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Most people are on LinkedIn these days (and if you’re not, we recommend you sign up!). But many job-seekers aren’t aware of just how helpful LinkedIn can be when you’re searching for your next role.

Developing and using your LinkedIn network is a fantastic way to take a proactive approach to your job search and expand your opportunities. I’ve put together a few tips on utilising LinkedIn to connect with potential employers and land your dream job

Make sure your profile is up to scratch

The first thing you need to do before using your LinkedIn network to find your next job is to carefully scrutinise your own profile. Ask yourself:

  • Is my profile up-to-date including my current and previous employment?
  • Have I included descriptions of each role and its responsibilities?
  • Is my photo professional?

Does my profile contain keywords relevant to the type of role I’m seeking? (Keywords help employers and recruiters find you when searching for a particular skillset.)

Does my profile contain professional recommendations or testimonials? (Seek these out from a manager, someone you have managed previously, someone with whom you have worked on a large project etc., and add them to your profile by clicking ‘Add profile section’ > ‘Additional information’.)

If the answer to any of these is no, get to work on updating your profile. Once it’s looking polished and professional, you’re ready to start connecting and prospecting.

Connect with the right people

Using your LinkedIn network to seek out your next career opportunity is all about connecting with people – but you need to make sure they’re the right people. Don’t reach out to just anyone. You need to connect with people in the industry you want to work in, or those in similar positions to the ones you’re seeking.

Before connecting with people, do some research into the company and the person themselves. This will help with starting conversations. For example, if you’re wanting to connect with someone who you know is working on a big project, reaching out to them with enthusiasm, knowledge of and interest in their project will make a good impression (and could just land you your next gig!).

With each new connection, it’s best to send a personalised message thanking them for connecting with you, bringing up any specific conversation starters as above, and perhaps even asking them to meet you for a coffee to chat further. Be specific with what you want to gain from the meeting; whether it’s career advice, industry advice or a chat about their company or role, know your goal for the conversation and communicate that purpose to your connection.

However, any connection developed through LinkedIn should be a two-way street. LinkedIn isn’t just about making advantageous connections; it’s about building relationships, so consider what you can offer each connection in return for their time. Developing genuine connections is essential when using your LinkedIn network in a job search.

Use LinkedIn’s features to their full advantage

LinkedIn isn’t just about individual and company profiles. It has so many more features and offers many opportunities for broadening your network and making useful connections. For this reason, it’s important to be active on LinkedIn. Don’t just update your profile, hit a few ‘Connect’ buttons, then call it a day!

Contribute to appropriate conversations, share articles that are interesting and relevant, interact with other people’s posts by liking and commenting. However, keep in mind at all times that LinkedIn is a professional network – not everything is appropriate for this platform, so you’ll need to treat it differently than you would your regular social networking site.

As you might already know, LinkedIn also has a Jobs section. Exploring this section will allow you not only to find advertised jobs, but also to look at organisations that are hiring and find names for people you can connect with and speak to about job opportunities.

A final tip: LinkedIn also has a fantastic feature that allows you to indicate on your profile whether you are available for work or interested and open to opportunities. Go to your settings and in the Privacy category, scroll down to ‘Job seeking preferences’ and toggle the ‘Yes’ option under ‘Let recruiters know you’re open to opportunities’. You can also click ‘Update career interests’ to specify whether you’re actively applying, casually looking, or not looking but open to offers (there is also a ‘not open to offers’ option). You can then specify exactly what kind of job you’re looking for.

Need some help with your job search or shaping up your LinkedIn profile? Give me a call on 0477 014 525 or email charmaine.piper@gwgpartners.com.au.

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