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Why LinkedIn should be part of your job search strategy.

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Business confidence is on the increase and with it the expectation that unemployment figures will drop.  That’s got to be good news for job seekers and certainly those in the recruitment industry say that 2014 has started with an unexpected hiss and a roar.  However now is not the time to be complacent if you’re looking for a new job.  Michael Page's latest Employee Intentions Report indicates that 60% of employees intend to seek new and better paid jobs in 2014 so the job market will remain highly competitive and candidates will need to put their best foot forward to stand out from the pack.

With that in mind, creating a strong personal brand will be important for anyone considering new job opportunities this year and one way to let prospective employers know what differentiates you from your competitors is to have a well written and compelling LinkedIn profile.

 For those of you who don’t know, LinkedIn is primarily a business oriented social networking site.  Although not actually a job search website, LinkedIn is a great job search tool with many recruiters and hiring managers now using it to proactively search for candidates when recruiting rather than relying solely on job boards.  However it is still underutilised by job seekers who continue to search advertised vacancies to find their next position.  So if you’re not on LinkedIn or you are but your profile is incomplete, then you could be missing out on job opportunities.

If the fact that employers are using LinkedIn to find their ideal candidate is not compelling reason enough for you to create a profile then here are a few more.

LinkedIn profiles show up at the top of Google searches

If properly completed your LinkedIn profile will rank high in search engines on a search of your name.  This is important because Recruiters routinely Google candidates and you want to be sure that what they find is positive.  This is your opportunity to control what they discover and ensure you make a great impression.

Networking is the best job search strategy there is

With so many vacant positions not being advertised networking has always been an important strategy for the job seeker to tap into the hidden job market.  Using LinkedIn to connect with old friends and past colleagues or business associates is one of the key benefits of using the site.  Not only might they be able to recommend you for positions but they can also link you to new connections you may not have been able to otherwise easily connect to.  Having a strong network on LinkedIn is an important way of tapping into job opportunities that may not be advertised. Don’t be shy about connecting with people you know on LinkedIn – the more connected you are the more likely it is you will be found by those doing the hiring.

It’s a great research tool

A great strategy to undertake on LinkedIn when you’re job hunting is to follow those companies you are interested in working for as a means of researching them.  You may be able to find out additional information that isn’t on the company website.  You can also see who their current and former employees are and you may well find people you know that you could gather additional information from.  Not only that but you’ll be able to see where their employee’s came from and the career path they followed before they joined the company.  This could be useful to figure out what the company is looking for in new employees. If you’ve secured a job interview already then LinkedIn can also be a great way of finding out more about the person who will be conducting the job interview.   

LinkedIn has a Job Board

While LinkedIn is primarily a networking site it does also have an active job board.  The great thing about this is that when you see an advertised position you will also be able to see which of your connections (if any) knows the person hiring for the role and you may be able to get a referral.  You can also see which of your connections know people working at the company.  This could also be useful if you need an introduction or if you want to find out more about the company and what it’s like to work there.  You may even be able to get the inside story on what’s involved in the job.

You can stay up to date with industry news and information

There are a couple of ways you can keep up to date with information relevant to your industry or profession. The first is Pulse, LinkedIn’s new content resource where you can customise the news you want to see on your home page by industry and interests as well as by publishers.    The second way is by joining relevant LinkedIn groups.  There are all sorts of groups in there that will be relevant to your profession or industry and you can gain a great deal of knowledge by finding the right ones where people are posting interesting articles and actively engaging in discussions.  Joining relevant groups is also another way of connecting with key players in your industry that you may otherwise struggle to find.  There are lots of great resources for the job seeker too with several group dedicated to career and job search advice.

With 225 million users now officially using LinkedIn worldwide it’s really not something you can continue to ignore, particularly if you’re in the market for a new job.  It’s one of the best ways to communicate your personal brand to potential employers and to get noticed.

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Guest Friday, 24 January 2020

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