UPDATE !!! — For updated information on using LinkedIn for personal branding and executive job search, go to my 3-part series, starting here How to Use the New LinkedIn for Executive Personal Branding.
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No question that LinkedIn is THE place for executives to re-connect with co-workers and colleagues, connect with new faces (including recruiters and hiring decision makers), extend their brands and ROI value, find job-hunting advice and resources, and uncover leads and opportunities to land their next great gig.
Did you know that most recruiters and hiring authorities count LinkedIn as one of their best sources for top talent?
They even use special applications to search LinkedIn for people like you. If you’re not there, with a fully fleshed out profile, you may be invisible to them. See my post, Executive Job Search: How Recruiters and Employers Find Candidates on LinkedIn.
Here are the basics to leverage the best LinkedIn has to offer:
Brand Your LinkedIn Profile
Make sure your LinkedIn profile is branded, searchable, and 100% complete. For the specifics, download my free e-book, Executive Branding and Your LinkedIn Profile: How to TransformYour Executive Brand, Resume, and Career Biography Into a Winning LinkedIn Profile.
Monitor your profile views regularly. Keep an eye on who is viewing your profile and consider adjusting it if it’s not getting many views.
Stay current with events listings. Hiring professionals troll the events section to search for talent and to see who is attending certain industry events. They often make initial connections with candidates directly through the lists of events.
Control your privacy settings. Change the defaults if they’re not right for you. For instance, if you don’t want people to know that you’re viewing their profiles, change this setting to “Anonymous”.
Build Your Network
Unless it’s really important to you to have a huge number of connections, be selective about who you connect with. Choose quality over quantity. You should have some affinity with these people. The idea is to surround yourself with people you can help, and who will help you reach your career goals. More help in my post, How To Write a LinkedIn Invitation to Connect.
Make inroads positioning yourself in front of and connecting with key decision makers within your list of target companies.
You may be sitting on a lead right now that you haven’t leveraged. Make a list of everyone you know at work and in your personal life. See if they’re on LinkedIn and connect with them. If you’re not in a confidential search, let them know about your career plans and the companies you’re targeting.
Take advantage of LinkedIn’s Company Follow. See my post, Executive Job Search: Using LinkedIn’s Company Follow.
Update Your LinkedIn Network
Get yourself into a regular routine (say, once a week or a few times a month) of posting status updates to your profile. Your updates sit at the top of your profile, so will likely be one of the first things people see when reviewing your profile. Your LinkedIn network is notified of your updates, if you set this up in “Settings”, keeping you top of mind with them.
More in my post, Update Your LinkedIn Network.
Get and Give Great Recommendations
Get relevant recommendations from the right people. You want their recommendations to reinforce your brand and the value you offer. It’s okay to let them know what points you’d like them to mention in their recommendations. More in my post, How to Get the Best LinkedIn Recommendations.
Write recommendations for others. People looking at their recommendations usually view profiles of those who make recommendations.
Join and Get Busy on LinkedIn Groups
See what groups your connections and target list of decision makers belong to by looking at their profiles. Join if they’re open and start contributing. Position yourself as an industry thought leader and subject matter expert, while rubbing elbows and staying top of mind with your target decision makers. See my post, Power Your Executive Personal Brand with LinkedIn Groups.
Tap LinkedIn for Jobs and Company/Industry Research
LinkedIn has many exclusive job listings. Check out the “Jobs” tab in the main menu along the top of any page for links to job descriptions (through LinkedIn and/or Simply Hired) and application capability, along with links to the LinkedIn profiles of people who work at those companies.
Thousands of top companies have profiles on LinkedIn, providing a wealth of valuable information to gather market intelligence on your target companies for due diligence and interview preparation, and to identify the key hiring decision makers you need to position yourself in front of and connect with.
What you’ll find on the Companies pages:
- Current employees with links to their profiles
- Former employees with links to their profiles
- New hires with links to their profiles
- Recent promotions and changes with links to their profiles
- Popular profiles (most visitors) with links to their profiles
Smart-networking expert Liz Lynch suggested how to use all this company information in her post at the Personal Branding Blog, The Hidden Goldmine Within the LinkedIn Companies Tab:
“Current employees are invaluable resources for getting a handle on what is happening at the company now and the direction it’s going. Plus, they can be great allies for helping you get your resume to the right people and putting in a good word for you (if they know you, of course!).
New promotions and changes may be in the market to hire for new positions as they expand their department, replace existing under-performers, or fill their own prior position.
New hires can hint at where there may be growth opportunities within the company. Even if you can’t speak to them directly, you can get a sense if certain divisions have been on a hiring spree and target them first.
Recent departures might be more open to talking about the challenges the company is having, which managers might be great to work for and who might be a nightmare (good info to know before you accept a job, right?).”
Leverage LinkedIn Answers
You’ll find “Answers” in the main menu along the top of any page. Spend time here regularly, answering questions, offering advice, providing resources, and positioning yourself as a subject matter expert. Recruiters and hiring decision makers search Answers looking for industry thought leaders.
Add Some LinkedIn Applications
Don’t neglect the ever-growing list of LinkedIn applications. Here are 2 apps that I like and use:
The Company Buzz application helps keep you current with what people are saying about your current and past companies, by tracking Twitter activity associated with them, including tweets, historical data, and trends.
If you’re blogging (and you should be), use the WordPress or BlogLink app.
Stay Current with LinkedIn’s Latest Features
The LinkedIn Learning Center provides an overview, explains all the features, and offers various user guides. The LinkedIn blog is worth checking into from time to time for tips, advice, and resources.
And finally . . .
To be sure you haven’t missed anything, see my post, 29 Biggest LinkedIn Mistakes.