Although it is easy to believe that you have peaked in your career or that your true potential is out of reach, networking on the internet opens up more doors than any one person can shut. It may appear to be overwhelming at first but there are effective ways to put your best digital foot forward without getting stressed out. And you may have more say in your future than your socioeconomic status would indicate. Joining social, job-seeking websites can even the playing field pretty quickly when it comes to prospective job seekers. Whether you are employed or otherwise, situational perspective should be common ground among any single person who has access to the internet. We all have expectations for ourselves, no matter where we come from.
Let’s focus on LinkedIn. It is often overlooked as a valuable tool, often poorly utilized and too readily ignored by people who are looking for work or just a network of professionals.
LinkedIn user profiles are divided into two categories. Those who need a job and those who have a job. It really doesn’t matter anyway because that division would be a lot harder to define if you asked each one of them if they thought they deserved a better career. There would be plenty of hand raisers.
This is a remarkable time for anyone who feels let down by their work or believes that they are not utilizing their honest skill set. Achieving professional Nirvana isn’t a seemingly impossible notion anymore, in fact, it seems almost strange not to strive for it. But as easy as it is to strike a hot iron, it’s even easier to get bogged down by social media waste. The digital realm is a place where you want to become the outlier and not the norm. Let your online presence lift you up, through all the junk, and to the surface where everyone can see you.
You have to build a boat before you can float
When it comes to LinkedIn, take your time on your profile. This is a separate resume from the one you have 35 copies of stashed away in a dusty folder. It’s a living showcase of your professional background and it needs to be worded carefully and thoughtfully.
Keep your entries short and easy to read. Avoid the same hackneyed expressions you used on your paper resume like “established good relationships with…”. It becomes clutter. And showcasing your work ethic and diverse experience is far more effective than simply dragging on about it in your profile. Use fewer words and get to the point faster.
One of the most effective uses of your profile is to establish a healthy connection to motivated professionals within and outside of your desired or current industry. Build your network by searching for friends, family and co-workers and gain as many connections as possible. Use the recently added “People You May Know” feature to stretch your personal circles as far as possible. From there, write recommendations for the ones you respect, and then ask them all to reciprocate. This may be a good time for a quick note: Stick to accepting recommendations that are written and personal. The automatic endorsements are becoming so overused that it saturates your profile. So when you ask for recommendations, ask specifically for written ones that mention particular reasons why the other person has faith in your professional aspirations.
It’s not enough just to build a ship, you have to put up your sails
Here are a few simple tips to help you make connections and find jobs.
1. Employers spend thousands on programs and software that sift through potential applicants. Write a list of 3 to 5 keywords for your homepage and go back through your descriptions and add them in. Too many keywords will make your profile look inauthentic and make it harder for the right job to end up in your inbox.
2. Change your home location to the town or city you want to work in, rather than the one where you live. That way you will come up when employers search the area. (Fake it, until you become it.)
3. Join groups that are connected to your field or interests. Chat with other people who have common interests or have similar job requirements. Not only will you grow your network, you will increase your exposure to the specific field of your choice and get invited to networking events.
4. Buy the premium LinkedIn service. It’s worth it for the amount of views you will get and, in most cases, increase in the number of job offers.
Constant upkeep will prevent you from sinking back to the bottom
Care and maintenance for your LinkedIn profile is essential. And by that I mean logging on at least once a day to search for groups, make connections or to post an interesting update. Try to avoid posting long-winded statuses and remember that your posts should be relevant and helpful to others. This is not Facebook.
Another reason for logging on every day is to ensure that you do not ignore connection requests or potential job offers by accident.
It will also benefit you to search for new groups and connections at least once a week. Keep track of who you have been chatting with and keep that relationship going. This way you can stay top-of-mind for connections who may hear about job opportunities.
Keep in mind that if you post your resume on your profile by copy and pasting, it may not organize it correctly. It is simply best to fill in your work history manually so that it is displayed in a way that makes your worth in the industry clear and forthright.
Now, more than ever, is the best time to reach for the job you were not (or always, secretly) expecting. And do it constantly. Spend time on your profile every week and you will get noticed. LinkedIn makes it pretty easy because it does a lot of the work for you by prompting you for updates every time you log on.
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