at all.  I think that this is a missed opportunity.

However, I see many people type in these long, boring descriptions of what they will do.

BORING BUT USUAL: For example,
"Currently using more than 20 years of acquired skills and experience in Operations Management, Personnel Leadership, Compliance, Training, and Communications and Public Relations to improve public awareness of 4 non-profit agencies who are dedicated to veterans support, and educating youth in the virtues of teamwork, discipline and leadership.

My goal is to join a non-profit or governmental agency who shares my passion of assisting those who are disadvantaged, are veterans, or both.

Raising awareness of Non-profits using social media, operational management of assets and personnel, compliance, training, governmental relations, process and outcomes improvement"
If you didn't know this person, would you even finish reading this description?  (Did you even finish reading that description here?:)

Me, neither.

BETTER - I PROMISE: I don't know this person, but based on this person's experience and what was said within this person's recommendations, I would suggest something more like this.


Perfect Fit for NON-PROFIT Agency (or GOVERNMENT Agency)
* Over 20 Years Experience
* Helped over 20 Veterans find Employment or Training (to properly prepare them)
* Trained over 20 Employees
* 100% Accuracy – Auditing State Determinations
* Interpret Complex Laws & Apply Them

Key Specialties
* Social Media - Raising awareness of Non-profits using Social Media
* Management - Operational management of assets and personnel
* Compliance
* Auditing - Process and outcomes improvement
* Governmental Relations Development"
Some of you "real writers" might put together better examples, but what was the main difference?

Problem: The 1st one was all about ME (this person), and it was boring to read.

Solution: The 2nd one was easier to identify key benefits and experience, and it tries to emphasize how to reduce stress for the Manager, solving a problem for HIM or HER -- by using ME.

Focus on how you will BENEFIT a company...and do it quickly.

4. Current Job - Explain What You Are Doing

First, you might not have a job, but read this section, anyway.  I have something for you here.

Make sure that make it clear how what you are doing today relates to what you WANT to do for someone else.  Identify and EMPHASIZE the PORTIONS of your job that will relate--not all of the other mundane stuff.  (People don't want to read that.  They don't have time, and they don't have patience.  Do you read that stuff about them and care about it?)

What if you do NOT do anything in your current job that relates to the type of job you want?


(Come back here, you unemployed folk...I've been here, too!)

You WANT to communicate to people that you ARE DOING SOMETHING and that you are doing something that RELATES to what I want you to do.

How often do you pay for something that you don't know--just to "give it a chance?"

Perhaps, every once in a while, but most of us never do.  When we do, we KNOW that we're taking a chance, but we might try things blindly on SMALL PURCHASES.  However, would you BUY A HOUSE without knowing anything about it?

You are asking people at companies to spend money on you--WITHOUT knowing what they are going to get.

By volunteering (if you aren't already doing something related), you remove some of the mystery--DOUBT--about your ability and willingness to do the work.

Whether you are doing things that relate to the job you want at your current job or by volunteering, MAKE SURE TO EMPHASIZE that you are actually DOING IT.

5. Create Easy Access to Samples of Your Work

6. Post Events on LinkedIn

Did you know that LinkedIn lets you POST EVENTS?

Besides creating a post, they let you actually post an Event.  Not only can this event be found within LinkedIn, but it also be found on Google (or any other search engine).

What types of events should you post to LinkedIn?
  • Job Fairs (be a resource)
  • Industry Expositions
  • Networking Events
  • Workshops/Seminars Related to Your Occupation/Industry
  • Your OWN Talks and Demonstrations
There might be even more events that I would post, but I am pretty sure that you are getting the idea.  I want people to associate ME as the "In-the-Know" Guy (or Girl).  Plus, it shows that you are paying attention and probably very active.  The more people see ME as a RESOURCE, the more they will think of ME.  (This really does not only apply--just to me.  It also APPLIES TO YOU!)

Where would I post writing events on LinkedIn?
  • LinkedIn Events
  • My LinkedIn Groups (See #11 & #12 about LinkedIn Groups for you)
I would post it nearly everywhere there might be people I want to see me.  Though it's not the focus of this piece, I would post these events on other places, too, but this post is about how I'd use LinkedIn if I were serious about looking for a job.

7. Add Reading List by Amazon - Add Books

There is a LinkedIn Tool that is easy to apply to your LinkedIn Profile.

It is called "Reading List by Amazon."  (Let me know if you do not know how to apply this.  I will help you.)

Add some RELATED books that you read.  Better yet, add books that you're reading.

The key is that you want to be seen as someone who is IMPROVING himself (or herself) and TAKING ACTION.

Make an applicable comment about the books that you "Add" into this Reading List by Amazaon tool.

8. Get Recommendations

Most of us are more likely to believe someone else recommending someone ("He/She is great!") than we are a person who says, "I am great!"

Therefore, it is important to gather people who are willing to do that for you.

You KNOW when you actually earned a recommendation.  Don't put someone in an awkward position if you know that you did not do that great of a job while working with or for that person.

However, for those people where you DID EARN A RECOMMENDATION, simply ask them.

It does not occur to most people to offer help, especially if they are not aware that you need it.

Some people are not comfortable with "knowing how to write a recommendation."  In this case, you can ask them whether you can write up a recommendation for them that they sign (or in this case "paste" into LinkedIn).

If you do not have anyone who will give you a recommendation, it is time to volunteer.  Make it known that you are trying to earn a recommendation.  So after volunteering for a bit, ask the leader what it would take to earn one from him or her.

9. Find More Connections - Through Your Connections

The more people you know, the better chances you have of one of those people helping you.

Not everyone is on LinkedIn, but there are plenty who are.  Often, there are people on LinkedIn that you know, but you did not realize that they were also on LinkedIn.

You can search in two (2) different places on LinkedIn to find them.
  1. More Connections section on LinkedIn
  2. Connections of Your Connections (These are called 2nd Degree Connections.)
In the upper-right corner of the web page you see when you first log into LinkedIn, there is a section called, "People You May Know."  It shows three (3) different people based upon the LinkedIn Connections that you already have.  However, you can click on "See More >>" in the bottom-right corner of this section in small print.  Then you will see pages upon pages of possible Connections to add.

Only add people that you know, though.

The other way will make more work for you, but it can bring good results.  Go to each of YOUR Connections (1st Degree Connections) and check THEIR Connections (2nd Degreee Connections).  You will probably find some people that you know.  You can send them a request to be your LinkedIn Connection.

Again, only try to add people that you know.  Don't abuse this tool.

10. Find More Connections - Through Companies, Occupations, Industries, etc.

You might  have even MORE people you know than you realize.

You can use the Advanced Search feature on LinkedIn to bring a list of search results for people who work in Companies, Occupations, Titles, Industries, Locations, or just use keywords to try finding them.

You might find more people that you know.

If there is a specific company where you want to work, you can check for people who work there.

If you find someone at this company that likely would have access to the hiring person for your type of job, then you can see which LinkedIn Groups they belong--if they are your 1st Degree Connections, 2nd Degree Connections,, or 3rd Degree Connections (People who are connected to your 2nd Degree Connections).

You can decide whether you want to join any of that person's groups and begin making valuable contributions.  (See #11 & #12 for more about LinkedIn Groups.)

11. Join LinkedIn Groups - Check Job Listings

LinkedIn is not only a database of people to connect to each other, it is also a form of social media.

Not only does this mean that you get to see updates of all of your Connections, they also provide LinkedIn Groups, which are essentially subject-specific forums for people to make posts, comments, and ratings.

There are other benefits, and I will mention one of those in Section 12 (the next section); however, but one of these benefits is that many of these LinkedIn Groups has a special subsection of JOB LISTINGS.

Yes, these job listings are likely to be in a lot of different places, but are you in ALL of them?  You might be in none of them, and this job listing probably targets people with your interests--if not also your skills.  (Otherwise, why would you be part of that group, and why would they take time to list their job in that group if the job did not relate to the group?)

Join a few groups and check out the jobs listed there.  Unless you change your settings, you will receive emails about these new job listings after you join that Group.

12. Share Expertise through LinkedIn Groups

This is where an exceptional person can strike gold.

If you make posts that people find interesting or otherwise valuable, they will start paying attention to you.

You can leave insightful comments on other people's posts.

If you create enough of these posts that show off your expertise, people will start to look at you as the expert.  If you are considered the expert, might they think of you when a job opening surfaces?

Not always, but they will think of you more often--and quickly--than they will someone they have never met or they do not consider to be the expert.

If people think of you as the "expert," do you think that you might some of these people might refer other people to you?

More (positive) exposure for you = Improved Chances of Job Consideration

However, one benefit that most people do not realize is that you can (usually) send a Private Message to someone else who has posted something or left a comment--even if they are not one of your Connections.

This will help you build more meaningful relationships more quickly than just about anything else LinkedIn has to offer.  That's been my experience, anyway.

13. Help Other People Find Work

This suggestion might seem to be a little crazy, but stay with me here.

Many people get really nervous when they approach companies looking for work.  They feel self-conscious.

How much easier would it be for you to start a conversation if you could begin a conversation with someone and make it clear that you are not asking them to help YOU?

When you represent someone else, the other person tends to be more open to listening to what you have to say.  Once conversation opens, then you might understand that he or she needs someone like you, or that person might know somebody else.

Plus, it is a lot easier to hold a conversation when you have more than one (1) topic to discuss.  If you are helping five (5) other people, then you have, at least, five (5) other topics to open the conversation and keep it going, and that person might think of you as a POTENTIAL RESOURCE--never a bad thing.  (Again, they're thinking of the person that could HELP them.)

14. Promote Other People

Besides being a nice thing to do, when you promote other people it does, at least, two (2) things.
  • Referral: They will more likely think of you, and they might think to tell other people about you.
  • Leadership: When you promote other people, it says a lot about you.  You make it clear that you are not just focused on yourself, and people will trust you more.  Plus, you will find that many people tend to gravitate toward leaders and promoters.
I am not suggesting that you promote or recommend any one person EXPECTING that they will promote or recommend you.  That is tacky, but it also generates luke warm "endorsements."  We all can tell when someone is being courteous versus enthusiastic about someone.

Simply put, promoting other people is never a bad thing, and it often brings good results for you.

Summary: Wrapping Up

I cannot guarantee you that you will get a job within a certain amount of time, nor can I promise that you will get a HUGE salary.  However, I can guarantee that if you follow these steps, you will look at act more professionally, and I promise THAT will significantly improve your chances of getting that job you really way--sooner rather than later.

Even if you only do SOME of these things, you will separate yourself from most people and put yourself in the BEST POSITION to get that new job.  Good luck with your search!

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