Employers are increasingly using social media to find qualified candidates for jobs and internships and to vet candidates before and during the interview process. While it’s not unusual for employers to do Google searches and use a range of social media channels, surveys show that employers use LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter the most.
Building Your LinkedIn Profile
With more than 380 million users in more than 200 countries, LinkedIn is an excellent tool to build your online profile, connect with people who can help you explore different career paths and find jobs. In a survey done in 2014, 95% of hiring managers said they are using or plan to use LinkedIn as part of their recruitment and selection strategy.
It’s no longer a question of if you should use LinkedIn, but how. Below are some tips to get you started. Think of your LinkedIn profile as an interactive business card. It’s a summary of your professional experience, interests, and capabilities that is designed to attract the attention of people who are searching for you online — recruiters, networking contacts, and grad school admissions officers.
Craft an Informative Headline
Your profile headline gives people a short, memorable way to understand who you are in a professional context or what you’re looking to do. This little 120-character section is prime marketing real estate. Think of the headline as the slogan for your professional brand, such as “Aspiring Real Estate Professional and Investor Building Sustainable Communities” or "Passionate About Workforce Development Issues And Education Reform"
Display an Appropriate Photo
Remember that LinkedIn is not Facebook or your personal blog. If you choose to post a photograph, and I strongly recommend that you do, select a professional, high-quality, head-and-shoulders headshot of you alone. It doesn't have to be fancy — you can use your cellphone camera in front of a plain background. Don't forget to smile!
Show off Your Experience, Education and Activities
List the jobs you’ve held, even if they were part-time, along with what you accomplished at each. You can include photo or videos of your work. List organization and volunteer activities and include details about tasks you performed and what you accomplished for each. Be sure to include information about all institutions you’ve attended. Include your concentration as well as highlights of your activities.
Develop Your Summary Statement
Your summary statement should resemble the first few paragraphs of your best-written cover letter — concise and confident about your goals and qualifications. Describe what motivates you, what you're skilled at, and what you’re aspiring to do next. Remember to include volunteer work, extracurriculars, and key areas of expertise that are relevant for the kind of work you’re seeking, and your aspirations. Present your summary statement in short blocks of text for easy reading. Bullet points are great, too.
Additional Items: List Your Skills, Optimize Your Profile, Get Recommendations
Your Summary and Skills and Expertise sections are the places to include key words and phrases that a recruiter or hiring manager might type into a search engine to find a person like you. Try to list at least five key skills to start. Not sure what key skills to list? Check job listings that appeal to you and the LinkedIn profiles of people who hold the kinds of positions you want. To increase the professional results that appear when people type your name claim a unique URL for your profile (for example: www.linkedin.com/in/yourname). Lastly, ask for recommendations from past supervisors and colleagues, employers, and professional mentors.
Look out for Part Two of Using LinkedIn for Your Job Search!
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Shemika L. Moore, MBA is a energetic, detail oriented, compassionate, creative and committed leader with over 15 years’ experience in Employer Engagement, Retention and Career Coaching along with strong analytical and exceptional communication skills. Seeking to help organizations meet its goals by developing employees who are confident and skilled individuals optimizing their contribution to the organization. Passionate about helping individuals who not only seek to achieve career success, but looking for more joy and fulfillment.