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LinkedIn: A Jobseeker\'s Guide

A guide to help jobseekers use LinkedIn to secure a new position, including creating an effective to profile to how to network.

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LinkedIn: A Jobseeker\'s Guide

  1. 1. LinkedIn: A Jobseeker’s Guide Using Social Media By Ed Scrivener 2010 1 Ed Scrivener, Scrivener Recruitment & AcademyHR | | 01179 147707
  2. 2. Contents Introduction Page 3 Building Your Network Page 9 What is LinkedIn? Add Connections Who Can Use It? Colleagues What Is It Not? Classmates What Can It Be Used For? People You May Know The Benefits For A Jobseeker Get Connected Creating An Account Page 4 Groups Page 11 Creating A Profile My Groups Writing A Summary Following Add An Application Groups You May Like Experience Groups Directory Education How To Join A Group Interests Honours & Awards How To Use A Group Page 13 Contact & Personal Details Discussions Contact Settings Members Promotions Settings Page 7 Jobs Profile Settings Groups Jobs Page 14 Privacy Settings Advanced Search Other Settings More... Page 15 Open Networker or Closed Networker? Follow A Company Page 8 Questions & Answers Open Networker Closed Networker Don’t Be Afraid Page 16 Open Networker vs. Closed Networker Recommendations Ask For Help About Me Page 17 2 Ed Scrivener, Scrivener Recruitment & AcademyHR | | 01179 147707
  3. 3. Introduction What is LinkedIn? LinkedIn is an online networking tool. It is often referred to as a grown-up’s Facebook, however, this does not do justice to its uses. It is essentially a device that allows you to manage and build your network of contacts in a targeted manner. It is also important to point out that the service is free. You can pay to upgrade your account, however, unless you are a What is LinkedIn business owner or recruiter there is no need to do so as you gain all Video the benefits required from the basic account. Who Can Use It? LinkedIn is designed for all professionals and so is open to everyone. What Is It Not? Most peoples’ opinion of social networking is related to lifestyle sites such as Facebook or Bebo. LinkedIn is not used by people to post photos or talk about their weekend’s exploits. What Can It Be Used For? It can be used for anything that your professional network already provides, just on a far greater scale. At present there are over 75 million users which even the greatest networker can’t claim to be able to reach! The sole focus of this guide, however, is to relate how a jobseeker can get the most out of it. The Benefits For A Jobseeker It can be baffling at first understanding how to use and get the most out of LinkedIn and whilst this guide will point out how to achieve this, it is important to understand from the outset what the key benefits are:  Allows jobseekers to source for new opportunities either confidentially or openly. As LinkedIn has so many uses, membership does not immediately mean you are looking for a new role, which is how your existing employer will see it.  As above, jobseekers can reach over 75 million people which not even the best job site can boast.  Allows jobseekers to post an online CV. Your profile can act as a CV, so with the correct information your details will be viewed by headhunters and employers alike.  Jobs are advertised on LinkedIn. These are posted either via Groups or the specific jobs page of LinkedIn. 3  It is an effective use of time. Whilst sourcing for new opportunities you can also build your professional network, seek help and advice, etc. Ed Scrivener, Scrivener Recruitment & AcademyHR | | 01179 147707
  4. 4. Creating An Account Simply go the LinkedIn website and create a new account and follows the steps provided. Creating A Profile This is the single most important aspect of using LinkedIn effectively. A poor profile will result in very few benefits so it is essential to get this part right. 1. Name Simple enough! 2. Headline This can take any number of forms, but the following are the most effective:  Current job title. Recommended if you are confidentially/passively looking for opportunities.  Your desired job title. Recommended if you are actively and openly looking for opportunities.  Your skillset or service. Not as effective for jobseekers, but useful for interim consultants. 3. Location It is best to state your home location as employers and recruiters will likely search under this criteria. 4. Industry There is a long list of industries available so choose the one most relevant. 5. Photo Despite any modest thoughts you may have, it is essential to have a photo. Anyone reviewing your profile will immediately be able to put a face to a name and give confidence that the profile is real and not a spam posting. Remember, this is not Facebook so keep the photo professional and not of you on the beach from your last holiday! The rest of your profile is automatically created once you have completed your career and educational history with the exception of the following: 6. Websites You are able to link specific websites to your profile, the following are the most effective:  Your company. Adding this gives credibility to your account and suggests you are not using LinkedIn solely for job seeking!  Other social media sites, i.e. Blogger, Twitter, etc. Remember to only link to these sites if they are similarly professionally focused. 7. Public Profile 4 LinkedIn automatically provides you with a public profile which is in essence a website address. It is best to personalise this address as it helps in a number of situations, most notably search engine optimisation of your name. To personalise your address go to “Edit Public Profile Settings” on the Ed Scrivener, Scrivener Recruitment & AcademyHR | | 01179 147707
  5. 5. top right hand side of the page and the “update this address”. It is best to use your name, however if this is not available keep the name professional! Writing A Summary This section is similar to a personal profile section in a CV. This allows you to write about who you are and what you do. You can write this in either the first or third person, however, ensure you keep to this style throughout. This gives you the opportunity to really sell yourself and it is best to include the following:  A brief career overview. This should be the only duplication in your whole account but should then give the reader an understanding of how your career has taken shape.  Your skillset. You should relate to your areas of expertise and any major achievements you may have within these fields. Do not simply list these areas, as you are able to do this in the next section.  Your passions. If you are passionate about any particular field of your industry write about it here.  Contact Details. Your contacts will be able to see your email address, but other won’t so it is worthwhile to include your email in the summary and if you are actively looking to include your mobile number.  Specialities. Simply put list all your areas of expertise in this section. This should just be a list as the main summary can provide the detail. Add An Application LinkedIn has a number of applications that you can add to your profile ranging from Amazon book lists to a link to your Blog updates. These applications are effective however if your main purpose for using LinkedIn is to gain a new role then it is not recommended to add too many applications, if any at all, as they can clutter the look of your profile. If you are openly looking for a new role it can be worthwhile to add the “SlideShare Presentation” application. This allows you to attach documents to your account and the most notable would be a copy of your CV or recommendations. Experience This section is similar to the career history part of a CV. The content of this should reflect whether you are actively or confidentially looking for opportunities, the key points to include are:  List all relevant roles. As with a CV you should state the dates worked, the employer and the title you held. If you include the correct information LinkedIn will be able to generate a list of people you may know who have worked at the same organisations. The job title and companies you list will also appear in your profile under “Current” and “Past”.  Include the remit. As with a CV you can detail your responsibilities within each role. If you are actively looking for new opportunities it is worthwhile to detail all the major achievements within each role. It is not recommended to do this is you are confidentially 5 looking as this may arise too much suspicion!  Write it like a CV. The most important aspect being to include bullet points for all the key aspects of each role. Ed Scrivener, Scrivener Recruitment & AcademyHR | | 01179 147707
  6. 6.  Judge the content. As with a CV the most amount of information should be for your recent roles and the content should decrease with each role listed. A recruiter will review your profile as swiftly as they would a CV, i.e. 20 seconds! So make sure it is to the point. Education As with experience you can list all your educational history. If you have an impressive educational and vocational background make sure you include this detail. Like the experience section the details you list will also be listed in your profile, so it is important you only include the qualifications that are relevant to your current career. Interests The interests section should be treated exactly as with a CV, only include your interests if they are interesting! Simple statements such as reading, socialising, etc will not add to your professional appearance. Honours & Awards As it sounds, in this section you can detail any awards and honours you have received. Only detail ones that are genuinely relevant to your career. Contact & Personal Details You are able to list a number of contact details ranging from email to date of birth. It is highly recommended to only include your email address. Only include your mobile number if you are actively looking. Do not include your home address or date of birth as including too much personal information could cause a potential security risk for you. Contact Settings This is the final aspect of creating your account, but it is an essential part to ensuring your profile is viewed by as many people and has the impact it deserves. The “Edit Contact Settings” tab can be found at the top right hand corner of the page (just above the “Edit Public Profile Settings” tab which you’ve already used). It is recommended to do the following:  Accept introductions and InMail. This does not mean you will be spammed, but does ensure you will receive any approaches regarding opportunities.  Set opportunity preferences. Set all the preferences to cover all areas of interest. If you are looking passively or confidentially including “career opportunities” and “job inquiries” will not be a cause for concern as this can simply be linked to opportunities for your current business rather than your own activity. 6 Ed Scrivener, Scrivener Recruitment & AcademyHR | | 01179 147707
  7. 7. Settings You will have now completed your profile, but it is essential that you ensure you profile is viewable to recruiters and employers, so you need to ensure your settings are correct. At the very top right hand corner of the page you will find “Settings” just to the right of the green Add Connections tab, click on this to set your settings. You do not need to change every aspect and below are the key settings that you should change. Profile Settings This is essential for job seekers as it improves your coverage. If a recruiter or employer is searching for profiles they will be able to see far more information and as a result a far more likely to contact you. There are 2 key parts to this section:  My Profile Photo. Set this option to visible to everyone.  Member Feed Visibility. Set this option to visible to everyone. Groups It is essential to ensure you are able to receive group invitations as this is an integral part of LinkedIn. Privacy Settings This is the most detailed section and the most important in ensuring you maximise the potential of your profile.  Research Surveys. You should allow contact for surveys. You will not receive countless spam, but this will give you more opportunity to network.  Connections Browse. You are free to choose if your connections can view your network. Allowing connections to view each other does increase the speed that you will generate your network. Whereas not allowing does slow the process but provides more confidentiality to you and your connections.  Profile Views. It is recommended to allow anyone whose profile your view to see that you have viewed their details, therefore, you should choose the first option. As a job seeker you should not choose the third option to remain invisible as this will not develop your network.  Viewing Profile Photos. Set this option to view everyone as you may not remember a name but you are more likely to remember a face.  Profile and Status Updates. Set both options to yes. If you have posted any updates that are relevant to your job search your connections will be notified. For example, if you state you are actively looking for work all of your connections will see this. Other Settings You can choose the other settings as these will not influence how well your profile is publicised. 7 Ed Scrivener, Scrivener Recruitment & AcademyHR | | 01179 147707
  8. 8. Open or Closed Networker? This is one of the key decisions you will make regarding your account and you need to choose which option suits you best. Open Networker This means you will connect with anyone and everyone and as a result you will be able to build a vast network very quickly. The top LinkedIn open networkers have over 40,000 connections. You can also join specific groups to build your network further, such as Top LinkedIn. If you choose this option it is recommended to add the letters LION after your name in your profile. This signifies you are a LinkedIn Open Networker. Closed Networker This means you manage your network more traditionally and only connect with people you know or have been recommended to you. Your network will be far smaller than Open Networkers, but you will find your connections to be more useful due to the personal link, as an acquaintance is far more likely to refer a role to you than to someone they do not know. This option is also easier to manage due to the smaller numbers involved. Open Networker vs. Closed Networker You need to choose which option suits you best and below are the key pros and cons of both options weighed up against each other:  ONs provides a far bigger network than CNs, therefore you can reach more people and find more roles.  CN is far more personal than ON, which provides more personal recommendations for roles which tend to be very effective.  ONs still receive the bulk of the benefits of CNs.  A CNs network is targeted and relevant. It is your decision as to which route to take and you are not tied for ever with the option you take, so you can always try one first. Once you have decided you will be ready to start building your network. 8 Ed Scrivener, Scrivener Recruitment & AcademyHR | | 01179 147707
  9. 9. Building Your Network Add Connections This option allows you to search all of your email contacts to see if they are registered with LinkedIn, which saves hours of leg work. Simply click the green “Add Connections” tab at the very top right hand corner of the page. You will then be given the option to enter your email account with password and LinkedIn will then search to see who are members. This option is not foolproof as it is reliant on your email contacts using the same email as the one you have. As nearly all of us will have at least 2 different email addresses you are likely to miss a few by this method. Another option, although less personal, is to enter a list of email address in the same Add Connections page and LinkedIn will send a connection request to all regardless of whether they are members or not. This will help build your profile but can be somewhat impersonal. Colleagues In the same Add Connections home page you will see a list of options running along the top tab bar. The second option is to search for “Colleagues”. Once you have clicked on this tab, you will then have the option to search for colleagues from all of the organisations you have listed be it past or present. If this is one of your first times of using this option you should click “view all” to ensure you do not miss anyone you know. Once you have used this more often you can simply click “find new” and this will only search on people who have recently registered with LinkedIn. Classmates This option works in the same manner as Colleagues as LinkedIn will search against anyone who has listed the same educational institutions are you have. People You May Know This is the most important section and proves to be increasingly useful as your network grows. This matches anyone who may have worked or studied at the same places as you, but more importantly this also shows the connections of your connections, known as 2nd and 3rd degree connections, who are relevant to your vocation and interests. This can be found in 3 places. The first is via the Add Connections tab on the far right, however, the best place to utilise this is on your homepage, which is the first section on the top right hand side of the page. You will find this one more useful as you are more likely to visit the homepage than the Add Connections tab. 9 The third area you will find this will be after you have sent or accepted a connection request. Ed Scrivener, Scrivener Recruitment & AcademyHR | | 01179 147707
  10. 10. Get Connected Whichever method you use to connect to a person you will be taken to a screen that asks “How do you know...?” It is important you answer this question truthfully, as nothing is more likely to result in you being reported for spam than to say you are a friend of someone you have never met! The second key point is that you can include a personal note. LinkedIn generates a standard message, however, it is highly recommended to write a personal note instead. If you know the person really well then just a personal message will suffice, however, if it is someone you do not know as well you should include the following:  How do you know them? State when you last spoke or met, or if you are a friend of a friend.  Why do you want to connect to them? Make sure this is as much for their benefit as yours  Add you contact number. LinkedIn does not allow email or web addresses in this field, but telephone numbers are fine. LinkedIn is a powerful networking tool, but nothing beats the telephone! 10 Ed Scrivener, Scrivener Recruitment & AcademyHR | | 01179 147707
  11. 11. Groups The purpose and benefits of Groups are on the whole misunderstood by many LinkedIn users. Groups provide a forum for like minded people or professionals from a similar vocation to exchange views, seek help and advice and generally network freely. The only downside to the Groups is that as they a managed voluntarily by members and many have succumbed to spam and spurious postings. Fortunately, there is a growing trend to eradicate this and you will find Groups becoming increasingly focused and helpful. You can find the “Groups” tab in the middle of the top tab bar. Once you have clicked on this you will be given a number of further options within the Groups homepage. My Groups This section allows you to manage the groups of which you are a member. If you have the basic free account you can join up to 50 groups which is more than sufficient. You can edit the order the groups appear in your list and the key aspect from this page is you can see the activity that is taking place in any of these groups, i.e. how many new discussions or more importantly jobs. Following This section shows you the activity of those you are following. This is particularly useful as you will be able to see if one of your contacts has posted a job in one of the groups. Groups You May Like This section is similar to People You May Know as LinkedIn will recommend groups to you based upon your connections and interests. Groups Directory This allows you to search for relevant groups. So simply add keywords that are relevant to your job search and the search engine will find any that match the requirements. How To Join A Group You will now know how to find groups but how do you use them? Firstly you should search for groups relevant to your industry. You will find each group has a summary and when you find one you want to join simply click “Join Group”. Some groups may have a criteria to join so your membership will need to be approved, others are open to everyone. You will then be given a number of options about how often you receive information. As a job 11 seeker it is important you keep up to date with any new opportunities so apply the following settings:  Display the logo on your page. This will encourage fellow members to connect with you. Ed Scrivener, Scrivener Recruitment & AcademyHR | | 01179 147707
  12. 12.  Receive daily digest emails. This will ensure you do not miss any important discussions or job opportunities.  Receive messages from members. The option to receive posts about each new discussion is down to your discretion. If you choose this option with a very large group you may find that there are simply too many emails being sent, however, if you are a member of a group specifically geared towards jobs within your vocation then it would be worthwhile to receive an update on any new posts. 12 Ed Scrivener, Scrivener Recruitment & AcademyHR | | 01179 147707
  13. 13. How To Use A Group Once you are a member of a group you can start reaping the benefits. The key areas of a group are as follows: Discussions This is where discussions relevant to the specific group are posted. These are often non-commercial, so whilst these may not bring an immediate impact in the long run contributing to these groups will raise your profile. This is another reason to add a photo to your profile as when you post a comment or write a discussion fellow members will see it is not a spam posting. These discussions really give you an opportunity to show off your ability, so make sure your comments are professional and well thought out. If you post a discussion you become eligible to be listed as a top influencer of the week, which is found on the right hand side of the group home page. Simply the more comments you have the higher up the list you move. As a result it is another method to raise your profile. Members This section allows you to view all members of the group, which is another good way of building your network. Promotions This is a new section to LinkedIn groups and there is not set rule how these are used. The purpose is to allow commercial promotions in a section that does not clutter the discussion pages. Jobs As a job seeker this is naturally the key area. Each group differs, but typically these jobs will be posted by recruiters and employers alike. Unfortunately some groups will have some spam postings here, so be prepared to wade through the roles. Other than job adverts most groups will also allow you to post an advert to publicise your availability. Groups differ as to where this can be placed, but most prefer these within the jobs section. 13 Ed Scrivener, Scrivener Recruitment & AcademyHR | | 01179 147707
  14. 14. Jobs As above the Groups have job pages, but organisations can also advertise directly on LinkedIn similarly to traditional job boards. The tab can be fund along the main tab bar in between “Groups” and “Inbox” LinkedIn will automatically flag any roles that are relevant to your experience based upon what you have inputted into your profile, however, it is advisable to conduct an advanced search to compile a full list of opportunities. Advanced Search You will find the option to complete an advanced search near the main “Search” button. The process is straightforward and is similar to other search options within LinkedIn as well as other job boards. You will be given a number of options and it is advisable to initially search under a broad criteria and dependent upon the results you can then be more specific to reduce the number of roles if required. You can initially choose to include information from the following:  Keywords  Job Title  Location  Company Including a key word and location are important, however, the other two options may make the search too narrow. Similarly, you can also refine the search further with the following:  Functions  Industries  Experience  When Posted As above it is only advisable to use these options if the initial search created too many results. 14 Ed Scrivener, Scrivener Recruitment & AcademyHR | | 01179 147707
  15. 15. More... You will find a tab labelled “More...” on the right hand side of the main page bar at the top of the home page. This isn’t as cryptic as it sounds and provides a number of other options to help increase your chances of finding a role and increasing your profile. Follow A Company The first tab in this drop down menu is “Companies” which allows you to search for companies in LinkedIn. Once you have found a company a relatively new function allows you to follow the organisation. As a result this updates when anyone joins or more importantly leaves an organisation. As a job seeker you need to be aware if someone has left a business as this may result in a job. Similarly, where has the employee moved to, as it may be an organisation which is looking for more people. When you click into the company profile you will find on the right hand side a clear start next to the words “Follow Company”. Simply click on the star and you are now following the company. Further to this whoever is the administrator for the specific company’s profile will be informed you are following the company and will be alerted to your availability for work. Questions & Answers The second option in the “More...” drop down menu is “Answers”. This section allows you to ask and answer a question relating to any subject. In effect this section is similar to the discussion pages of a group, but it is open to everyone and not just group members. As with the discussion pages, you will need to keep your answers and questions both focused and professional. It is advisable to answer and ask questions relating to your vocation, as whilst answering numerous questions can be helpful it does not illustrate your vocational ability for recruiters and employers to judge. A real benefit of this section is that if you answer a question the original poster of the question has the option to make one of the answer the Best Answer. If your question is voted as Best Answer anyone viewing your profile will see this. If you have received a number of Best Answers within your vocational area this will illustrate you are an expert within the field. 15 Ed Scrivener, Scrivener Recruitment & AcademyHR | | 01179 147707
  16. 16. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask This is not unique to LinkedIn, but in general people are backwards in coming forwards when it comes to asking acquaintances for help and advice. As a result, the computer based method of LinkedIn may provide you with more confidence to ask for help but however shy you may be a network is built to support you. Therefore, ask your connections for help! Recommendations You will have noted when completing your profile and organising your settings there is an option for recommendations. You may find people will recommend you without asking, which is always a nice boost for the ego but do not be afraid to ask for a recommendation. If you have a genuine working history with your connection they will more than likely provide you with a recommendation. Once you have a recommendation anyone viewing your profile will see this. In effect these act as references and any recruiter or employer will be able to see your track record before even contacting you. If you have a list of good recommendations you are far more likely to be contacted. It is simple to ask for a recommendation. Along the main tab bar you will find the tab for “Profile”, this is a drop down menu and you should choose the option “Recommendations”. Once you have chosen this simply follow the option “Ask to be endorsed” against your relevant role. You will then be taken to a screen where you can ask up to 50 people at one time to recommend you. Whilst you can send these broad requests it is highly advisable to send these individually as it is both more personal and more likely to get better results. As with connections it is also highly advisable to personalise the standard request. 16 Ed Scrivener, Scrivener Recruitment & AcademyHR | | 01179 147707
  17. 17. About Me I have been a specialist Human Resources recruiter in the UK for the last 8 years. From the early part of my career I had the desire to move away from the standard numbers driven recruitment market and instead use innovative resourcing strategies, as a result my attraction to social media was a foregone conclusion. I presently run my own recruitment business and am also a partner with an HR Consultancy which sees the daily use of social media solutions, with LinkedIn being the most notable. If you wish to follow me in any of my social media outlets, my various connection details are below: LinkedIn Profile Twitter – ScrivRec Blog – ScrivRec YouTube Scrivener Recruitment AcademyHR Human Resources UK (LinkedIn Group) Alternatively I can be emailed at 17 Ed Scrivener, Scrivener Recruitment & AcademyHR | | 01179 147707