LinkedIn has been called "Facebook for grownups" and "the world's biggest networking group." It's both of those -- and more. Used correctly, LinkedIn can be one of the most valuable weapons in your job-search arsenal. To get the latest and best tips, I interviewed Rob Mendez, an expert on LinkedIn and other social media, who helps job hunters via his CareerNetworkMinistry.com web site. Here's what we talked about... "First, you have to figure out your target audience and your goal with LinkedIn," advises Mendez. "Use LinkedIn to network with as many people as possible, because it is not about who you know; it is about who other people know." He urges job seekers to make connections at companies they want to work for. "If you can't find someone to champion you at an employer, you may have a hard time competing." Another tip: Know that first impressions count for a lot on LinkedIn. "If someone searching LinkedIn and you pop up, they quickly see three things: your name, your picture, and your headline," says Mendez. Your name, photo, and headline should be compelling enough to cause someone to click through and view your profile. Otherwise, people will move on to someone else. How can you make these three items stand out effectively? For a start, your name can repel more people than it attracts, so play it safe there. "Some people include an e-mail address as part of their name, or numbers or special characters, in the hopes of being different. Yes, they stand out, but in an annoying way. LinkedIn is a professional network, so make sure your name looks professional," advises Mendez. What about your photo? Again, the more professional looking, the better. "It does not have to be taken at a studio. It should a headshot of you dressed up nicely. Not a body shot, not wearing sunglasses, not at the beach," says Mendez, who recalls one profile picture of a man in a hammock. "If I am looking to hire someone, do I really want him working for me, based on this picture?" What about the headline section of your profile? In a nutshell, make the most compelling claim or promise you can about yourself. "If I search LinkedIn for a realtor, for example, I can find a thousand of them. The results will include headlines like, 'realtor, realtor, realtor, real estate agent,' etc. Then, one profile has this headline 'I'll sell your house within 30 days guaranteed or I will buy it for cash, even if it is a bad economy.' That person just got my attention," says Mendez. Attention is everything online. No employer will click through and read your profile unless you first grab their eyeballs. Final LinkedIn tip: Use effective job titles on your profile. If you owned a small business, for example, don't refer to yourself as "Owner." Because, how many employers want to hire -- and butt heads with -- a former owner of something? Call yourself a General Manager or something similar. "I have talked to recruiters and they say it is perfectly fine to change your official job title," says Mendez. "For example, I was once a Technical Systems Manager. When people look at that title, it doesn't stand out and they don't know what it is. However, if I change it to, Post Sales Implementation Project Manager, now they understand." Now, go out and make your own luck on LinkedIn, remembering that your goal is always to turn online connections into offline meetings -- and job interviews. Your Takeaway Lesson: If you're not on LinkedIn, you don't exist to employers. And if you're not using LinkedIn correctly, you're missing out. To learn how some people are using LinkedIn to attract employers, get called to interview, and get hired, see the Guerilla LinkedIn Makeover! Kevin Donlin is a job search expert and a columnist at the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
LinkedIn has quickly become one of the largest and most accessible professional social networks out there, and because of this, it's imperative that everyone who wishes to maximize their career potential join LinkedIn, set up a profile, and begin networking. Of course, as with many other social networks, there are unwritten rules of etiquette that you must first figure out and then abide as you embark on your LinkedIn journey. Unfortunately, figuring out these rules and not making mistakes or breaking these rules is rather hard for those new to LinkedIn or even social networks in general. Below I've tried to list a handful of mistakes that many LinkedIn users make, and I've tried to incorporate solutions into each section. Please, if you know LinkedIn well, feel free to add to the information here in the comments section. And, as always, happy job hunting! The following are mistakes many LinkedIn users make and how you can avoid them:
1. Failing to Understand Social Networking ContextsThe biggest thing many LinkedIn users fail to understand is that LinkedIn is simply one of many social networks out there. No matter how professional you try to make your LinkedIn profile, the fact that a crazy Facebook profile or irreverent Twitter account under your name exists could significantly hurt your career chances. Do not ignore the other social networks you've joined, because recruiters, hiring managers, and others within the industry are looking at these other sites too! Solution: Google yourself constantly. Manage your entire online presence. Edit your Tweets, check your photos on Facebook, untag yourself from unpleasant photos and conversations, and watch what you post on whatever forums you've joined. Always assume that your LinkedIn account is merely a portal that a potential employer can enter in order to access your entire online persona. See more at 10 Ways to Sweep Your Digital Dirt Under the Carpet.
2. Lacking A Good Profile PhotoThis is relatively simple. I've seen so many people fail to upload a good profile photo. I can understand why people would wish to not upload a photo; however, lacking a photo can seriously hurt your chances of getting clicked. Think about a recruiter. He or she is browsing entries; is he or she more likely to click on a photo or a tiny bit of text in the search results page? An updated photo of yourself will assure the recruiter that you are, indeed, human after all, with all your quirks and faults. Solution: It's much easier for someone browsing search results to connect with a human face than a bit of text, so upload a photo as soon as possible! Further reading at How to Choose a Picture for Your Personal Brand.
3. Filling Out a Vague HeadlineHow many LinkedIn accounts have you seen with a bland headline beneath the profile? How many 'Project Managers' and 'Sales Executives' do you see in that headline? Boring, right? This is a big mistake because users see that the majority of LinkedIn accounts simply list a position title in this field, so they put in their own position because they think that's what it's for. Well, the more successful profile headlines are those that say something like "I offer my clients a quick and efficient means of incorporating various security systems into their databases." It doesn't have to be complicated. Instead, this statement actively states what you do while also giving your voice a chance to shine. Compare that to "Database Security Specialist" and you can see what I mean. Solution: Market yourself in one sentence. This one sentence should be active, include the word 'I,' and concisely state what you can do for a client or employer. Check out 10 LinkedIn Headline Examples from Recruiters.
4. Not Creating a Personal NarrativeFinally, you'll see many LinkedIn users stick with the traditional format as suggested by LinkedIn. They basically enter their resume into the form and publish it. Well, how many resumes have you read that you think are incredibly interesting? I'm going to guess you've read no interesting resumes, ever. We're human; we love to hear a story. So why not give others what they want to here: your professional story. Yes, of course, you can still enter your resume; however, you want to be careful in how much you pull from your resume, especially the language of the resume. Solution: You don't need to use resume-speak; instead, use longer sentences and active verbs that describe your story. Use the section in your profile that allows you to write a summary to tell your story, the story that isn't on your resume. That way users can see both aspects of your career resume and aspects of your slightly more personalized professional story. Related: 7 Pictures You Should Never Use on Your LinkedIn Profile. This guest contribution was submitted by Pamelia Brown, who specializes in writing about associates degree. She enjoys films by Sergei Eisenstein and drinking Carling lager.
Interviewing recruiters all day can provide you with plenty of anecdotes, as you can imagine. There are lots of benefits to meeting recruiters in person, not least, it's a fantastic way to analyse what the specific trends are in each market, which sectors are performing well versus those which aren't particularly. In addition to really getting that person's buy-in and trust.
Hunt the Hunter?I often get asked what's the best way to interview a recruiter? Interviewing an interviewer has its own challenges a.k.a hunting the hunter?!- so what is the most effective technique to use? In setting the tone, I believe in being fairly relaxed, I want to see how the recruiter behaves- this is how they will behave in a real work scenario rather than being guarded or hyped up for a formal interview. I want to get to know them, their personal situation, their stresses away from work which can obviously influence them in work! I ask a very open question at the start. "So, why recruitment?". It's deliberately ambiguous and enables me to really see broadly what someone is motivated by and what level of passion they have. I want to know how they win their clients, their candidates. What processes they use, the databases, job boards, techniques used to differentiate from their colleagues and competitors.
Get the evidenceQuantifying the achievements of a recruiter is essential as we could all say something which is fabricated to make ourselves sound better! So, with actual proof of billings in front of me, I get them to talk through not only WHAT they have achieved but HOW they actually did it. I get them to benchmark themselves versus others in the business. Am I talking to the top biller or the bottom of the leader boards?
So what makes you tick?Let's talk about motivators and reasons for being on the move. It's never just about cash, really. Why would someone just move for more money? So probe their reasons, always bring up the fact of counteroffer as if they are good, their current employer wont want them to leave! A recruiter is used to asking these questions on a daily basis themselves but it's so interesting to see how deeply they have thought about their actions/consequences until they are interviewed by me. It can be cathartic and I always suggest to candidates that they reflect on our interview before they meet one of my clients.
To call or not to call, that is the question!Ask them who DO you want to work for and who DON'T you want to work for. This not only gives you a potential target list to speak to (the Do's obviously!) but also provides you with proof of their commerciality and competitor knowledge. Finally, get commitment off them- ask them to call you the next day after they have researched the company/ies you have fully briefed them on. It's a key indicator whether someone follows up when they say they will.
Trust yourself.The key to a successful interview is probing, being honest, showing integrity and building trust. When advising clients, there are companies who use pyschometric testing, competency based questions and assessment days to establish the right fit. A lot of the time, as interviewers, we use our instinct and judgment. This should never be ignored as even if someone is ticking the right boxes on a test or saying the right thing on a role play, if your gut is telling you this person isn't right, then learn to listen and trust yourself. Related: How To Act When Headhunters Call You. LinkedIn.
As college seniors approach the end of the semester, they have a lot more to think about besides final exams and graduation parties. What they’re planning to do after college life is still a question left unanswered for many. For those soon-to-be graduates seeking employment, Beyond.com conducted a poll through February and March, asking college seniors how many jobs they have applied to so far. Faced with continued reports on the tough job market, the class of 2011 is clearly taking some initiative. Here’s what the results showed: • More than 33 percent reported they have already applied for over 40 jobs • Just about 21 percent of respondents have applied for somewhere between 10 and 20 jobs • Almost 20 percent have applied for 21 to 40 jobs • 17 percent have applied for less than 10 jobs • The smallest percentage, 8.5 percent, have applied for no jobs at all While the economy is looking much brighter for recent college graduates than it has the past couple years, it still takes that extra something to help young job seekers stand out among the other applicants. Here are some tips to help college graduates be at the top of their games and score entry-level jobs in their fields.