LinkedIn is a great resource for networking, finding information & job hunting. You have the world at your fingertips thanks to the internet and its power is near limitless. If you know how to use it.
Job seeking on LinkedIn can be more intimidating than traditional processes. Gone are the days of skipping to the post office, CV in hand and happy in the knowledge that there is a whole wall of process between you and your future boss – you’ve now got to make connections and engage real people, just like this chap, who scored an information interview with a recruiter by being brave (and more importantly considered). It’s important to remember the social gems that will set you apart from the swell of fresh-faced former students looking for their big break. As with real life, it’s important to put your best foot forward.
Addressing the elephant in the room – how to tell people you’re looking for work.
There’s no point skirting around the issue. It’s important in your job hunt to remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it’s equally important to remember that Rome wasn’t built via telepathy. The only way a recruiter is going to know you’re job seeking is by telling them. There is, however, a way to get your message across with dignity.
Phrase yourself well: it’s useful to know that you’re “looking for work”, but it’s even more useful to know that you’re “looking for experience in the media industry” or “seeking new opportunities in policy research”. We all know that at this stage fortune favours the flexible, so don’t tie yourself too tightly to a specific job title – references to your preferred industry or line of work is enough. For example, looking for work in the “Media industry” is sufficiently focussed, “production assistant for Channel 5 factual programming” is too specific and “need a new job” is so vague it’s virtually useless. Also, it’s useful to remember that the synonyms button on Microsoft Word (you know the one I mean) isn’t always your friend. I’ve seen many headlines on LinkedIn that bear no resemblance to the writing style of the subsequent text underneath, and it can look false and pretentious – “exploring novel prospects in the field of arithmetic” simply sounds silly.
Keywords, keywords, keywords
Want to produce content in your new job? Use the word “content” in your profile! Want to become a laboratory technician? Again, I need to see the word laboratory (and preferably the word technician) in your profile. This goes back to my point about the absence of telepathy in recruitment methods. You may be the perfect candidate for a role, but a recruiter won’t inexplicably know your name to search you by. Having key words relating to your skills, ambitions and experience will help you to be found when recruiters search for these. Just try not to sound contrived in your construction of your profile.
If you have an (appropriate) blog, why not put it on your LinkedIn? Being fresh out of university, you’re unlikely to have picked up formal work experience amongst all the lectures, bar work, pub golf sessions, etc., and self-promotion can be a beautiful thing, when done tactfully. If one of your connections is discussing East-Asian markets, why not join in with an intelligent response and a link to your blog on interning in China?
If you’re going to upset people with your websites, you need to think carefully before you make them available on LinkedIn. Your next job might be as a communications assistant in a Law Firm, and they might not take kindly reading about any less-than-legal past times, or your extended rants on the capitalist machine and how it crushes the worker’s soul.
Be a person
With all these airs and graces it can be hard to hold onto your authenticity. One of the main reasons a candidate stands out on social networks like LinkedIn is because they display something that is unlike everyone else. It sounds romantic, but your individual humanity can be a key strength in the social recruitment world. Let it shine through, but channel it appropriately. If you’re an extrovert, start conversations about relevant topics on LinkedIn, whilst remembering to moderate the tone and quantity of your opinions. If you’re highly political let recruiters see your integrity, but don’t hiss at every corporation that comes your way. The recruiter may have worked at that political think-tank you want to work at, and it won’t do to make enemies in such a highly connected world.
There are a number of websites available for you to get some tips about how to work the virtual room of LinkedIn. One of our favourites is this article . Before you post your profile, show it off to people you can trust. Show your friends, show your family, show your pets, and show us. You can come in and chat about anything careers related, and how to market yourself on LinkedIn is part of that.
I just uploaded some more info about using LInkedIn onto the resources page of the RVC Advice Centre website - check it out here!