LinkedIn has become an integral recruiting tool for employers of all sizes, and job seekers need to know how to best use the tool to aid their hunt.
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While having a profile is a step in the right direction, it’s not enough to make a candidate stand out or look attractive to employers.
Nicole Williams, Linkedin's career expert-connection director and author of Girl on Top, gives the inside scoop on the best ways to use the social network to get a job.
According to Williams, LinkedIn has executives from all 2012 Fortune 500 companies as members. “There are 85 of the Fortune 100 companies using LinkedIn to find potential hires.”
Long gone are the days when companies posted a job on LinkedIn and then sifted through submitted resumes. Hiring managers are being proactive and looking through LinkedIn profiles to fill open positions. Because of this shift, Williams recommends that every part of a job seeker’s profile is complete.
“You don’t want to undermine yourself by not being identified as a potential hire so you have to make sure your profile is filled out completely and you’re adding skills,” she says.
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Users that only list their last or current job in the experience field could look inexperienced, despite being in the workforce for many years.
Skills are also important to keep up to date and detailed. Not only do employers want a marketing executive, they want one with social media experience. The more information candidates display on their profile the higher their chance of getting noticed by recruiters, according to Williams.
“If you have more than one position listed on your profile it’s 12X more likely to be viewed. People are looking for experience.”
In addition to a complete profile, Williams recommends users be active on the site to get noticed by recruiters: share professional content such as an interesting article about something in the industry or information about an upcoming event. “By sharing industry-based information, you demonstrate industry knowledge and it keeps you top of mind.”
According to Williams, professionals who share articles or content with their LinkedIn network at least once a week are nearly 10X more likely to be contacted by a recruiter for new opportunities than people who don’t make offerings.
Job seekers should also network on the site by joining industry groups. Even volunteering helps when trying to land a new job. Williams says upwards of 70% of hiring managers consider volunteer work as legitimate experience.
Job seekers can also use LinkedIn to target companies they want to work for by following them similar to how they would follow on Twitter or ‘like’ on Facebook. The difference with LinkedIn is the content shared is more professional and includes personnel moves. It doesn’t hurt that more than 2.6 million companies have profiles on LinkedIn.
Williams says following companies, keeps users up to date on relevant information like product launches, contract wins and personnel changes. Having that knowledge helps job hunters reach out to a hiring manager with a point of reference. “You can see who is leaving and coming in a company and see where they are going,” she says. “If you know someone has left that position you can presume an opportunity is there.”