Past Issues

May 06, 2013

How To Use LinkedIn To Find Your Next Job

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Using LinkedIn To Find Your Next Job

By Adrienne Erin, Freelance Writer and Social Media Specialist

If you're a veteran who has just returned home from active duty, you're likely wondering how to make the transition from military life to civilian life as smooth as possible. Utilizing social networks like LinkedIn to bridge the gap between your federal resume and online presence can help enhance your virtual footprint and guide the job search process.

We all know companies have long used background checks, Google searches, and even credit history reports to scan the lives of prospective employees. A New York Times story cites that 75% of recruiters in the United States are required by their companies to do online searches of candidates. But what we also know is that many companies are now shifting the focus from traditional job seeking to the social media background check, i.e., probing social media networks for everything a prospective employee has done or said in a particular period of time.

Given what we know, how can we use social media, arguably one of the most powerful networking tools to date, to find a job?

Create a fresh, up-to-date profile or update your existing profile

If you don't already have LinkedIn, be sure to sign up for an account. Use your profile to give yourself a professional presence. Because recruiters are using LinkedIn to find candidates at the same time you're using it to find a job be sure to fill out all sections, cite all relevant job experience, upload photos, and ask for personal recommendations. Your profile is the face of your personal brand, so allow recruiters to find you more easily in search results by filling it out completely!

Build Your Professional Network

Find corporate connections. These can be people you know, people you've served active duty with, or people with whom you'd like to network within the public sector. The more contacts you have, the more able you are to build relationships with potential recruiters or companies. You can easily add connections based off your past employers and education, or find them by doing an email address search.

Join LinkedIn Groups

Build your network potential by joining relevant groups on LinkedIn. For example, do a group search using keywords like "hiring veterans" or "veterans in transition" to connect with other veterans or individuals in your career field. Browse the message boards to see what current members are discussing, or contribute to a new discussion seeking advice or asking questions from like-minded individuals. Making these connections will help grow your personal brand and influence new opportunities.

Research Potential Companies and Connect With Decision Makers

Follow prospective companies on LinkedIn to receive their updates on your home page about the company and their current job opportunities. If one of your connections works there, review their profiles to see what skills and experience they possess and what position they hold. Don't forget to also check out the profiles of any company decision makers. Review their profile to see if you have anything in common (past service, similar branch, school, interests) and use it to your advantage. Introduce yourself with a personal message and request that the two of you connect because of your similar interests. This will help establish rapport and open the doors to a conversation about job opportunities.

Search And Apply For Jobs On LinkedIn

Beyond networking, LinkedIn can help you find current openings via the 'Jobs' tab, with thousands of job listings posted regularly from top companies. Enter a title, company, or keyword relative to the opportunity you're looking for. Don't ignore the 'Jobs you may be interested in' feature, as this matches you to potential opportunities based on the skills, interests, and experience you have. When you find jobs that interest you, reach out to the individual who posted the listing or apply with the information right from your profile.

Sign Up For The Job Seeker Badge

Have your profile stand out from the crowd with a job seeker badge, part of the Job Seeker Premium account on LinkedIn. With this premium tool, you are 50% more likely to be found in search results and twice as likely to be contacted by a recruiter or hiring manager. Additionally, it also includes the ability to contact anyone through InMail, access the full list of who has viewed your profile, and more.

Share Your Custom LinkedIn URL

Claim your custom LinkedIn URL in the 'Edit Profile' section and share this link on your resume, business cards, and other social networks to encourage potential employers to check out your profile.

Whether you're actively looking for a job or exploring new career opportunities after serving active military duty, LinkedIn is the right place to help jump start your career. As the recognized leader in managing your professional life on the web, LinkedIn is the glue that binds your online network and career advancement opportunities. Make the transition easier and influence your professional future starting today.

Good luck!

Adrienne Erin is an aspiring novelist and freelance writer specializing in social media. She's enjoys writing and blogging because it allows her to combine writing with any number of her other hobbies and interests. Adrienne is particularly interested in social media, travel, and personal growth. You can follow her on twitter: @adrienneerin

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