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How LinkedIn Can Increase Your Odds of Landing That Perfect Job

Have you heard of the professional networking site called LinkedIn?

It’s not only a great place to find jobs, create professional career profiles that look appealing to hiring managers and make key connections that can further your career, it's also free. How’s that for a helpful job search tool?

What's It All About?

This professional networking site has over 150 million members, including business owners, CEOs, and HR professionals. And while it’s primarily a place to scout for jobs and keep connected with professional colleagues, you can also use it to do the following:

  • Track your favorite companies and see immediately if there’s anyone in your network who works there
  • Keep abreast of the latest updates in your industry through 'LinkedIn Today' or through industry specific groups
  • Discover and network with likeminded individuals who can place you in front of people you normally wouldn’t have access to
  • See what your colleagues are doing through status updates and career notifications
  • Use the site's search database to find your own professional to hire

Let's stick with jobs for a moment. How can LinkedIn help you with your job search?

There are two main ways this site can help you get a job, and it’s good to consider both:

1: You Can Find Actual Jobs on LinkedIn

LinkedIn has its own job board where you can actively search for jobs, or see what the site automatically suggests for you based on your profile. If a job interests you, you can apply right on site, add a cover letter, and attach your resume – it’s that easy.

Your LinkedIn profile will automatically be included with your application. But the real beauty of applying for a job through LinkedIn is the ability to see the job poster's profile.

Not only can you learn a bit more about the person who will most likely read your application, you get to see if you share any common connections. And a common connection is a golden opportunity to dig for more information to make your cover letter stand out above your competition.

Say John is hiring and you realize that you and John both know Mary. You may not be best friends with Mary, but you have had some pleasant conversations with her in the past. You ask her if she knows John very well. She says she does. You mention that he's looking to hire for this position and you were wondering if Mary knew what John was looking for. Mary goes one better and says she'll introduce you to John.

You now have a leg up from the other applicants who don't have a mutual connection to John.

And even if this scenario doesn't happen often, LinkedIn gives you more information than the average job site or company listing about who's making the hiring decisions  And wouldn't we all benefit from a little more information when applying for jobs?

And the job hunting opportunities don't just stop there. You can find jobs by:

  • Leveraging your network - It's always good to have a solid network before you actually need it. Sending out feelers to your connections asking if they're aware of any job openings or new work opportunities can open you up to a whole new pool of jobs that will never be made publicly available. Remember, many companies ask their own employees first if they know anyone that can fill a position before they ever post a job online.
  • Scouting companies you want to work for – Many companies have their own business profiles on LinkedIn. And checking them out will tell you who they recently hired, if you have any connections who work at that company, and if they’re looking to hire in the future. Also, studying employee profiles, specifically those recently hired for the job you want, will give you a feel of what types of people they’re likely to hire and what skill sets and experiences they have in common (like if they all came from a certain internship program). If this company is your dream job, you can start to position yourself as an appealing candidate to hire the next time there’s an opening.

The information available on LinkedIn, and the opportunity to leverage who you know to land a job are two very powerful advantages of using the networking site during a job search. But finding jobs is only half the battle.

You have to land the job too. Which brings us to our second point:

2: Having a Professional Profile Puts You Above Your Competition

The vast majority of profiles on LinkedIn are incomplete. And I'd say that more than half don't have their Summary section (the place where you can really demonstrate why you should be hired) filled out.

So having a completed profile already puts you on a different playing field. And having a profile that re-affirms you as the perfect person for the job and company is priceless.

Recruiters are going to Google your name anyway. Might as well give them something good to look at.

So have a great photo posted. Put up as many detailed recommendations attesting to the quality of your work as you can. And have a summary that really sells who you are and why you're great to have on a team. (And please don't just copy and paste what you've written on your resume objective. That's being lazy. The other 50% are lazy. You're not).

If writing is not your strong point, I suggest you do a little reading or hire someone to help craft your LinkedIn profile. Just as you would hire a resume writer to give your application its best shot, you shouldn't skimp on your profile. Especially since it's public on the web. The last thing you want is for someone to be interested in your application, then Google you and find contradictory or negative information. Or feel unimpressed by how you present yourself online.

Invest in yourself. Have a professional profile. Show these recruiters that you’re not a candidate they should pass over.

Happy job hunting!

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