LinkedIn – A useful tool to secure a dream job, or a waste of time?

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Linkedin has become for many jobseekers a complete waste of time. However, it is still a useful tool if used correctly. In this article, I outline the key myths about LinkedIn and how these myths are hindering your success, as well as outline some key strategies that you can use on LinkedIn, that can potentially turn LinkedIn into a useful tool to secure your dream job.

Myth One – Linked is a networking site

LinkedIn started out as a networking tool, but the reality is once you pass 150 connections, it is not a viable option for networking. LinkedIn is more like an online professional directory and the majority of connections you make via LinkedIn, will not progress your career (and simply don’t care one iota about you).

Myth Two –LinkedIn is about YOU

If you think your LinkedIn profile is about YOU, you need to start thinking about profile in a whole new light.  NO a LinkedIn profile is not about YOU, it is about what YOU can offer THEM! That is the employer, recruiter, hiring manager, or client.

Once you understand this vital principle, then you can start creating a profile that meets the needs of the audience.

Myth Three – Your LinkedIn profile MUST include everything you have done

Your LinkedIn profile, like your resume is NOT a confessional and you don’t need to include everything that you have done.  In particular if the information might be detrimental to you.  However add as many past positions that add to your profile, so you can maximise the most out of networking linking.

Myth Four – If you have a LinkedIn Profile, recruiters and hiring managers will flock to find you

The majority of people using LinkedIn have poor results.  Creating a profile, even an optimised profile, won’t work, unless you use LinkedIn correctly. The reality about your LinkedIn profile is that people won’t be knocking on your door, excited to meet you.  (In fact they probably won’t even be able to find you on LinkedIn).

Myth Five – When you secure a connection with a stranger on LinkedIn, you are now buddies

No matter how confident you are about your connection (unless they are genuine friends, or close colleagues), don’t send any form of solicitation asking for help, or a job. Using this option on LinkedIn is career suicide.  Seriously people don’t care and you will be seen as ‘spam’.

Headhunters and recruiters steer a wide birth from LinkedIn candidates that approach them out the blue with a random, poorly planned message, begging for a job, or asking for an opportunity.

Have you been approached by someone asking for a connection – then as soon as you accept they ask you to attend a seminar, networking event, in spite of them being a complete stranger?  This is how you come across if you spam recruiters and headhunters with unsolicited emails asking for a job or assistance.

So now that you understand LinkedIn is not a networking site, recruiters and hiring managers won’t necessarily flock to find you and a connection does not give you the right to spam people, how do you use LinkedIn?

Use LinkedIn as a research tool

LinkedIn is a great tool in which to undertake research on a company you are interested in working for, but don’t have contacts in.  For example:  Perform a key word search such as ‘NAB’, or HR professionals with NAB, Accountant NAB.

Once you have a list of key professionals at NAB, who represent HR and or Accountant, you can use the information for the following purposes.

  • Click on the relevant names and learn more about the person as to what LinkedIn group membership groups are held.  You can use this information to join those Groups and start networking with those contacts.
  • Find LinkedIn connections (that you know well) that are connected to your target, so you can ask for an introduction
  • Identify an individual to contact through TRADITIONAL networking. That is right, go offline hang out with people who are connected to NAB and get to know them well enough, so they’re happy to refer and recommend you to someone within the organisation that can help.

You can also use LinkedIn to target companies you want to work for by following them.  This will keep you up to date on relevant information like product launches, contract wins.  Having this knowledge will help you reach out to a hiring manager or network, as a point of reference and the identification of an opportunity (the hidden job market).

As you can see with this method, it does not involve just hanging out online and spamming people with InMails and requests.

Stay active on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is not a simple case of completing your profile and forgetting about it for months on end (although this is in reality what happens with 75% of users).  Recruiters and hiring managers can be active on LinkedIn and one way to ensure they notice you – is to share industry based information, such as relevant articles to your network. In fact, you are almost 10X more likely to be contacted by a recruiter for new opportunities than people who don’t make offerings.

Optimise and complete your Profile

For a LinkedIn profile to really work, you need to optimise it with key words, set the right location, upload an appropriate photograph, insert an effective summary, insert relevant content outlining your relevant experience/work history, make sure your profile is complete (super important), leverage accomplishments and have sufficient connections, so you can be found.

Since the bulk of jobseekers don’t do this, they don’t get the anticipated results. When you join My Career Groove, we share with you the exact steps you need to take to dramatically improve your LinkedIn profile.  

LinkedIn is a useful tool if used correctly. However it can be time consuming and it is not the answer to all of your job search woes.  If you take nothing else from this article, don’t spam contacts!  Solicitations to people who you don’t really know is not an effective job-hunting tool and will damage your reputation, not enhance it.

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