LinkedIn for Career Search
LinkedIn for Career Search

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How to Use LinkedIn for Your Career Search

You’ve just about completed your career training and someone—a really smart someone—told you that you should get on LinkedIn to find that first job in your new career. But just getting on the site and slapping together a quick profile isn’t the way to put your best foot forward. You need to use LinkedIn the right way, creating an effective profile and consistently checking in to access your expanding connections and job notifications.

Here’s how to use LinkedIn for your career search:

Create an awesome profile. The very first step in your search is making sure that when companies discover you, they’ll like what they see. Your name, headline and photo are the only clues a hiring manager has at first glance so make them count. Use a professional looking photo along with a keyword headline. If you’re looking for a position in business administration, include that exact phrase. Just be aware, you only have 120 characters to get your point across.

Next is the summary (in 2000 characters or less) that tells your future employer why they should hire you. What’s the most important information you need them to know? This is your chance to rise above the competition. Tell them about your unique skills, training and accomplishments. Give a hint at some of your passions. Tell them why you’ve chosen the career path you have and how you’re going to excel at it. Talk about the kinds of skills you possess that employers look for, like being a team player and a self-initiator.

Your “Experience” on LinkedIn is your online resume. Use it to highlight the positions you’ve held and responsibilities you’ve had. Be sure to promote times you had leadership roles or jobs that might have transferable skills to your new career. For example, if you worked in food service and now you’re starting a career as a medical assistant, those people skills you mastered waiting tables are transferrable to a bedside manner.

Get connected. Once you have a profile you’re proud of, it’s time to find some connections. Reach out to peers and professionals you already know, but don’t be afraid to go even further. Ask your connections for their connections. Does someone you know on LinkedIn have a friend in your field? Request an introduction. Connect with groups that are relevant to your industry and companies you’d like to work for. Choose to receive job notifications that would be a good match to your skills. And follow, like and share content from the important people in your industry.

Stay connected.   The important thing to remember is that LinkedIn only works if you’re on it. That means a quick check-in every day to see what’s happening. Take some time to see if there are more people to connect with or companies that are hiring. Update your experience as you expand your skillset, add certifications, gain experience. Refresh your summary, add a background photo. Ask yourself every week: how could I make this great profile even better.

If you’re looking for a career, check out the career-focused training offered at Charter College. We have programs in aviation, business, healthcare, hospitality, information technology, paralegal studies, veterinary assistant and the trades. And our Career Services staff is trained to show you how to build a professional portfolio and effectively navigate your job search.