Turns out, you don’t need to have a Harvard alumni father to get a job right after college. You also don’t have to juggle or sing at a job interview to stand out. All you need is be smart – not bookish, but more of everyday smart. While everybody else is writing “creative” along with “professional” and “responsible” for a hundredth time on their resumes, you can take the road less traveled. Here I have gathered a few tricks that can help you land your dream job by making good use of the power of LinkedIn. Enjoy!
Make your LinkedIn profile personal
Nobody expects it, so it will hit right in the bull’s eye. Clean out clichés and dull descriptions (you will be surprised, but clichés can be a reason for your job failure!). It is better to write less but touch a few strings in your potential employer’s soul with what you say about yourself. Start with the top background image – your choice can tell a lot about you at first glance. And thanks to extra features you can make the description much more vivid by uploading presentations and videos to show what you are capable of. For the same purpose, you can rearrange the order of sections, if you think it will better fit the narration of your resume.
Work on your following
Yes, it does matter how many people you follow. The rule of thumb used to be – at least 50 connections for a successful LinkedIn profile. Now it is much more (just don’t let it hit the recruiter’s 500+). There are three types of connections you should make:
- Colleagues and people you know personally (it definitely won’t hurt to professionally befriend your real-life friends)
- People with a vast network of connections that are open for new ones. They are not doing it for the sake of being popular. Adding so many people means they will be looking for certain specialists within their own circle of LinkedIn friends, which in turn is an opportunity for you. Did you know that 80% of all positions are closed with referrals?
- Leaders of thought in your area. It will show headhunters that you are into self-educating and professional improvement.
Work on your LinkedIn profile picture
If you think not having a profile picture is okay, you could not be more wrong. People are much more likely to pass your profile if it doesn’t grab their attention. LinkedIn itself gives users the following tips: the photo must have a clear background, must be taken in natural light, you must look slightly above the camera, wear a professional outfit, avoid “funny” faces. Inappropriate pictures are a death sentence for your entire profile – unless you are trying to be a good match for one of those crazy job titles, of course.
Join and participate in relevant industry groups
It is the participation that plays the biggest role. You can be a member of dozens of professional communities, but if you are not involved in their online activities, you are not getting the most of it. Becoming an active member will help you express yourself as a professional and find new connections.
Set up job alerts
Let jobs come to you instead of vice versa. You can set up alerts in the LinkedIn app and you will be among the first to know whenever a company you want to work at opens a position.
Don’t skip the education section
If you think employers don’t care about all your schools and majors, you are wrong. They can choose to read or not to read, but if you don’t provide all the information, you are depriving yourself of opportunities. Include everything, to the smallest detail.
Use relevant keywords all over your LinkedIn profile
Recruiters look for certain things when trying to find a perfect candidate for the job. If your professional sphere is rather narrow and your LinkedIn profile gives a very precise idea of your professional image, think of a few relevant keywords and use them in the summary, job descriptions, and other sections. It will also help those who visit your page to get an idea of your professional competence at a glance.
Give your profile a boost with a “Job Seeker Badge”
The badge, which comes as a 30-day free trial, will show employers that you are considering offers and are ready for a change. It is especially convenient, since having a profile on LinkedIn does not necessarily equates to being on the job hunt, and recruiters can spend hours writing to potential candidates only to find out they’re not ready to move. Motivation is what helps to stand out from the job-seeking crowd.
Self-publishing content – an absolute MUST
LinkedIn didn’t invent its self-publishing platform for nothing. They did it bearing professional needs in mind. That’s why you can and have to take advantage of it. Publishing your own posts is not only a flattering opportunity to develop your writing skills (which you could be doing elsewhere). It is also an opportunity to comment on industry trends and provide your own insights into the topic. You can tell about yourself through your writing and explain how exactly you can become a valuable asset. And at the end of the day, this is what all companies are looking for – a valuable asset.
It was a trend to call yourself “creative” for a while, but now it only makes people smile. The word is so overused that it triggers no attention at all. Probably because half of all applicants that use it are not even close to creative and only see this adjective as a justification to ask for a higher pay. An analysis of 20 million UK profiles showed that there was a number of such overused buzzwords on LinkedIn that included: Motivated, Creative, Enthusiastic, Track record, Passionate, Successful, Driven, Leadership, Strategic and Extensive experience.
Customize your LinkedIn URL
Vanity URLs and phone numbers are great, no matter the industry. They help to stand out and make sure your profile link is recognizable at a glance. It will also show you have invested effort into your professional appearance. To change your URL, click on Edit Profile at the top and then click the Edit icon next to your URL.
Do not hesitate to reach out, but be professional about it
LinkedIn is a social network, and social media are perfect for professional socializing. There is no way you can use a job opportunity in your dream company without talking to the right people. However, you can take two approaches. First, to contact them on an unrelated issue, such as offering help in their public projects, and developing the relationship from there. Second, contacting HR people and, without any further ado, saying what you want in a strictly professional manner. Which way to choose depends on the kind of company you are contacting? And even though the reaction of certain individuals is unpredictable, the majority appreciate the help you are offering or the straightforwardness with which you claim your intentions.
LinkedIn is no longer a novelty, so just having a profile will no longer do. Make a few tweaks here and there. It is not difficult, but it can help you draw the attention of the right people. Besides, the network is still developing. New tools and possibilities give you even better control and flexibility in presenting yourself to the professional world. Don’t miss out on them!