Getting the most out of LinkedIn

08.21.2013


Getting the most out of LinkedIn.
Getting the most out of LinkedIn.

LinkedIn can be an incredibly valuable tool for anyone looking to find a job, but there are many pitfalls that some users can easily fall into. However, knowing how to corral the service for your specific needs can remove any uncertainty from the process, allowing you to get the absolute best out of the service and hopefully landing you your dream job.

Just because you can see the basic level of information about a company on its website doesn't mean that's all you should know before going in for an interview. There's more to the process - applicants should try to get up to date with as much recent news surrounding the company and the industry as possible. Luckily, LinkedIn can provide a great service in the meantime, notes Information Week. Following a company's page on the service can give you updated information that can better educate you on their most recent information, while using LinkedIn Groups to connect with industry peers can get you up to date on the latest trends in a specific field.

Proper profile assembly
There's a right way and a wrong way to set up your personal LinkedIn profile - the wrong way, in having an overly verbose and complicated personal description, can actually lock you out of keyword searches. Instead, examining popular keywords in your field can have an immediate payoff, as you can see how hiring managers search and then make sure you're added to their search results by editing your profile accordingly. At the same time, LinkedIn provides the opportunity for your profile to have more color and pop to it than a paper resume, allowing you to add visuals, presentations, photographs and more to your personal profile - that way, recruiters will have first-hand evidence of your abilities in the field.

Frequently connecting with your network should be a major priority in successfully using LinkedIn, as well - around 70 percent of jobs are landed via networking, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Focusing on connections who are active on the service, to start, is a likely step toward success, as those people are likely to have larger outward connections that may help along the hiring process. Anything from congratulating them on a new job to liking or commenting on any news they may have posted can help you start a new conversation, from which an opportunity could potentially grow.

Seize the day
LinkedIn opportunities can go quickly due to the fast-paced and inwardly connected aspects of the service. As a result, you should immediately determine whether an open job you may find is right for you - if it is, you need to apply within 24 hours of finding it. While time is not on your side, don't use that as an excuse for a sloppy approach. Ensuring your resume, cover letter and any other references you send are spotless is incredibly important, as a professional approach trumps all in the application process. Capitalize on any opportunities - don't let them pass you by.

Organizing your connections is a feature any and all users should take advantage of, according to Forbes. Well-connected people may find they have hundreds, possibly even thousands of people on their page. Most users are defaulted to an "untagged" status, so aligning them to specific groups may take time, but the overall results are worth it. Whenever you log on after proper organization, you'll be able to know exactly who specializes in what subject, making it easier for you when you need to connect with a specific person for a specific reason.