We aren’t going to repeat the basic stuff on using LinkedIn while job hunting. You don’t need me to tell you to spend quality time writing your profile, or to tell you to look up hiring contacts so you can write personalized cover letters, or to research the interview team before going in to meet with them. You know better than to use a selfie from your camping trip as your profile headshot. Here a few things you may not know.
# 1 Add Keywords to Your Summary
If you have a LinkedIn Premium account (and yes, this is something you should invest in), LinkedIn will prompt you with suggested keywords to use in your profile summary. But don’t leave it up to that. Make a list of keywords that are related to skills, personality traits, and job descriptions that are relevant. Take a look at job postings of positions you are interested in and jot down keywords that are applicable to you. Keywords are super useful for recruiters and their search engines.
#2 Keep Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile in Synch
Your resume and profile should complement but not repeat one another.
In your profile you can include Projects and Sample Media. Have a school project that won awards or accolades? Have a video of a presentation you did? Articles you wrote for your college paper? Include those in your media section. 2 to 4 will serve as good samples of the quality of your writing and your work. Beef up the descriptions for those with more keywords.
#3 Write an Awesome Headline
Your headline should showcase your specialty, value proposition, tell your reader why they should stop and take a look at you. Your headline shouldn’t be your job title. And never just put “student”. You could be creative and say “Track star seeking fast-paced digital marketing role in technology, financial services or insurance”. You have 120 characters to work with so think of it as a tweet about you and your goals. Avoid calling yourself a “guru”, “maven” or “thoughtleader”. Those are turnoffs. Keywords play a role in the headline so keep it descriptive rather than filling it with adjectives. Avoid clever emoticons or special characters since those will confuse a search engine.
#4 Hang Out (in Groups, That Is)
LinkedIn Groups are a great way to learn more about an industry and to make contacts who might be able to make introductions. You can join up to 50 groups so find some that are active in your local region as well as in subject areas that interest you. Watch for active commenters or people who seem like leaders in the space. You can follow them to see their updates without having to necessarily make a connection.
#5 Follow People and Companies
Connections and introductions are the best way to find a great job. In addition to joining groups, follow thoughtleaders and comment on their articles, also follow people of interest in groups you’ve joined. Follow Companies that are on your “wish list” of targets so you can be alert to opportunities such as funding rounds, new office openings, new business units, change in personnel in particular teams that could indicate they are about to add new positions or need help. Build a dossier on people who might be on an interview team so you can ask them relevant questions about them and their role. This will also help you figure out who you should target a cover letter to. If you’ve been following the company and people in the functions you are targeting, you’ll never be caught writing a “To Whom it May Concern” letter.
Best of luck with your job hunting!