How Can I Get the Job? Be Strategic on LinkedIn
This guest post is by Sam George, intern at Cision.
LinkedIn has become a must. Not only do you need it, you have to refine and perfect your profile if you want to compete. After speaking with several recruitment agencies and officers – internal and external – LinkedIn’s standing has become blindingly apparent: It is the first (and in many cases only) point of call for recruiters.
A comprehensive search and filtering is the primary assault, with close to 190 million users, rarely will recruiters need another avenue to find candidates. I spoke with Nick Wilcox – a Cision recruiter – who says he now looks only at LinkedIn to find new employees, and explained his tactic is becoming customary across the board.
As I sat there with Nick, he showed me a quick example of the process. He started by typing in ‘PR,’ ‘Public Relations,’ ‘Social.’ Turning out well over 2000 profiles, he then refined it a step further, typing in ‘Marketing,’ ‘Executive,’ ‘Communications.’ This cut it down to 800 profiles. With another keyword, it was down to 200. Then he started looking at the top few profiles (ignoring the ones without pictures). This highlighted for me the ruthlessness of selection. Instead of people flicking through tangible resumes, the site now searches for the terms, and if they are not there, you’re out.
But say you do manage to make it through the systems cut, and you’re one of the profiles that gets a look. How do you become a genuine person of interest? What is it that recruiters are looking for in your profile, before they reach out to connect with you?
Back in December, LinkedIn released the top 10 most popular professional buzzwords for 2012. This shed some light on massively overused words. The number one spot went to ‘creative,’ followed by words like ‘organizational,’ ‘motivated’ and ‘responsible.’ There are two schools of thought with keywords: Making the cut and getting the offer; you need both. In order to make the cut exampled above, creating a keyword-heavy profile is beneficial. Using words that support the work you want to be doing is a great way for you to continue coming up in search results. That is the easy part. You then need to stand out to the recruiter, not the system.
Actions speak louder than words – Focus on showing employers what you have done and are capable of, not just telling them. Use the keyword, then, describe how you show it to get the attention of search and of the recruiter. Having said this…
Avoid generalities – Words like ‘organized,’ ‘motivated,’ and ‘responsible’ fall in this category. Employers are going to assume that these are attributes you already possess. To identify them, ask yourself if you would ever be the opposite of that word – ‘unorganized,’ ‘unmotivated’ or irresponsible.
Show your experience and diversity – Diversity as a graduate is great. If you have just come out of university, or are a year or two into employment, and you have a varied employment history, work with it. You are much more appealing to employers. However, don’t keep this habit for too long, you don’t want to still be hopping around jobs every 6-12 months when you’re well into your career.
Demonstrate skills and get endorsed – Request ‘endorsements’ from people. Try not to just ask randomly, but tell them what you want it for. “Do you mind endorsing me for that social media strategy we put together?” Also ask for relevant recommendations. The more endorsements and quality recommendations you have, the better.
Stay active and keep connecting – Be active on LinkedIn. It is the most valid, beneficial and open networking site for connecting through first, second and third generation relationships. People want to connect; you just have to give them a reason. Offer assistance, post articles that interest you, join alumni groups, and company pages you are interested in – especially if it’s a job you’re applying for. Everyone is on there for the same reason, to build professional relationships.
Want to learn more about LinkedIn and how to harness it to enhance or drive your PR or marketing efforts? Join Cision’s social media manager Lisa Larranaga and Ragan Communications’ social media director Samantha Hosenkamp in a free 30 minute webinar at 1 p.m. CT Thursday. Register here!
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