The week between Christmas and New Year is a period I use to prepare for the following year. A project of mine has been to review and improve my presence on LinkedIn this week. LinkedIn is the online place where many jobseekers find me to ask questions and get help. While the site is a great platform for those of us that offer services, it started out as a place for jobseekers. And it is still an outstanding place to be when you are looking for work.
Here are four pro tips I found while exploring LinkedIn in the last few days:
- LinkedIn gives new meaning to the “hidden job market,”
- A premium account offers benefits for jobseekers,
- Fill out your “intro card,” and
- User experience may vary.
No doubt you’ll find an endless number of additional features, and have many more questions to ask about LinkedIn. As with many of our posts, we are scratching the surface. The goal is to increase your awareness of LinkedIn’s power to jump-start your job search for the New Year.
LinkedIn gives new meaning to the “hidden job market.”
Career advisors, coaches, and recruiters have urged that jobseekers pursue the so-called “hidden job market” of career opportunities for many years. A recruiter I have spoken with says several of his corporate clients don’t advertise their jobs. Some companies source candidates on LinkedIn only.
This does not mean you can post a profile on LinkedIn and expect to be found and hired. It means, the recruiter points out, that recruiters will see your resume in searches when it contains the keywords they search for.
A premium account offers benefits for jobseekers.
The free basic account on LinkedIn is great for many jobseekers, and essential when you are out-of-work and cannot invest financially in your search. But, as with everything in life, you get what you pay for.
When you are able to invest funds in your job search, a premium account may benefit you. According to LinkedIn, as well as independent sources, premium features can enhance your reach, give you increased privacy, improve your resume, and even help you prepare for job interviews.
Enhance your reach: A premium feature allows you to set your profile to “open,” which, according to LinkedIn Help, will expand your reach. Members outside your network will now see your profile. This does not ensure that recruiters will start calling you—it just allows more LinkedIn visitors to see your profile.
Increased privacy: LinkedIn is about making you more visible so your chances of being found by hiring teams increases. Nonetheless, you may want a higher level of privacy when you browse profiles on LinkedIn. According to LinkedIn Help, “When a member browses LinkedIn in private mode, their name and other profile information isn’t shared with the owners of the profiles they view.”
Jobseekers that are working express an additional concern that their current boss will see their profile. Traditionally, LinkedIn has said they won’t show your profile to people that work for the same company. Remember also that LinkedIn can increase your credibility with suppliers and customers, so there are good reasons to have a profile on the site when you are working.
Resume improvement: There are several websites that will let you upload your resume to see if it includes the right keywords for your job target. The “Jobs” menu on LinkedIn includes such a feature, too, although it only works with a premium account.
Interview prep: A premium feature that pleasantly surprised me was the interview practice function in the “jobs” menu. It’s fun to play with, I found, and it could save you time and money that you might otherwise have to spend on interview training.
Among other things, the function allows you to answer both generic interview questions, such as “tell me about yourself,” as well as questions related to your function. Automated feedback includes counting the number of “ums” and filler words. Then, you can watch the recording and send it to others in your network for their feedback. And don’t forget the value of making certain your technical setup—camera mic, lighting, and background—work as expected for video interviews.
Fill out your intro card.
The LinkedIn intro card is a section all of us have full access to, and should fill out completely. Your location and contact information are especially important so we’re covering them here.
Location: A marketing mantra we have all heard is “location, location, location,” and that’s true on LinkedIn, too. Set your location as the market you want to be in for your job search. For example, a business owner who is physically located in Florida, but works primarily with New York metro area customers, set his profile location as “New York City Metro Area.”
Contact information: Another marketing mantra that applies to job search is “make it easy for the customer to buy.” So, include your cellphone number, personal email address, and personal Web links on your intro card.
The bottom of the contact form has space to enter a website address, along with “link text.” You can use this to enter the address for your online calendar, and invite those browsing your profile to “schedule a call with me now,” as I have done on my own LinkedIn profile.
Place contact information in your “about” section, too, so your readers do not have to scroll back to find it on your intro card.
User experience may vary.
A challenge with LinkedIn is that your audience’s experience may vary depending on the device they are using. Certain LinkedIn features, such as the ability to record a brief voice intro, only work on the mobile app. (Users will hear the audio if they click on it using a computer, but you cannot record intros from your computer) Other features, such as the ability to follow a link directly to a specific profile section, reportedly work only on a computer. And some features are buried in menus and not well documented. Features appear and disappear continuously with no notice to users.
Your profile will also display differently on a computer, tablet and smartphone. The amount of information that displays before the viewer has to tap “see more” for each field varies by device. Jobseekers will find it increasingly important to be on LinkedIn regardless of where they are in their career, and how they connect. As a result, we will continue to post tips throughout the year.