On a Friday afternoon in August, I received a message via LinkedIn that a local recruiter was looking to fill a position and my qualifications and background made me a perfect fit for the job. The timing was fantastic for me and I was very much in the market. 32 days later I started my new job. Here's how it happened.
Always Keep Your Profile Updated
Two of my last three jobs have come about thanks to LinkedIn. First, a few years ago, a friend from my MBA program sent me a LinkedIn note that led to an interview, a $6,000 raise, and three years at a growing telecom company. Second, just last month, I found a new job with timing that couldn’t have been better.
I have been contacted on LinkedIn by recruiters dozens of times. For job placement professionals, LinkedIn is the perfect place to search for prospective employees. There are millions of members around the world with diverse backgrounds, and recruiters often search the surrounding area for qualified candidates through LinkedIn’s advanced search for HR professionals.
If you want to be found, you have to be there. If you want to have the best chance of being contacted and vetted for an interview, you have to stand out with your most current, kick ass career accomplishments, results, and information.
Put Your Very Best, Professional Self Forward
Like a resume, a LinkedIn profile is a place to show off your best professional self. Keep the personal status updates, vacation pictures, and anything that alludes to drinking, drug use, or laziness for Facebook. LinkedIn is all about your career and professional connections.
When adding past and current positions on LinkedIn, focus on big successes, portable skills, and action and results oriented bullets. For example, if you worked at a camp (like I did) you may not think that has a big connection to your career. Not true. I turned my camp staff experience into quantitative and measurable leadership experience. That summer you worked at the local grocery store pushing shopping carts? Focus on how you were a self-starter working successfully during busy seasons with little supervision ensuring a quality customer experience. You get the idea.
When adding information to your LinkedIn profile, only add positive career related information or posts that set you apart as an engaged thought leader in your industry. Always make sure you use impeccable spelling and grammar – write in Word and copy to the web browser so you get spelling and grammar check.
For inspiration, look at the profiles of a few co-workers and other people in your industry. Look at what stands out as excellent and what just looks average or sub-par. Learn from other people’s profiles and use terminology and wording that works well for your experience and background, but never lie or embellish. Always be honest and truthful while highlighting past success.
Build Your Network
Building a network of like-minded professionals, co-workers, and friends will help you stand out in searches. Connect with past and current co-workers, professors, classmates, and people you’ve met at industry events to give you access to a wide net of 2nd and 3rd level connections.
When you are approached by random people looking to connect, check out their profile before you say yes or no. If they work for a professional placement or recruiting firm, it can’t hurt to connect. If it is someone you really don’t know and don’t see value in connecting to them, decline the connection. Other people can see your connections, so only connect with people you really know or believe in.
Leverage Your Profile
Virtually every future boss you will ever have will check you out on LinkedIn, so make sure you use your profile to shine out and show off your great qualities, skills, and experience. Don’t be afraid to link to your profile from a personal website or mention your profile on a business card while in a career search.
Who knows, maybe someday soon a recruiter will come knocking with your next promotion opportunity in tow.
Have you ever found a job, or helped someone find a job, through LinkedIn? Share your experience and any questions in the comments.
2 thoughts on “How LinkedIn Saved My Butt and Can Make Your Career Amazing”
LinkedIn is essential for those in the business world today. I have a post in the works on this as well, from a different angle.
One of the things I think is really important with LinkedIn – or networking in general – is to build your network before you need it. This means connecting with others, being visible and top of mind (as much as feasible of course), and proactively helping others without direct expectation of anything back.
You are spot on Ray. Without having a strong network I would never have found my last job in Colorado and without a forward thinking profile on LinkedIn I would never have found my job today. Being proactive is always the best way to manage your career.
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