"There's an app for that."
June 9, 2016
With so many social media platforms and websites out there, it can be tricky to remember to keep up with them all. Sites like Facebook and Twitter might be fun, but LinkedIn is a necessary networking tool that deserves your time and attention. If you don’t have an account, we recommend you create one ASAP and get to work building your profile. If you do have one, we suggest you keep it current and use it wisely, and we have tips from our experts on just how to do that.
First off, let’s talk about why LinkedIn is helpful and necessary. Dana, a hiring expert from ManpowerGroup gives three ways LinkedIn can help you: “1) Put you in touch with others who already work in this field, or in your desired role. 2) Put you in touch with recruiters and hiring managers who are seeking talent for this role. 3) Put you in touch with referral sources, who can help relay you to recruiters and hiring managers.” It’s a social media channel that gives you access to companies, recruiters, hiring managers, and other industry professionals. If you’re job hunting or just trying to build your network at your current job, a tool like this can really come in handy.
From the start, make sure your profile is professional and put together. This includes your picture! Nell, hiring expert at Pitney Bowes, says: “Use a professional picture of yourself in a nice setting. Do not use a bathroom selfie, or a driver’s license picture, don’t use a picture of flowers, or yourself with a red plastic cup a party. You will want a simple natural picture of yourself smiling.”
Your LinkedIn page will show your progress as you set up your profile, so pay attention to that! John, hiring expert from Textron, Inc. includes: “The higher percentage you have completed the better chances you will have recruiter traffic to your page. I would be sure to include a volunteer activities or anything else that would set you apart from other potential candidates. In your profile you are able to show recruiters the type of work you are looking for. If you include this in your profile then that might help you to be noticed for a particular field of work. Lastly, I would take advantage of the groups that are on LinkedIn. Join the groups and be an active contributor to get your name out there in the network.”
So, how should you use LinkedIn effectively? Heather, hiring expert for The Hershey Company, gives this advice: “Start networking with people in your field and/or industry. You can send them a brief message that introduces yourself & your mission. Make the message short & sweet! The bigger you build your network the more recruiters, talent acquisition & hiring managers have a chance at seeing your profile. Another approach I like to share is to pick the top 10 companies you’d like to work for that are relevant to your experience & start networking with people that work there.”
Essentially, LinkedIn is for networking, so just having a profile isn’t enough. Take advantage of groups that are related to your education (like alumni associations) or your interests (professional or hobbies) to connect with people even outside of your field. Be sure to respond to all messages that you receive, even if you aren’t interested in the company or looking for a new job. Spend a few minutes every day or every week looking for new people to add to your network or engaging with content published on your main feeds to stay up to date and active as a LinkedIn user.
Who exactly should you connect with on LinkedIn? Steve, hiring expert at Caterpillar Inc., gives his suggestions: “You will first want to target those with the job titles of recruiter, sourcer, or something similar. These are the people who will be searching LinkedIn for talent. Once you find these people, send a request to 'Connect' with them on LinkedIn. Once they accept, this allows you to correspond directly with that person and you can ask them about opportunities at their company, etc.
"The next layer of your search for people with which you can connect would be employees at these companies who are leaders in the field that you would like to get into. These individuals can be used as resources on what types of skills they are looking for, informational interviews and more.”
It doesn’t make much sense to try to connect with the CEO or CFO or any of the highest level executives of the companies you are interested in—they are most likely too busy to have time to communicate with you. The recruiters, hiring managers, and HR staff will be the best resources for you to learn about the company, hear about job openings, and make yourself known.
So, when was the last time you were on LinkedIn? Hopefully it will never be longer than a day or two from here on out! Don’t miss out on this great networking resource.