Social Enterprise

How to use LinkedIn strategically

LinkedIn is a great tool for getting your profile out in front of potential employers. And with the addition of some new apps, it just got better.

I think a lot of people think of LinkedIn as just a more staid version of social networking. And I think the gainfully employed often neglect their LinkedIn pages in favor of its more scintillating cousin, Facebook. After all, would you rather hear who a former colleague is now connected to or read trash-talking among your Facebook friends?

Okay, maybe that's just me.

The fact is, LinkedIn is a great tool for what are perhaps the most important aspects of searching for a job-networking and online presence. And with the addition of some new LinkedIn apps, these have become tasks have become even easier to do.

First of all, you can put your work profile up there for the world to see. While you still should send targeted resumes for positions you want to apply for, LinkedIn gives everyone a snapshot of your capabilities. So if a potential employer is just looking around before he or she even posts an opening, you're out there. Here are some tips for using LinkedIn to its greatest advantage:

Avoid overused keywords just as you would on a resume

LinkedIn late last year released its top 10 overused buzzwords used in U.S. member-profiles. Avoid:

  • extensive experience
  • innovative
  • motivated
  • results-oriented
  • dynamic
  • proven track record
  • team-player
  • fast-paced
  • problem-solver
  • entrepreneurial

Take advantage of new LinkedIn apps

I found three apps that I think are invaluable:

WordPress

This app will synch your WordPress blog posts automatically with your profile. It offers a filtering option if you don't want to share every entry with your LinkedIn connections-you can just use a special LinkedIn tag.

Events

The Events application adds a box to your profile that shows what events people in your network are attending. This helps you find events based on your industry and job function. You can sort by most popular events, search for events, and create new ones.

SlideShare Presentations

With this app, you can share presentations and documents with your LinkedIn network and upload portfolios, resume, conference talks, PDFs, marketing/sales presentations. If you're really adventuresome, you can upload a video of yourself.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

58 comments
saurav2035
saurav2035

I got the job thru linkedin not directly but it increased my chances because of recommendations there. -- Tech Idiots

seven2seven
seven2seven

Nice shameless plug LewSauder, shouldn't you be posting this in your FB page? It is a tool, like a dice.com or monster.com .... If you think that lipsticking it on LI with 'connections' means they will get a job boy are you in for a surprise the day you look for one. LI = live resume and grounds for discrimination since now 'applicants' can have a self mugshot and it is illegal in some industries to put a photo on your resume....now they can 'not like you' without even reading your resume. On user level...it is more 'behaved' social community where one can keep a resume active (and not look like they are in search of a job) and to stay in touch with your colleagues and talk about things that are relevant in your industry rather than about personal live.

KristiMetz
KristiMetz

People use certain words a lot because they have significance to the job market and are easy to understand. In my business documentation, I use a lot of the same words over and over and over again. Does it make my documentation less interesting to read? Of course. But is it concise, easy to understand, and consistent? Yes - and that's what is most important to me. Companies are not looking for people who are truly "out there". They want reliable employees who will, within the confines of a corporate box, do what needs to be done, do it well, and hopefully come up with some better and more efficient ways to accomplish things. They aren't trying to find potential winners of the Nobel prize for literature. The implication of this article is that companies will turn away individuals, or be less likely to interview them, if their resume contains "overused" words. There doesn't appear to be any evidence to suggest this.

djneats
djneats

Hi, After reading your review I went straight out to download the above app. Boo Hoo to me. After getting such great press from you guys they decided to not take any more members. Disappointing but does anyone have a suggestion for a similar app. Seems pretty limited to me.

terry_jones
terry_jones

Yeah, I'm in doubt about these buzzwords too. How about using some synonyms? After all, they're not sought for by machines but by humans! Am I rite?

Viktor_f
Viktor_f

It is a good networking tool when you need to find somebody and agree the meeting. Sometimes I faced with the meaning that the Facebook much better and you may ignore LinkedIn. In fact people are ready to chat about the business and hate when you try to reach something in the Facebook (as the SN for the just a good time spending for fun)

gorman.mi
gorman.mi

Linkedin seems to have a lot of potential for more than career management-being such a many layered cake of talent, and a forum of different project areas-it has the potential to provide real-time relationship building and JV partnership creation globally. May6be even a live project managment tool for co-ordinating stages, communicating..this is where i would like to see it going.

JasonTRunner
JasonTRunner

My best strategy I used on http://www.linkedin.com was to use the tool who's checking out your profile. I used recruiters and direct to company, and when found their contacts were checking out my profile, I'd do a timely follow up - and yeah, helped me secure my last job. My $.02

mcgowansales6ix
mcgowansales6ix

I would have thought that plain language and proof gets you further than buzzwords.

Szasz
Szasz

Linkedin is quite professional network. Especially for recruiting.

klaasvanbe
klaasvanbe

Strange that only Facebook is mentioned as competition "compatible", while Google+ comes much nearer to LinkedIn in my not so humble opinion. My €0.02 we used to say. Yes, I'm an "old school" guy, yet a (systems) developer when it was still called (systems) programmer back in the seventies.

Eastvantage Outsourcing
Eastvantage Outsourcing

I would just like to agree with Stephen. Yes, it would be a lot more interesting of there are figures showing how many people have been employed via linkedin

Tony Mack
Tony Mack

I have been using the WP to synch my blog to share post and news up dates with my peer network. Works really well as i don't need to duplicate my time. Here is the wordpress site I use it on: Halong Bay Tours. Linked in , "Facebook for adults"

CheapSSLCerts
CheapSSLCerts

Linkedin is one of the best social media platform where social media experts can share niche resources to their friends and groups which can be effected to business presence through out the social media world., But trying to employing Linkedin strategically can make this happen.

MadHatter1
MadHatter1

I have had numerous people ring me up trying to sell me things due to my public linkedin profile ... (I'm talking specific IT products) and even once trying to get me to attend a conference, based on the details on linkedin.

ThatITGuyTy
ThatITGuyTy

Linked In, as well as any other social site, is only as powerful as the people who are broadcasting themselves. I see alot of questioning whether or not the site even has significance in getting a job or job hunting. Maybe another question should be asked instead; like am I sending the best possible impression of myself across to perspective employers?

klaasvanbe
klaasvanbe

Apart from their own site many companies have a profile on LinkedIn to show just the essentials of what they do and who they are, just like your personal profile is supposed to do. That's one way to use LinkedIn as a source to find a job or assignment as a partner, getting a contract etcetera. The reversed method is to find a company's website without the chance to make a typo in the URL or the company's name in your favorite search engine. Besides you see eventually 1st, 2nd, 3rd contacts who work there, a reference in the blink of an eye. LinkedIn has a lot of positive characteristics especially if you dare to compare it with FB, MySpace and a couple of other, less famous sites. Specialized job seeker/recruiter sites are valuable as well. Applying by just one to three mouse clicks and typing few bytes are valuable as well. I use some of them to get a better chance.

Eddie, GH
Eddie, GH

Hi all, I think LinkedIn is the best social media network with professional emphasis that has been created. However, the variety of positive and negative responses given here suggest to me that some professional industries benefit more than others. For instance I notice a lot of positive vibes from those in HR - just to mention one. It would be interesting to have survey results to find out which industries benefit most and which ones do not.

keithzorz
keithzorz

My wife works in HR and swears by it. I created an account but don't really have a use for it as of yet. Talent requisitioners are constantly searching for linkedin for potential candidates for positions within their company. I think it would benefit everyone to have an account whether you are currently searching for a new position or not. Networking is a very powerful tool.

peterpk85
peterpk85

you can also make use of adding products and services in linkedin

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

and checked the box for "I don't get any value from it". This may be because I don't think 'strategically'.

jinglaura
jinglaura

I would like to know that too.

Techeads Anonymous
Techeads Anonymous

I would like to know that too. I'm sure it's better luck at a dating service.

danekan
danekan

if you're not a paid member, joining groups is a way to get more closely connected with others in your relevant industry. If you join a group that someone else is in, you then have more access to view their profile.

urvashi28
urvashi28

I am a student of B-tech. CS-IIyr . I woud like to go further for Database Management System as a priority for my career. Please guide me for this .

mcconnel
mcconnel

What would Toni suggest one write on their LI page if they have extensive IT experience and have proven, through their many positions, that they are innovative and motivated when working on critical projects? What if they are not boring, sheepish cube drones but results-oriented and dynamic individuals with a proven track record of being a team-player? What if their work style is fast-paced, problem-solving with an entrepreneurial spirit? These are good traits. Do employers want people who can wrangle a thesaurus and who eschew "buzzwords" or motivated performers who know they are good at what they do and are ready to get the job done in the pursuit of profit? Just asking.

la mere
la mere

When most of your connections are from your current employer, you can't use it to actively look for work! You can use it to build a profile and portfolio, and use it on your resume. It is useful if you can build your profile so that it adds to your resume and cover letter, and links out to a portfolio website or blog. Having references there helps, too. Just be careful what you say!

kpresario
kpresario

Great personalization tool to present your own working profile. Nothing to lose, and you get yourself stamping in the cyberspace. In addition, it can broaden our communication channel in our carrier development. Why's not LinkedIn?

prush
prush

I had my personal twitter account sync'd instead of my professional one, and I received a PM from one of my IEEE connects to flip the script quick! LOL

jefmenguin
jefmenguin

Thank you for sharing this tips. I think what linkedin does is to make you more visible to those who are looking for someone whose credential fit yours. It is hard to say that someone has been hired because of Linkedin because the hiring process does not work that way. Well, you may connect me through linked in. Look for Jef Menguin. I am the only one there.

BreckenridgeRealtor
BreckenridgeRealtor

I seem to be contacted by people from all over the country who want to added to my "connections" but nothing ever comes of it.

shruti.k
shruti.k

It is a great networking site. It helps to create professional network also, great to enhance knowledge.

LewSauder
LewSauder

If you are not using Linked In as a networking tool, you're missing a key piece. I suppose if you never plan on doing a job search and don't need to make contacts for sales, you can afford to ignore it. In today's world of job insecurity however, it should be one of your top networking tools. As for Linked In directly getting someone employment, it is one of many tools that should be used as part of a networking strategy. This will make a job search more successful rather than relying on this one single tool. Lew Sauder, Consulting 101: 101 Tips For Success in Consulting (www.Consulting101Book.com)

JoeAv
JoeAv

If you seeking just "project work" Linked-In works. For those of us seeking full time work nothing beats knowing a person who could forward on your resume.

Perseus
Perseus

Well, I have mixed experience. Partially similar to what KathyBacon's auditors said. I have been nagged a hassled by at least a hundred recruiters trying to find internal postings and positions of a company I had as present employer. Finally I changed my employer's name with the industry in which it operates and that stopped the emails. As to getting job through Linked-in connections, I have been pretty damned close to an interview through it. I didn't follow through due to other reasons. I have at one point used to to get to someone across 4 degrees of separation who was working at the same dept and company where I was about to interview. That had favorable results. Hope that helps.

hauskins
hauskins

It would be interesting to know how many people have gotten employment with Linkedin, directly or indirectly.

wizard57m-cnet
wizard57m-cnet

I would not call them "fast, problem solving". I would call it a zombie though. Wizard57M TR Moderator

coachgeorge
coachgeorge

I have found that when joining "relevant Industry" groups, I get inundated with drivel from the masses that believe they are experts on everything. I expected brisk and up to date intelligent conversations. A sharing of real world information. I have been very disappointed. Virtually everything is self serving and rehashed nonsense. It is worse than anything I have experienced on any social network site. This is, of course, my Less Than Humble Opinion.

CPhase2
CPhase2

...yes. Word has a nifty lil function that allows you to look up synonyms for words. This can be great if you need to turn a $5 word to a $100 word, and change a common self-lauding word to something different than the norm. Here are a few that I use: Strategically Critical Thinking Ensured Communicated Coordinated Orchestrated Established Saved Able to Extrapolate from Previous Experience Demonstrated or Documented Success in (as opposed to proven) Solutions (as opposed to results) "Dynamic???" Who cares about touting your multi-faceted personality? "Team Player?" Really? As opposed to "Doesn't play well with others?"

Kelseyvh
Kelseyvh

My last two opportnities have been initiated as a result of my Linked In activity, I have also been able to assist others via Linked In. I think that for Linked In to work well as a communications/networking tool you need to be active at least weekly and you need to ensure your profile is up to date.

mcnmm
mcnmm

I have gotten most of my jobs from it. Although I am one of those LinkedIn Consultants. Most people still do not know how to use it. Thus it does not work if you don't work it.

ericgeyer
ericgeyer

My current job started with a recruiter contacting me through LinkedIN. Despite my initial skepticism, I kept with the process. Worked out for me, this time at least.

Karenscottdavie
Karenscottdavie

I found a number of good ICT staff both using LinkedIn contacts by asking for referrals and by placing job ads.

TerryOdom
TerryOdom

After turning down a job offer, prior to moving back to Atlanta from Maryland, I was able to connect with the hiring manager after losing his contact info. Once I got a hold of him he actually remembered speaking with me even after a year had passed and offered me the position again.

sanjayrathod123
sanjayrathod123

I get many Linkedin email for Job offers and also recommend friends looking for job in any industry to signup on linked to publish their profile summary and keep expanding your network in similar industry of interest to them, join groups and get involved in discussion to put their thoughts Linkedin is really great tool, when used wisely!!!!

kellyk25
kellyk25

I know that the HR recruiters where I currently work use LinkedIn extensively to find suitable candidates. And even if they come through another channel (job boards etc.), the recruiters use LinkedIn to check them out. BTW - when I am interviewing people I have found that they ALL have checked me out through LinkedIn. So a word of advice - even if you "don't care" how you appear on it, someone else may form an opinion based on it...

AlSimon
AlSimon

I do not know, first hand, of anyone that Linkedin was used to obtain a job. Also, people in management I know use it after receipt of an application to see if there is a reason to not continue with the applicant. I have only heard the Linkedin hype that you can connect and find employment.

shruti.k
shruti.k

My company HR connected with one of my senior on linked-in. Also, I have seen many companies contacting professionals through Linkedin.

Tank-at-Large
Tank-at-Large

Even though I am not looking for a new position at this time, I have received two requests for a resume. I found that in itself interesting enough to look at both positions. However, I also respectfully declined.

kathybacon
kathybacon

With working in banking/finance I.T. I've been advised by auditors not to be on LinkedIn due to the potential for security breaches. That said, I don't know much about the site other than my husband who feels it has been quite beneficial. His job (technical writer) was outsourced to India in early October 2010 and he spent a lot of time on the site with favorable results. He has been to two interviews as well as landing a 2-year contract with H-P because of his LinkedIn connections. He has connected a few of his contacts regarding jobs and I know of one person who was hired as a result.

klaasvanbe
klaasvanbe

Thank you, CharlieSpencer_Palmetto, Note to self: Always check date created/updated before commenting.

cparker
cparker

I have found some groups have great conversations and others are drivel. To some extent it depends on who is managing it and how active they are in posting engaging topics for discussion. Some groups that have gone "open" just get people spamming to promote themselves all day long, but others, like Next Generation Market Research, have good, thought provoking - or at least entertaining - conversations

crcgraphix
crcgraphix

It's good for finding all sorts of business people and building relationships with them. Specifically in the sense that you can create a special plotted approach to connecting with them and others in your group or circle.

danekan
danekan

What exactly is the possible "security breach" with being on LinkedIn? All information that you post to LinkedIn is completely controllable by you, not only as far as what information you choose to post to your profile, but who can see it. You can also hide your current position from being displayed to anyone, or everyone. You can hide your past positions as well.

cyclo
cyclo

I actually found my new job as a BI solutions developer with a big 3 bank here in Toronto courtesy of LinkedIn. I congratulated a friend of mine when it was announced on LinkedIn that he got promoted/found a new job and he mentioned an opportunity if I was interested. My current manager and at least one other colleague of mine in my team are on LinkedIn. That being said, I don't write about the details of my job nor what I do at work in blogs, newsgroups, or internet forums.

seanferd
seanferd

Nor is their susceptibility to spear phishing.