If your job requires you to have a resume, you need to be on LinkedIn. It’s the best place to post your resume no matter what type of job you perform. Even if you don’t use other social media tools, you should learn and use LinkedIn.
If you need a crash course on LinkedIn and how it works, check out this introductory video from the fabulous people at Commoncraft.
Online Job Search History
Previously, the large job boards like Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com were the primary resource for recruiters who were looking for candidates. However, as companies cut back on expenses, the high costs of searching through the resumes on these sites became a budget trimming target. At the same time, LinkedIn appeared and provided free access to the same type of information. Today, recruiters use LinkedIn to find appropriate candidates, and not just while they are in the office. Many recruiters access LinkedIn remotely from their smart phones and mobile internet devices.
When it first appeared, LinkedIn was seen as the job search area of the social media realm. Common wisdom said that if you were corporate and looking for a job, you should post your resume on LinkedIn. That’s still true today, but what’s changed in the range of people who can benefit from being on LinkedIn. Now, small businesses and freelancers also gain visibility from being on LinkedIn.
Like other social media applications, LinkedIn provides its members with a range of communication tools. However, these are not the reason I’m suggesting you put your resume on LinkedIn. I already have existing ways to talk with people and I don’t need yet another messaging service to monitor. Perhaps you are the same way.
LinkedIn’s greatest values are:
- You can define a professional network of people you know. Other social media tools, like Facebook, may include professional contacts, but they also include people you know in other ways.
- You can post a copy of your resume in one place. Having a single copy of your resume means that updates are quick and easy, and everyone always has your most current resume.
- You can collect recommendations from people who know your work. Each time someone reviews your resume, they can review the recommendations you have received. This is like having an online reference during a job search.
- You can point people to your resume with a customized web address. This means that you can share your resume simply by using your profile’s web address, which you can customize to include your name.
- You can research your network to find people. Using the power of your network, you can find someone within your network who can help you answer many types of questions.
- You can use your existing network connections to get introduced to new people. The best way to meet someone who can help your career (or hire you) is through a personal recommendation. LinkedIn shows you who in your network provides the connection for getting introduced.
The trend today in job searching is to have a one-page resume that you customize for each position. In the past, your resume was a complete and detailed history of your work experience. Today, a resume has become more of a calling card. It emphasizes how you fit a current position’s requirements so you can get invited in for an interview. It provides a laser focus on the experiences that make you a perfect fit for the open position.
So, if your resume isn’t your complete work history, where does that information belong? In your LinkedIn profile. With your work history and education available on LinkedIn, you add the web address of your profile to your resume. This way, potential employers or clients can review you work history if they want to see more than you provide on your resume.
Here are my tips for using LinkedIn.
- Decide your connection policy. LinkedIn recommends that you only link to people you know. That’s a good policy. I also link to people I’ve engaged online in a significant dialog or met at an event. I don’t connect with strangers.
- Customize the link to your public profile. It’s much friendlier for other people use when it is customized.
- If you want recommendations, give recommendations. Be generous and give recommendations to the people in your network that you can recommend. They don’t have to be long, but they should be specific and focused.
- Ask for recommendations. People are busy, and it probably won’t occur to anyone that they should write a recommendation for you. When you finish a project, ask your boss or client to post a recommendation on LinkedIn for you.
- Complete your profile to 100%. You don’t have to fill it out completely the first day, but set a deadline to complete it. You’ll be glad when the details are all there.
- Focus on your accomplishments, not your responsibilities. People are interested in what you have accomplished and what you can accomplish for them. Use statistics and give examples. Often, you can rewrite a responsibility into a accomplishment with just a little thought and effort.
- If you have a blog, use an application to pull your latest posts into your profile. This showcases your blog to the people who check out your profile.
- Update your profile as you accomplish more things. Keep your profile current, and add details about professional events you attend. Review your profile every month to make sure you have the most current information posted.
- Share your LinkedIn public profile web address. Put it on your resume, your business cards, your website, and your blog. In fact, put it everywhere you do business.
- Join groups to find people you already know. Most colleges have alumni groups, cities and regions have groups, and professional organizations have group. Don’t hesitate to invite old friends and co-workers to join your network.
- Check for people you know in each of your connection’s networks. Most likely, you have one or more people in common with each of your connections.
- Post a professional picture on your profile. If you don’t have one, hire a photographer to take a head shot or a portrait that you can use for your online presence. It’s worth the money it costs!
- Backup your connection information. Use the export connections feature to pull your connection data out of LinkedIn and import it into your contact management or address book program.
- Check the LinkedIn blog for new features and smart strategies. They provide tips and information about new features. Check it regularly for updates.
Here is a wonderful webinar from my friend Jay Baer with his 22 tips for using LinkedIn.
What have you found effective with LinkedIn? Share you experience in the comments.