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How To Use LinkedIn Effectively During Your Job Search

Five tips that will immediately boost the effectiveness of your career search on LinkedI

LinkedIn by the Numbers

Based on my observations, LinkedIn is by far the best social media platform to use to find a job, look for business, talk to a CEO, and find funding for startups. It’s a fantastic social tool to talk to almost anyone from almost anywhere.

Look at these mind-blowing statistics:

  • LinkedIn had 575 MILLION members as of 2018. Malaysia alone accounted for more than 4 MILLION LinkedIn users.
  • 40 MILLION LinkedIn users are decision makers. This comes straight from LinkedIn’s marketing solutions blog.
  • More than 30 MILLION companies are represented on LinkedIn
  • LinkedIn Jobs lists more than 20 MILLION open jobs

Getting the Basics Right

Before you ask, “Why isn’t LinkedIn working for me as a job hunter?” here are five tips that will immediately boost the effectiveness of your career search on LinkedIn:

  1. Looks matter: Make sure your profile picture does not look as if you just woke up. Worse still is having no profile picture. While it may be tempting to show off your dog, cat, or significant other, people want to know what YOU look like; there shouldn’t be any confusion with Tom the Dog. A head and shoulders shot wearing business attire and a warm, genuine smile works best.
  2. Just like with newspapers, headlines get attention: Have you ever flipped through the newspaper and found nothing interesting to read? Then you flipped through the pages again and discovered several good stories once you read beyond the boring, unclear headlines. Your LinkedIn headline is like a newspaper headline: you want the people that matter to be enticed to read your story. So your headline should be concise, like what readers see in the news. Sometimes, however, you may see funky headlines such as “Chief Dreamer”, “The Brilliant Marketeer Who Dances”, and the like on the profiles of other members, and you want to do the same. My advice: don’t do it. Not until you land a job, at least. The reason is this: recruiters and hiring managers use keyword searches to look for specific candidates. They are not looking for a “dreamer” or “dancer” unless they truly ARE looking for one.
  3. Use your career history to tell your career story: Does your career history do a good job of telling your career journey? Be sure to add some job descriptions and success stories in this section of your profile. Some prefer to keep the name of their past and current companies hidden. This is fine — if you are fine knowing that this is another main reason hiring managers are not looking at your profile. Don’t forget to include a compelling career summary that is worth reading. And check the grammar and spelling before you post. If English is not your strong point, get help from a professional writer, proofreader, or editor.
  4. One must give in order to receive: On LinkedIn, establishing your credibility is key to developing a network of professional contacts. You need to allow others to see you and your world by sharing information on your experiences, activities, ideas and perspectives. If you share something interesting from another site, be sure to add your thoughts or opinions on it. The idea is to be on your network’s usefulness and “go to” radar by providing your contacts with something of value.
  5. Check and optimize your profile settings: Many of those who attend my “Personal Branding with LinkedIn” workshops have never ventured beyond the default settings for their LinkedIn profiles. Optimizing your settings means ensuring that enough information of value is available on your profile to entice recruiters and hiring managers to contact you. I call this “The Teaser”. LinkedIn provides a variety of settings that allow you to control virtually every aspect of what will be displayed on your profile, as well as how it will be displayed. Experiment with the settings to project the best image possible of yourself.

Here’s to your career success!

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Hanie Razaif-Bohlender

Hanie is career doctor, passionate educationist, a speaker and a co-founder of a management consulting firm Dragonfire Corporate Solutions and Dragonfire Academy, a lifelong learning centre. Follow her on LinkedIn.

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