Are you LinkedIn to your job search?

Tips to increase exposure to potential employers in your online job search.

This is the third article in a series related to job search and the use of technology. LinkedIn is the top social media site used by employers according to a recent 2014 National Association of Colleges and Employers survey. LinkedIn members are from hundreds of different industries and include thousands of hiring managers and recruiters. Furthermore, there are members from all 500 of the Fortune 500 companies on LinkedIn.

A LinkedIn account begins with developing a profile. Michigan State University Extension suggests to think of your profile as a virtual resume. First of all, your profile needs to be complete. Make sure to include a photo (preferably professional), the schools you have attended, subjects studied, your employment history, standard job titles, volunteer experience, languages you speak, etc. LinkedIn states, “Profile completeness not only helps you show up in more searches, but also improves how you are matched in our system.”

Many employers search for potential candidates based on keywords. When you find jobs you are interested in and qualified for, identify what keywords employers are using in their job descriptions/postings and create a list. Incorporate these words into your profile when they reflect your capabilities and experience. It is fine to repeat keywords more than once to stress your knowledge or proficiency in that area.

Another way employers search for candidates is by job titles. You want to use a standardized job title in LinkedIn and on your resume. The job title given to you by your employer may be misleading, creative or even ambiguous. For instance, a colleague of mine has a union title of computer maintenance clerk. Her primary job responsibilities include administrative, accounting and marketing. She does not maintain computers at all. Depending on the type of work she is seeking, she could use administrative assistant, account clerk or marketing assistant as her job title.

Highlight the skills you have and add them to your profile. It is good to list your technical and soft skills. According to LinkedIn, “Skills are among the most common queries performed by recruiters and hiring managers.” One unique feature of LinkedIn is your “1st degree” connections can endorse your skills listed on your profile, giving them more credibility while also improving your personal brand online.

Most importantly, make connections and develop your professional network. Connections can improve your ranking in searches, provide job leads, make recommendations, endorse your skills and give support.

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