Using LinkedIn in Your Job Search
The first question that you must answer is: are you trying to find a job or are you trying to be found? Put another way are you pursuing an opportunity or do you want the opportunity pursuing you.
There is a huge difference in the success you will achieve if others are pursuing you. If you are being pursued it means that you have created a brand, that people know you by what you have done and are capable of doing. You are recognized for the value that you offer. Is this important? Absolutely, you want to be in the driver’s seat!
So You Want To Be Found
Obviously you are in a much stronger bargaining position if the employer has done the search and is now pursuing you. To me, this is the situation I prefer.
Wanting to be found, however, requires that you have the right mindset. You must not only feel that you are worthy of being sought after, but you must believe that you deserve to be sought after. You must also have the experience to back it up.
To be the object of the search a person must have a very strong profile. You must understand the skills and abilities that you possess. These aren’t the ones that you think you possess, but the ones that others believe you possess.
Descriptors Others Attribute to You
Developing this list requires you contact former co-workers, managers, customers, subordinates, vendors, and others with whom you have interacted and ask them for an honest assessment of your skills and abilities. Ideally they will include examples of situations where you displayed the skills and abilities that they identify. Assemble the list and look for the recurring theme in the lists. Obviously the more lists that you have the better picture you can develop.
Next research advertised jobs based upon the skills and abilities that you have compiled from the above exercise. Find out what job titles are associated and what additional skills are desired. Check your lists and see how the assessments you received can compliment these additional desired skills.
Use the Google SEO tool to find out the frequency the skills on your list are used as search criteria and factor that into your choices.
Develop Your List of Keywords
Once you have completed these tasks build your profile to include these keywords. Seed these words, as appropriate, in your prior work experience, your professional headline, your summary, and your interests. Ask the people that provided you with your skills inventory to write recommendations that include these words as well.
To get the best attention, not necessarily the most attention, you want to be very focused in your process. Employers like to know what they are getting and where they will be able to use your talents. There is nothing more frustrating to an employer than to have someone say “I will do anything”; most businesses do not have “anything” jobs.
If you are pursuing the job and doing the looking you still want to have a detailed understanding of what skills and abilities people attribute to you. Build your profile around those skills and abilities. Again do the Google search to see which skills or abilities were desired by the most prospective employers.
Your resume must showcase these same talents; consistency is important. Do not make your resume a duplicate of your profile; instead your profile is your opportunity to expand on the resume and tell more details of your story. It is critical that resumes and on-line profiles tell your story. People like reading stories; they don’t want to simply have a bunch of facts shoved at them. Ideally they want the story that bears out the facts.
Use LinkedIn to search for the key skills and abilities that you possess to see who and what job titles were unearthed. Continue doing searches on the key skills and abilities, but also do searches on the job titles that you uncover.
Study the profiles of the individuals that you find with positions that had appeal to you and assess those profiles compared to yours to see how you could improve.
We are never perfect; we can always improve; but we don’t want that improvement process to cloud our true objective of getting a job.