Four Steps for Using LinkedIn for Your Job Search by TX Jackson

Using LinkedIn for your job search can be a powerful tool that can help you get noticed by potential employers. However, most people don't really use it effectively to get noticed. Below are four steps you need to take to make your LinkedIn profile work for you in your job search.

1. Fill out your entire profile - Most people don't take the time to complete their entire profile. In the name box make sure you provide a crisp description of how you want employers to perceive you.

If you want to be positioned as a "senior marketing executive" put those words in the introduction box.
You can include 2-3 other descriptions besides your work title depending on how you want to position yourself.
Also, make sure to include a professional picture, it's a simple step that most people don't do, but doing so will help you make the most of LinkedIn for your job search.

2. Optimize a primary term in your profile - Most people don't know this but LinkedIn uses rudimentary search engine criteria to rank profiles. Although it is a social network first and foremost, it's also a search engine for recruiters.

• You'll notice a search box on the top right of the LinkedIn page which usually defaults to "people" as a drop down choice. Recruiters enter a term such as "Vice President Marketing" or "Channel Business Development". If you are using LinkedIn for your job search correctly your profile reflects the term in your background and positioning. The search will look at the number of instances of the specific term searched for in each profile. The profiles with the most references to a specific term get ranked higher.
• Make sure you work in your primary term that you want to be positioned for in every place that is reasonable including your title profile, the summary box, the specialty box, and the experience section where each job description is listed.

This is an excellent way to use LinkedIn for your job search as it helps you get noticed in the way you want to.

3. Ask For Recommendations - You can have people you have worked with to write a recommendation for you. One thing it does is to show what others think of you professionally, which does have value. Just make sure not to overdo it.

You only need 3-5 references to show a potential recruiter that people will say positive things about you.
We recommend you select potential recommendation authors with the types of companies you want to be associated with to support your positioning as it a perfect way to use LinkedIn for your job search. For example, if you work in wireless and want to show you have worked with companies in that space look for connections to larger name brand companies (e.g. AT&T, Verizon, Motorola, etc...) you may have relationships with. This way you can leverage companies you have worked with, not necessarily for.
By getting references you are associating brand names in a specific sector with you.

Recruiters will simply scan your profile and see those companies quickly which helps to form a positive opinion about you and your qualifications. This is an example of how to use your LinkedIn for your job search more effectively.

4. Use Social Media in your profile - If you write a blog or use social media, such as Twitter, and the content of either is relevant to how you want yourself positioned when a potential employer or recruiter looks at your profile, integrated into your profile.

For a blog feed go to the "More" drop down on the left hand tool bar and select "more applications" and find your blogging platform application you want to feed to your profile.
For Twitter users, consider attaching your Twitter feed, or at least add your Twitter handle (name) to your profile box.

Optimizing your profile on LinkedIn for your job search is a good use of time and can pay dividends to help get you noticed.

TX (Trevor) Jackson writes about employment and career issues and his current project [the website cannot be found] helps people find jobs in today's highly competitive job market.

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