With the rapid ascension of social media use, especially among college students and recent grads, none may be more vital than LinkedIn in landing a job.
According to research, 92 percent of companies use LinkedIn or some form of social media as a recruiting tool, and 79 percent of all jobs are posted on social media. Sixty one percent of all LinkedIn members are hiring managers and executives.
There are 200 million people currently on LinkedIn so that means there are a lot of jobs and contacts out there waiting for you.
“Anyone who means anything to your career is probably on LinkedIn,” said Debra Manente, who is the associate director of the Career Services Department at Post University.
Ninety percent of people say they got a job because of someone they know, and LinkedIn allows you to connect and stay in touch professionally with as many people as possible.
The whole purpose of LinkedIn is to build relationships, and some of them could help you get a job. The social media tool also allows you to professionally promote yourself, and helps you rank high in search engine results.
Debra met with a group of Post University students recently about the importance of LinkedIn as one tool in the career search process. She urged students to create LinkedIn profiles and complete all eight steps to achieve 100 percent completion, which enables you to be seen by more people.
“It helps you establish an authoritative voice regarding your accomplishments, experience, and capabilities and leads people to find you when they search the internet,” Manente said.
She walked the students through the eight steps including name, picture, headline and strong summary, experience, education, skills, demographic area and industry, and connections.
1.Name: Use the name you will use professionally on LinkedIn. Don’t use a nickname.
2. Picture: Your picture should be a professional-looking headshot with a pleasant expression on your face. No one else should be in the picture. It’s appropriate to have your work setting in the background.
3. Headline and strong summary: Debra said this is the most important part of the process. It’s vital to use this space to convey your skills. For example if you work in a career services department write Career Developer/Career Search Blogger/LinkedIn Trainer/Program Coordinator.
Don’t just state your title as that is already included lower in the profile. Debra said no matter what you do, don’t leave this section blank.
4. Experience: College students can include internships under experience along with full- and part-time jobs. You must list at least two positions under experience, which can include volunteer work.
5. Education: For recent graduates you can move education to the top of your profile. Debra suggested you only list relevant classes and there is no need to list your high school.
6. Skills: List skills employers want to see based on the career you want. You must list at least three skills in order to achieve a 100 percent completed profile.
7. Demographic Area and Industry: Failure to include this information means you won’t show up in LinkedIn’s searches.
8. Connections: You need at least 50 connections to bring your profile to 100 percent completion. That sounds daunting but you can connect with people on your gmail and yahoo emails. And, you also can actively seek out connections among professionals in your current or future field.
If you want to connect with someone you don’t know or don’t know well, it’s best to send a personal message instead of LinkedIn’s automated impersonal message.
Debra said 10 percent of your network should feature recommendations by other LinkedIn members. Don’t be shy about asking for recommendations from people with whom you’ve worked closely and can attest to your skills, work ethic, etc.
What’s been your experience using LinkedIn? Have you ever learned about a career opportunity or gotten a lead on an interview through LinkedIn?