More and more employers are using LinkedIn to find job candidates. I'll be offering some tips on how to best use LinkedIn to get yourself out there in front of recruiters. First, we'll tackle the Profile. Your LinkedIn profile is basically an online resume. Here are the Profile elements you should be paying attention to:
- Heading: This should be a short, memorable way to state who you are in a professional context. Akin to the objective statement on a resume, your heading should be something like VMware Expert.
- Education: Include schools you've attended, your GPA, tech certificates, etc.
- Professional summary statement: Think of this as a condensed version of your cover letter. For readability, feel free to use bulleted points.
- Specialties section: Include IT-specific key words and phrases so if a recruiter or hiring manager types them into a search engine, he'll be able to find you.
- Status update: It's a good idea to do this weekly, mentioning any projects you're working on or trade events you've attended.
- Badges: Join groups and display the badges. Don't go crazy here — post badges of groups that are pertinent to your job area, like Cisco Professionals or Content Management Professionals.
- Recommendations: It's one thing to say that you were a great employee at a past company, and it's quite another to offer up a recommendation from someone who actually worked with you. Third-party recommendations carry a lot of weight with recruiters.
- Claim your unique LinkedIn url: This increases the professional results that appear when people type your name into a search engine. Just set your LinkedIn profile to "public" and claim a unique URL for your profile (as in: www.linkedin.com/in/yourname).
- Share the fruits of your labor: Add examples of blogs you've written for professional societies or tech web sites by displaying urls.
- Make your resume available: LinkedIn offers a free application for uploading your resume: box.net. You can also use LinkedIn to create a pdf of your resume. Here's how.
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.