Using LinkedIn Effectively
November 10, 2010
The Internet is a powerful resource for your job search. There are many useful databases that help you find job postings. What about a website devoted to professional networking? LinkedIn.com is an excellent website devoted to professional networking. Are you unfamiliar with LinkedIn.com? Think of it as a professional version of a social networking website. You can post your resume online, connect with professionals, and join groups that pertain to your job search, school alumni, and professional organizations.
LinkedIn users who complete their profile with detailed information concerning their employment history will benefit the most. List your experiences in resume style format. Use industry-specific key words so that your profile will show up for employers who may use LinkedIn to search for potential candidates. The more industry-specific key words you use in your profile, the more you will show up in employer searches.
Next, you'll add your professional contacts-your friends, family members, and current or former co-workers. You can then expand your list by adding people you meet and wish to stay in contact with concerning your career development and job search.
LinkedIn is a very convenient website to manage your list of professional contacts. It will also take your list one step further. Think of it as the "six degrees of separation" rule. As you add contacts, and browse the professional contact lists of your connections, LinkedIn will tell you if you are "only one person away" from knowing someone. Perhaps you want to talk to someone at Company X regarding possible employment with that company. If you read the profile of someone who works at Company X, LinkedIn will tell you if one of your connections knows that person. Perhaps your contact would introduce you to the person you wish to speak with. Or, you can email the person yourself and explain that both of you share a common connection. The more connections you have on LinkedIn, the more powerful this resource becomes for you. When you start your job search, you can conveniently send messages to your contacts that may be able to assist you as you seek career opportunities with various employers.
Another way to utilize LinkedIn is to join groups. There are groups devoted exclusively to alumni of Ohio State. There are even groups devoted to OSU Engineering Departments. Most professional organizations also have a LinkedIn group. Join those organization groups with which you are professionally affiliated. Once you are a group member, you can perform a keyword search to find alumni or other professionals you're interested in contacting concerning your career search.
Always use professional etiquette when contacting others on LinkedIn. If you don't know someone, don't send a random friend request. Instead, send an introductory email to that person explaining who you are and why you are contacting them. If you don't know someone personally but have met that person at a professional conference or career fair, you may send a friend request, but remember to include a message about where and when you met them. It's more likely the person will remember you if you can refresh their memory regarding details of your interaction.
LinkedIn can be a very useful tool for your job search and future career development if you appropriately utilize what it has to offer.
"The way of the world is meeting people through other people."
Authored by Dean Pidcock.