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LinkedIn for Job Seekers

Article rescued from founder's profile when she was working for another company.

After writing my post on "5 Mistakes Recruiters Make On LinkedIn", I got several messages from professionals thanking me for the advice and telling me that they would share the tips with their teams. Finding good available talent on an economy with almost no unemployment is not an easy task so I'm glad my last post was of help.

Now, professionals were not the only ones liking my post. I also had people asking me for advice on how to make their profiles better and more attractive for those hunting for talent. I will state now that I am not a recruiter although I do work for an amazing talent solutions firm and collaborate with the recruiters in my office when I can. I've also had to screen many resumes and interviewed several people in the past in my different job positions. Most importantly, I'm a marketing and communications expert and I understand the basics of how to sell yourself. These last requests I received have been the source of inspiration for this post.

There are 2 types of individuals searching for jobs: those with a job and those without it. At this moment, due to a close to 4% unemployment rate, there's more chances that those looking for a job are actually looking for a job change. Because of this, I will focus most of my post on job seekers who are currently working although the majority of tips are helpful for both. Keep in mind that these are just suggestions based on my experienced and learned from others. At the end of the day, you have to choose what makes sense for you.

1.- Open the doors and make yourself available

I will start by saying this, read the "5 Mistakes Recruiters Make On LinkedIn" because many of the advises given for recruiters will work as well for you. If you want to get opportunities, you need to leave the doors wide open. You can always reject them once they come. It is better to say NO than to not even have the opportunity of saying it. So, make sure people can send you messages, that your email is available and that your profile is searchable and open for everyone to see. This isn't Facebook so you shouldn't be scared of others seeing your profile. After all, it is just your resume.

Also, make it official for recruiters from outside your company. Go to the "Jobs" section on the LinkedIn Page.

Once you click on it a new page will appear with a search box. Below that box there are three tabs. Click on the one that says "Preferences". The new page will give you the option to let recruiters from outside your company know that you are open for business. Don't just set it on. You have an amazing opportunity now to increase your chances of getting the attention of those recruiters looking for someone in a specific industry or for a specific role. Take advantage of the different options by adding the kind of jobs you are considering, a small intro of yourself, and areas and industries you're interested in. The more information you can add, the better. One more thing, you want your profile to be sent to the Hiring Manager when you apply to a job so click "ON" on the last option.

Some people are scared that their employer might find out somehow that they are looking to make a move. Well, that shouldn't scare you. LinkedIn's feature is supposed to make these options searchable for recruiters from outside your company but if they ever happen to find out, it shouldn't be a big deal. You have a right to check out the market and if they value you and don't want you to go, they will try to give you what you're looking for. It might end up being a blessing.

2.- Your professional headline and picture

Your picture is your business card. LinkedIn is not Instagram or Facebook. Your picture is a representation of you as a professional. If you are in the creative world, maybe you can have a more creative or "crazy" image. If you work for the sports clothing industry, it may make sense an image with you on some adventurous or sporty setting. If you are a Banker, you want a more serious yet inviting photo. Just ask yourself this: Is my picture a good representation of me as a professional? Would I hire or want to interview someone I don't know with this photo?

A professional picture doesn't have to cost you that much. I went on Groupon and found a 3 set session with JCPenny for about $20. Search online. These days, there's a coupon for everything.

The title you have in your current or latest job should not be in most cases your professional headline. It should reflect what you do, what you want to do and your current skills. Below you will see my profile title. I am the Business Development Manager for a Talent Solutions Firm but I like helping others with different subjects online and connecting with others to learn from their experiences. Therefore my title talks about what I do, my Marketing skills and my eagerness to network.

In the case of someone looking for a job, you will have to think of how you see yourself and what defines your career. Examples: PHD in Biochemistry helping pharma companies develop new cures, Graphic Designer with a focus on the fashion industry, Helping people find the perfect job, Engineer with a passion for space and science. You can make it more or less serious depending on the industry and company you work for. You can also make it more or less generic depending on your role and if you know what you want your next step to be (which you should).

For those without a job, I wouldn't be scared of stating that you are looking for something. After all, recruiters will see that you stopped working when they go to your work history anyways. But please don't state - Looking for a job -. Why? You are not looking for a job, you are looking for a career, for a new adventure, your next home, a place to grow and where you can put all of your amazing skills to service. Once again, that title should talk about you, what you want and your history. Example: Marketing Expert with international experience - New to LA and looking for my next adventure.

Once again, the industry, what you want and your experience will mark the tone.

3.- Summary

You need a job summary. And something less boring and impersonal than "Individual with blah blah experience seeking blah blah". Your summary is your chance to prove your personal value, where you come from and what motivates you to become the professional you are today. It's your opportunity to not be considered just one more resume.

Take some time and write about who you are, what has your career path been and how it's made you who you are. Talk about your strengths as a worker and as a person. If you are unemployed, talk about what you dream of doing and why you think you'll be good at it. And please, don't forget to add your email so that recruiters can write to you.

4.- Skills And Job Descriptions

In your work history you will set up your past and current professional titles. First mistake many people do is just having the title and no description. You want to be searchable and you want people to understand what you do. As obvious as it may seem to you based on your title, not everyone knows what it means. Your job description should ideally refer to your general duties in two or three short sentences and describe two or three accomplishments if possible. Remember, you want people to comprehend what you do but don't write so much that they won't want to continue reading. Trigger their curiosity.

Make sure you include keywords associated with your skills. You don't want your skills saying that you know social media, Youtube, Facebook and Twitter if your job is Administrative Assistant. Your skills should be aligned with the roles you've had and the roles you want to have. Let's say you are a biologist interested in providing consulting services on how to reduce the cost of medicine production in the labs. Your job descriptions will talk about what you've done in those roles explaining how you understand what goes on inside a laboratory and highlight any experience related with the position you want to have such as "managing laboratory budget". Your skills should go along with your descriptions. They are supposed to showcase what you are able to do. For example: "budgeting" and "lab management". Also, it will be easier for people who have worked with you to endorse you if you have actually done those things in your current and previous jobs. Remember, it's always good to have people vouch for you. If you can get a few recommendations from previous supervisors, coworkers or clients, even better.

5.- The order of things

LinkedIn allows you to reorganize your profile based on what you want viewers to see first. If you just came out of college or got your MBA within the last year, you may want to move your education first in line since it's possible that your professional experience doesn't reflect all of your qualities. Make sure you adjust it to what makes the most sense for you and your career.

6.- Education and Courses

I've heard it before: "I'm just putting my bachelors and masters. No one really cares about what courses I've done". Wrong! It matters. The courses you do have given you knowledge beyond your career. They also say a lot about your curiosity and interest to grow and continue learning. The world is no longer dominated by PHDs and MBAs. Many CEOs got their MBA right before or after becoming CEOs. I've seen Directors of Departments in big companies who only have a bachelor degree from a university I've never even heard of. Education is important but in a digital world where free or almost free online courses are being backed by some of the biggest companies in the world, an MBA may not be what defines your capacity to get that role you're looking for. So don't be ashamed and show those course certifications with pride because they may be what give you the opportunity to at least get an interview. Of course, only if they are related with your career and jobs you're interested in (no recruiter is interested in knowing you have a certificate in homemade cupcakes unless you're applying to work at The Food Network).

(Check Udemy, EdX and Coursera if you're interested in online courses).

7.- Follow the brands

I recently read on an article how many companies look to see if you follow them on social media before considering hiring you. At the end of the day, the brand is a very important aspect of many enterprises. Today, employees switch jobs every 2-3 years and even faster if you look at millennials in some cities. It's logical that a company wants to hire not just talent but people who love their company. If you love the brand, you are less likely to leave and more likely to give it all and love the job. So my recommendation is follow the brands you like and the brands you're interested in to show your love for them. It is also a great way to know when they are looking for people and be one of the first to apply.

8.- Dedicate Time, Connect And Answer

You want to find a job or move to another one? Well, you need to dedicate time. You need to spend time searching, connecting and answering to those who connect with you.

Looking for a job can be a job in itself. But thanks to LinkedIn you can make your job search efficient by dedicating 1hour and 15-30 minutes every day. Make sure you dedicate 30 minutes every day to searching for new positions. Wake up half an hour earlier and start your day with a job search. Save them and dedicate another 30 minutes daily to applying when you come back from work. You'll be more motivated to do it and the boring search part is already done. Those positions are just waiting there for you to apply. One more great thing about LinkedIn? You often get to see the Hiring Manager which gives you a connecting opportunity and more applications these days are done the LinkedIn way which means you just send your profile and an attachment with your resume saving you an incredible amount of time. Search and applications will take you just one hour a day.

But applying for a job is not enough anymore. They say you are who you know and although I don't think it defines anyone, it does define your opportunities. Dedicate 15 to 30 minutes to look for Hiring Managers, Recruiters and Department Managers or Directors of those companies you want to work for or are applying to. Invite them to be a part of your network or send them a message letting them know of your interest. You are more likely to find the right job this way with less applications than by sending tons of applications through corporate sites. And if they don't answer, don't feel offended, just look for someone else in their team and continue trying. Make sure you answer the messages you receive because they will do the same. If you don't answer fast, they will go on to the next one.


I hope you find this post as helpful as the "5 Mistakes Recruiters Make On LinkedIn". I'm always open for suggestions and happy to help anyone who wants me to check their profile. Everyone deserves to find their dream job.


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