April 2013 Meeting Discussion: Leveraging LinkedIn to Get Yourself Noticed

Presented by Andrew Davis, and reviewed by Brenda Gilreath

Anyone looking for work these days has surely heard of LinkedIn. But few know how to optimize its power. Andrew Davis, a recruiter at Content Rules, showed attendees at the April San Francisco STC meeting how to improve their professional presence on LinkedIn and get results.

“LinkedIn is the first place employers go to check out candidates,” Davis said.

First off, you need to build a complete LinkedIn profile, which includes your current job and two previous jobs, education, a profile summary, a profile picture, specialties, and at least three recommendations.

“Your profile should answer who, where, and what you are after,” he added.

Next, make sure you use keywords and describe your work experience in your summary section. This area is searched by the database search engine. Keys words in the job function descriptions are not searched.

“Let’s not forget LinkedIn is a searchable database,” he said. “Areas searched include: professional header, job titles, summary and industries. You have to integrate skills into your summary.”

Third, recommendations count a lot. Endorsements for skills, do not.

“Writing a recommendation for someone drastically boosts your profile ranking,” Davis said. “It also makes it more likely that they will write a recommendation for you.”

Fourth, make sure employers can reach you.

“You have to make your contact information available,” he said. “If you don’t connect to an online portfolio, that’s a second strike.”

Fifth, make connections. He recommended aiming to make at least 200 connections.

“It’s like six degrees of separation,” he said. “A network of 200 connections is in total 6 million connections. It’s good to connect with well-connected people.”

Sixth, join Groups and follow Companies.

“Join groups that are relevant to you,” he said. “You can also invite group members to connect. Companies pay to post jobs on LinkedIn, you will see the jobs that companies you follow post. Follow companies in targeted industries. They can push articles and jobs listings out to you.”

Consider upgrading to a Job Seeker account. This allows you to use InMail to contact persons who are not in your network, such as job posters.

Also explore LinkedIn applications, such as box.net, where you can post writing samples that are password protected. Or Slideshare for posting presentations, and WordPress for authoring a blog.

Other tips:

  • If someone has viewed your profile, you can invite him/her to connect without actually having any other connection with the person. Best way to have someone look at your profile is to look at theirs.
  • A professional headline is very important. Make sure you make it relevant.
  • Should you decline a person’s request to connect, it hurts the requestor’s search ranking.
  • You can modify your settings to limit who can see your profile. Go to Profile, Edit Profile, Edit Contact Info, and click Edit again.
  • If you see a job you really want–optimize your profile to list relevant work experience in your summary.
  • Choose a region instead of a city for your location. Recruiters may rule you out for work they think is too far from where you are located.
  • Don’t hide your contact information.
  • When you invite someone to connect, personalize it.
  • You can use LinkedIn as a rolodex. You can export your contacts out to gmail.

Davis has also authored an article about optimizing your resume as a content developer. See it here: http://bit.ly/jeW5YE.

To see his list of current job opportunities, click here: www.contentrules.com/jobs.

Brenda is an experienced technical writer and former print journalist. She is currently working as a technical writer at a biotechnology company.

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