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Finding Jobs Using Networking Websites :Job Search sub-module 2 of 3

Social networking websites can play a key component in your job search. They allow potential employers to get a glimpse of who you are outside of your resume and cover letter, and they allow you to more efficiently keep in contact with your network and connect with other people in your field. The career-centred website LinkedIn is an important networking website. You can also connect with your network online using social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Tips

  • Complete the recommended sections on LinkedIn.Having profile elements such as a professional photo and your location makes your profile more likely to be viewed, and it encourages other professionals to connect with you.
  • Connect with the people you already know.Start building your LinkedIn network by adding your email contacts and searching for people you already know.
  • Personalize your LinkedIn invitations.When you invite someone to connect on LinkedIn, you should mention where you met. A personal touch increases the chance they will accept your request.
  • Get endorsements to increase your credibility.When others endorse your skills, it gives social credibility to your claims. Always write a personalized request when asking for endorsements .
  • Follow companies that interest you. You can find information, updates, and career postings from companies and see people who work there.
  • Join groups on LinkedIn.Groups are places for professionals in the same industry or with similar interests to share content, find answers, post and view jobs, make business contacts, and establish themselves as industry experts.

LinkedIn

About LinkedIn

The most common networking site for career purposes is LinkedIn - opens in a new window; it is the largest online professional network in the world. The fastest growing demographic on LinkedIn is students and recent graduates. On LinkedIn, you can access various professional networks, key decision-makers, recruiters, and learning opportunities that will help you in your search for meaningful work. You can also search for jobs that are being advertised and apply directly through the platform.

Creating Your LinkedIn Profile

Creating a LinkedIn - opens in a new window profile is essential to effectively self-market, generate connections, identify leads, grow your professional brand, and make a professional online impression. Complete all of the sections recommended by LinkedIn to increase your visibility and encourage other professionals to connect with you. 

Below are some strategies for creating a strong LinkedIn profile. Watch the Lynda.com course Learning LinkedIn for Students - opens in a new window to see an in depth demonstration of how to create your profile and implement these strategies.

Having a profile photo multiplies the number of views your profile gets by 14. When taking your headshot photo, do the following:

  • Ensure that the quality of the image is clear, you are in a well-lit space, and the background is not distracting.
  • Look directly at the camera and smile.
  • Avoid wearing accessories like hats or sunglasses that may hide your face.
  • Avoid using a cropped photo from a group picture.
  • Dress appropriately for your career goal.

Important: Keep your audience and the brand you are conveying in mind.

Setting your location and your industry will make it easier for recruiters in your field to find you if they are looking for someone in your area. Location is one of the top 5 fields that LinkedIn prioritizes when doing a keyword search.

By default, when you start your LinkedIn account you are given a public URL. This URL is what browsers use to find you on the internet out of the other 470 million LinkedIn members. You should customize your URL and then display it on your resume, business cards, email signature, etc. To do this, click on Edit public profile & URL (in the top right corner of your profile page).

Stand out and grab the attention of the reader by customizing your headline. Try not to use the automatically generated job title and company name or educational institution as your headline if possible. If you are still a student, specify what you are studying (e.g. Nursing Student instead of just Student). Briefly describe what you do, and what added benefits you can offer the reader. E.g. Technical Writing Student at Algonquin College dedicated to clear, concise communication.

A well-crafted summary is an opportunity for you to highlight your skills, experience, and career aspirations while showing your personality. Some things to do when you are writing your summary include:

  • Making your first two lines captivating, as this what will be seen at first glance.
  • Writing in first or third person, keeping in mind that first person is seen as more direct and intimate.
  • Incorporating industry key words in order to be more visible in recruiter searches.
  • Including information on your background, what you can offer, your professional goals, and a call to action.

Include descriptions that highlight your skills and abilities, and avoid repetition. Use the STAR technique (Situation, Task, Action Result— covered in the Resume and Cover Letter module) to develop this section and describe the results you achieved. Include details of your various accomplishments from your paid or unpaid part-time, full-time, or summer work experience. Listing in bullet points is often the preferred format.

List all of your post-secondary education. Once you have completed post-secondary, you would not need to list your high school education. Notable accomplishments, such as achieving a high GPA, and relevant courses can be included in the description to show that you are a high performing candidate.

The more skills you list, the better your chances for coming up as a top match for different roles. List five skills you have learned throughout your academic, volunteer, and work experiences.

You can add people to your LinkedIn network by inviting them to connect with you. Click Connect on their profile page or under their name in a list. Your network connections can include classmates, former employers (supervisors and managers), friends, and professors, and other people you interact with.

On LinkedIn, there are a few different ways that you can add new connections:

  • Adding your email contacts: Allow LinkedIn to connect with your email address, so that it shows you which of your email contacts are on LinkedIn.
  • Searching for specific people: You can search for people in the search bar at the top of the page.
  • Browsing suggestions: On your network page, you can see a list of "People you may know".
  • Using the LinkedIn alumni tool: Connect with alumni from your school. Search for your college, view the college profile, and click See alumni to get started.
  • Accepting invitations: When someone else invites you to connect, you can add them to your network by clicking Accept on their invitation.

You can see your list of contacts by clicking My Network at the top of the page. LinkedIn will display your number of connections up to 500+.

If you completed a project related to your field, highlight your project experience in the accomplishment sections. Describe the practical experience you gained so that readers can see how this translates into on-the-job skills. You can provide a relevant URL to the project and connect your team members who are also LinkedIn members.

Make your profile more visually appealing by adding photos, videos, or slideshow presentations. This gives a reader an opportunity to see examples of your work, similar to an online portfolio.

Using LinkedIn for your Job Search

LinkedIn - open in a new window is an effective tool to use for your job search. There are over 400 million users in 200 countries on LinkedIn. Ninety-four percent of recruiters use LinkedIn to do background research on candidates, and there are an estimated 90,000 Canadian job posting on LinkedIn.

Here are the steps to use LinkedIn effectively to find jobs.

Always send a personalized message when you are interested in connecting with someone. Use a different approach for people you have met than for those you haven’t:

  • If you met the person before, make sure you remind them of when and where you met.
  • If you have not met before, let them know why you want to connect.

Build your credibility by having your connections attest to what you can do. Ask your connections for endorsements and recommendations, and always offer to reciprocate. By having others endorse your skills and qualifications, you are seen as a more credible professional to your network. When making a request, do the following:

  • be polite
  • write a personalized request
  • provide ideas of what you would like them to write about
  • send a thank you note afterwards to show your appreciation

On LinkedIn, you can search and apply for job opportunities based on keyword, title, or location. here are some strategies to make that search more effective:

  • Save your search and access it later. New opportunities might appear that fit your search criteria.
  • See if you are connected with the hiring manager. If the hiring manager for a job posting is a 1st or 2nd degree connection, get in touch with them to show your interest in the role and find out more about the job and company. Use the knowledge gained from your connections to tailor your job application and make yourself stand out.
  • Set your career interests in the Jobs tab. This lets recruiters know you are open, so that recommendations will be more tailored to your goal.

Use LinkedIn to find professionals and track the career paths of employees before they started working at the company that you are interested in. This information might give you a better idea of what kind of experience or skills the company wants in a new hire.

Connect with Alumni from your program by narrowing your search by date and program. Explore where other graduates are working and what types of jobs they are in. Reach out to alumni to build your network.

Companies

Search for companies of interest to learn more about them and the people that they employ. Company pages give you an excellent overview of an organization, list job openings, and indicate products and services. The "Careers" tab allows you to see job postings and testimonials from current employees. Use the company pages to help prepare you for your next interview.

Follow companies to see updates about new jobs, products, or events in your news feed on your LinkedIn home page.

Groups

Joining groups allows you to share knowledge and learning with other professionals with similar areas of interest or expertise. Group members can message each other free of cost, without being connected (with the exception of certain privacy settings). When you have built rapport with group members by participating in discussions, you can invite them to connect on LinkedIn and grow your network.

Stay on your network’s radar by posting content and participating in discussions. Here are a few ways that you can participate on LinkedIn:

  • Updating your LinkedIn status often. Post status updates that are relevant to your target audience. You can talk about what you are reading, working on, and more.
  • Engage in conversations with your network about all kinds of different topics.
  • ontinue the conversation by replying to as many messages as possible.
  • React to other peoples posts; share and like regularly.
  • Create original content and publish articles on LinkedIn Publisher.
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Social Media

Even though they have a social focus, platforms such as Facebook - opens in a new window and Twitter - opens in a new windowcan play an important role in your job search. Social media allows you to update your contacts on your current employment status and exchange information on a regular basis. You can also follow organizations for their latest news. Employers can use social media to get a glimpse of who you are outside of your resume and cover letter.

Here are some resources to help you use social media for your job search.

Make sure that your online activity reflects well on you. Employers often google potential candidates as an informal way of pre-screening them. Here are some tips to help you manage your online image:

  • Set your social media account to private. Private accounts may still be visible to others if you are “tagged” in other user’s post.
  • Google yourself before you start your job search. If you can find information about yourself, employers can find it too, so delete any posts or tag that you don’t want seen.

For more information about smart social media use, visit the Social Media module of The Learning Portal.