Most co-op students and other job seekers know – or learn quickly – that sitting at a computer is not the most effective route to land you your dream job. But social media is a huge part of our everyday lives! Are you making the most of it – with the right tools – to elevate your job search?
LinkedIn has been around for over 10 years, and is now considered the leading online profile tool available to professionals. It is used in over 200 countries, with 313 million members and 3 million company pages (source). So, it can be an important and effective part of your job search toolkit. Here are 10 tips for a great LinkedIn strategy when you’re looking for a job:
Create or update your complete profile before you start connecting with others on LinkedIn. Use it like an online resume when you’re job searching. Your profile needs a targeted headline, a summary of your career goals, and proof of relevant experience you have - this can be from work experience, education, or by adding additional profile sections like projects, certifications, awards, and volunteering. Make sure your text is concise, uses bullet points, and gives links to relevant websites. And remember to edit the “Advice for Contacting ____” section to invite recruiters/employers to connect with you.
Use the search function on LinkedIn to start following the companies you know you’re interested in working for. Then, use it to research what other companies you might want to pursue! Some companies have active LinkedIn profiles, so you can learn a lot about their successes and activities by following them. It may also catch the eye of their recruiters.
You want to start identifying your profile as one that is active and connected in the fields or industries you are trying to enter. Follow Influencers and/or Channels that are relevant to your goals:
Select "Interests" in top navigation of your LinkedIn home page
Select "Discover" page to see what LinkedIn recommends for you, and search for others
To start with, join any relevant university/college or Co-op groups from your school. Then, move on to industry, job type, or other relevant groups for your job search. As you make connections, see what groups others are part of for more recommendations.
Once your profile is current and active, start connecting with people in your network! If you are a co-op student, your Co-op advisors and fellow Co-op students can be a good place to start. If you are applying to or getting interviewed by companies, connect with the contacts you are applying to or interviewing with. Be strategic, though - it’s better to have 100 high quality connections than 500+ that aren’t related to the industries or jobs you’re moving into.
There’s a tab on the home page of your LinkedIn profiles called “Jobs”. Make sure you use it! You can set preferences for your job search here, and see job postings according to the groups and companies you’re following on LinkedIn.
Alumni connected to your institution on LinkedIn can be a valuable job search resource. Want to know who else has a Computer Science degree and is working at SAP? Use those search terms in the “Find Alumni” option in your “Connections” section to find those people!
Build your online presence and engage with others by being active. Share articles, post updates about events, conferences, or competitions you are a part of, and take part in other discussions in your groups, connections, and channels. For more on writing a status update that will attract the opportunities you want, take a look at this video from LinkedIn.
LinkedIn will only work for you if you work with it. If your profile contains outdated information, or you are following groups and channels that are no longer relevant, your newsfeed will be less useful and interesting to you. If you successfully land a position, make sure to update your profile to announce the great new opportunity you landed!