Are you LinkedIn? Making the most of professional networking
As a job seeker, owning a comprehensive, well-written CV and a number of cover letters which you can adapt for any role or company is essential. However, if you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, or aren’t using it effectively, you may be missing out on opportunities to find job vacancies and impress potential employers. LinkedIn functions as both an online résumé and a powerful professional networking tool. In addition, LinkedIn is growing in importance in the world of online recruitment and job searching. Since its beginnings in 2003, LinkedIn has grown to over 364 million users, with impressive growth from 218 million at the beginning of 2013. There are now 2 new members per second and it’s a truly global network, available in 24 languages with members in over 200 countries and territories.
More and more companies are creating LinkedIn pages and using the platform as a recruitment tool, and a method of researching potential employees. This makes having a comprehensive, professional profile incredibly useful, but it also offers excellent opportunities to network with colleagues, employers, recruiters and key influencers online. This article will give you some tips about how to build your profile and make use of the networking tools at your disposal.
Creating your profile
It is important to have a comprehensive, detailed profile with each of the sections completed. This is your online résumé, and like your CV, you want it to tell a potential employer everything they would want to know about you, and to sell your skills and experience. Start with a good quality, professional looking photo with your face clearly visible. Having a photo greatly boosts the number of visitors to your profile. Make sure you replace the default link for your profile page with a custom one, preferably using your name if possible. Choose a concise professional headline that best represents what you do as a career. Then start filling out your profile section by section, making sure you include your work history with descriptions, languages, skills, education etc. You should write positively about your experience and achievements. It’s OK to leave out some of your work history if it isn’t relevant to your current career.
Building your network
Connecting with colleagues, potential employers, recruiters and key influencers is a big part of why LinkedIn is so useful. You should start off by adding people you know already. LinkedIn has tools for finding these people, either by importing your email contacts or by suggesting people based on your common connections, once you’ve started adding people. It is recommended that you send a personalised message, especially if you haven’t spoken to them in a long time or if you’re contacting someone you don’t know well or at all. Use this message to remind people who you are and start a conversation. When reaching out to new contacts, a personalised message is much more likely to get you accepted as a connection, and the effort will be appreciated.
Once you’ve got some connections, you can seek endorsements on your skills from people who know you and have worked with you. Endorsing the skills of others encourages them to reciprocate. This helps reassure employers that you really do know about the things that you claim to know.
Start following companies and joining groups
Following company pages is a great way to keep up to date with new developments and job opportunities. If you work in oil, gas, chemicals, rail, infrastructure, construction, industrial manufacturing, power or renewable energy, you should follow the TRS Staffing Solutions page, to find out about job opportunities in these sectors and more across the world. For a full list of the industries TRS recruits for, look here.
You could also join some groups which are relevant to your career, and start making valuable contributions to group discussions. This will get people’s attention and may generate more connections and more interest in you as a potential employee.
Use LinkedIn as a research tool
Finally, using LinkedIn is a great way to prepare yourself for meetings or interviews. Find out who will be interviewing you and then learn as much as possible about them. This will help you build a rapport with them and impress them with your in-depth research and preparation. It’ll show that you’re diligent and serious about the job. Visiting the company’s page can also help you learn more about the business, its culture and its social media strategy.
LinkedIn will continue to grow in size and importance, and as it’s a free service, you have nothing to lose, so sign up today and start networking!