Top Ten Suggestions for How to Use LinkedIn

94% of recruiters use social media these days in their recruitment efforts.  While Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are popular, none compare the power that LinkedIn holds in the professional world of networking.  There are over 300 million people using LinkedIn globally, with two new members added every second.  A serious job-hunter simply cannot miss the opportunities provided, for free, via LinkedIn.

I’ve used LinkedIn both as an engineer, as a human resources leader, and as an executive search firm owner.  The power of this tool is immense, and its popularity (and cost for the serious user) grows every year.  My Top-10 suggestions for effective use of this tool are:

  1. Have a great photo.   Your photo should be a head-shot, and not a selfie.  People remember faces far more than words, so this is your one and only chance to make a great first impression.  Make it count.  (Also, on the subject of photos, take down any photos on Facebook, Instagram, or other searchable sites that diminish your professionalism – think party pics from college, etc.)  Recruiters check out these sites as well.
  2. Connect with everyone you know.  One of your goals is to expand your number of level-one connections as far as possible.  Have at least 200 connections as your initial goal, and keep building from there.
  3. Join LinkedIn Groups.  Search for and then join industry, professional and alumni groups that match your background.
  4. Headline.  Make your LinkedIn headline as impactful as possible.  Next to your photo, this will be the most memorable part of your profile, and busy recruiters may not get past this line.
  5. Summary.  Spend some time and effort to develop a compelling LinkedIn summary.  This is your equivalent of an “elevator speech” of why someone would hire you.  What is your value proposition?  It should be unique and captivating.
  6. Work Experience.  Show your prior work experience in an easy-to-read, chronological form.  Don’t show as much detail as you would in your traditional resume.  Be sure to include relevant keywords in both your summary and experience sections.  Recruiters use keywords to narrow down their searches among millions of potential candidates.
  7. Recommendations.  Have as many people that you know professionally complete LinkedIn recommendations on your behalf.  This is a huge part of building credibility and attracting attention.
  8. Do the research.  LinkedIn has tremendous searching capabilities, and you can learn a ton about different industries and companies.  Take the time to research the companies that you may be interested in and follow them via their company LinkedIn pages.
  9. Be Complete.  Work on your LinkedIn Profile until it is “Fully Complete.”  A profile that is 100% complete will show up 40 times more than an incomplete profile in search results.  A fully complete profile has:
  • Your industry and location
  • A minimum of 50 connections
  • A listing of at least 3 skills
  • Your current position and description
  • A profile photo
  • At least two past positions
  • Your education
  1. Stay the Course.  Go into LinkedIn at least once per day, and use it for research, for networking, and for building upon your on-line brand.  Do this relentlessly until that new job is yours!

People that commit to the actions listed above will dramatically improve their chances of winning not only a job, but more likely a job that they will love and will match their purpose and passions.   Life is too short to settle for anything less.