Thursday, February 25, 2010

Job Seekers - 20 Ways To Brand Yourself On Linkedin

Hiring managers, recruiters and HR departments use more than just your resume to find and learn about candidates. That's good news for candidates who have additional ways to market themselves, and ways to differentiate from their competition.


Companies often look first to Linkedin when going beyond a candidate's resume, and often search Linkedin for candidates.


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Facebook may be much larger in size, but Linkedin is a business focused social network, plus it doesn't have all the games and valentines day cards on a personal Facebook profile. If you’re a candidate, you want to be searched for and want to be found - Google indexes Linkedin profiles.

If an employer, HR staff, or recruiter Googles a job seeker by name, your Linkedin profile will turn up in the results. Job seekers should assume that they will be searched online by recruiters, before an interview is scheduled, when making short list decisions, and before a final offer is extended. In addition, recruiters and HR departments are not just searching to find dirt, but are using Linkedin and Google more frequently to find new candidates.


Employers, HR and recruiters are using Google more often to search for candidates, as evidenced by the exploding number of seminars and webinars teaching employers, HR staff, and recruiters how to use Google to source candidates. There is a whole cottage industry that trains recruiters how to use Google, Linkedin, and Facebook to find candidates, especially passive candidates. Many of these webinars state that one of the reasons Google candidate search is expanding is because of the cost - it's free.

The greater number of Linkedin Network contacts you have, the more relevant your profile is to Google, and higher your profile will rank on Google results. You can also increase your Google rankings by participating in many of Linkedin's additional functional areas. Basically, the more you use Linkedin, the higher your profile will rank in search results.

Here’s some steps of developing a well planned Linkedin profile to brand yourself as a candidate:

    Scrub your profile:
  1. Linkedin Inventory: While you're not likely to have the same risks with Linkedin as you might with Facebook, you still want to assume that anyone can see everything on your profile. Because Linkedin doesn't have the personal information or pictures that are so much a part of Facebook, Linkedin also doesn't have the fine tuned privacy controls that Facebook features.
  2. Passive Candidate issues: This is most critical for passive candidates - if your profile states that you are looking for a job on your Linkedin profile, you should be prepared that your company (and your boss) will see it. So instead of using Linkedin as an advertisement for your search, use it as an advertisement for your subject matter expertise. You can talk about being an expert in specific issues without screaming "Hire Me".
  3. Career Change Issues: Linkedin can be tricky for candidates seeking to change careers, because you can only have one profile. This becomes challenging for passive candidates. If you are currently working as a programmer, you might run into unintended questions if your boss finds you in a search for business analysts. Linkedin is also challenging for active candidates who hedge their bets in their old industry or function while also looking for a new industry and function. If you are a mortgage broker, who is also looking to get into software sales, you'll have to be careful that you don't confuse readers with a Linkedin profile attempting to grab both audiences.
  4. Messaging Control: At the top of your Linkedin home page (on your profile), there is a Network Update box (similar to Facebook's status box). Just under your network update box, there is also a Twitter icon, with a drop down arrow, allowing you distribution control over network updates. You can customize to only post on your Linkedin profile, or also to publish to Twitter, broadcasting your network update to a larger audience. As a bonus, since Google now indexes Twitter posts, your network update can increase your Google rankings and temporarily score you a 1st page ranking on Google (based on the specific keywords in your post). Make sure you consider additional issues here - Twitter accounts can be set up to forward posts automatically to Facebook, Friendfeed, and other services, including the new Google Buzz. If you are going to forward to other services, just make sure you know where these posts are going and who might see them - especially relevant for passive candidates.


  5. Build your professional profile:
  6. Summarize: Use your profile to build your Social Brand and subject matter expertise (see: http://recareered.blogspot.com/2009/12/why-use-social-branding.html). Linkedin allows you to rearrange whole sections of your profile, so new grads can put education first, while senior professionals and managers can put experience sections first (see: http://recareered.blogspot.com/2010/02/more-control-for-job-seekers-over-their.html). Your Linkedin profile will be read much like your resume, so using resume real estate effectively is critical in building your Linkedin profile (see: http://recareered.blogspot.com/2010/02/10-ways-to-manage-your-resume-real.html).
    • Active Candidates: make sure your profile's professional headline (just under your name) indicates you are looking for a job. This lets your friends know, without being a glommer (see: http://recareered.blogspot.com/2010/02/how-job-seekers-can-destroy-networking.html). Additionally, your long lost work and college friends may stumble upon you and happen to work at a company that needs a person like you. Finally, it's easier for a recruiter or HR rep to find you when you list you're actively looking in your headline. Linkedin can help this “luck” happen (see: http://recareered.blogspot.com/2010/02/5-ways-to-get-lucky-in-your-job-search.html).
    • Passive Candidates: Unless you want your boss to find out that you’re looking for a new job, don’t advertise it actively on Linkedin. Instead use Linkedin to broadcast your expertise.
  7. Personal portfolio: You can use Linkedin's applications to post documents to Linkedin, or can use the Websites section (in your profile) to post links to 3 sites. You can use these website links to promote a professional profile (see: http://recareered.blogspot.com/2008/06/how-online-portfolios-put-you-at-top-of.html) or resublog (see below). You can use your Network updates to promote your professional profile and resublog. Active candidates can post their resume, work samples, and powerpoint presentations using applications including Box.net, Huddle Workspaces, and Google Presentation.
  8. Links: You can build links into the text of your profile. Make sure to include the "http://" before the website name, and Linkedin will treat as a clickable link. You can store documents or presentations on Box.net or Google documents, and list the links in your Linkedin profile.


  9. Build your Linkedin network:
  10. Expand your network: Consider how you want to expand your network. While your close network of 50-75 closest friends and associates will fall on swords for you, their reach is limited. Expanding too broadly may not be the right answer for you either, so consider expanding your network targeted to your industry and geography (see: http://recareered.blogspot.com/2009/12/now-that-im-linked-who-do-i-link-to.html).
  11. Build your 3rd level: One of the great powers of Linkedin is that you connect not just with your friends, but their friends, and their friends' friends - 3 degrees of separation. This is how I'm connected directly to over 17K contacts, but have a Linkedin network totaling over 22M. Since you probably don't need a network as large as this, you'll want to get the furthest reach for your networking time. Hubs and industry recruiters can help you expand your 3rd level Linkedin network dramatically. (see: http://recareered.blogspot.com/2008/04/whats-all-hubbub-about-hubs-linkedin.html).
  12. Join Groups: Linkedin allows you to join up to 50 groups. There are a large number of industry, business, alumni, and job search groups that can have relevant information and industry contacts valuable in your job search (see this article on Facebook groups - you can apply the same concepts to Linkedin: http://recareered.blogspot.com/2008/03/facebook-strategies-1-power-of-facebook.html). The groups you join can be seen publicly on your profile, or you can hide your membership (if you are a passive candidate, and would rather you boss not see you're a member of a job search group).
  13. Integrate other networks: As you meet people at networking events, invite them to your Linkedin network. When you get Facebook or Twitter requests, also invite them to Linkedin (and vice-versa). You’ll find different people in someone’s Linkedin network than in their Facebook network, allowing you to expand your networking reach.
  14. Research target companies: Find people who work for your target companies by searching Linkedin and through Linkedin Company Pages (see: http://recareered.blogspot.com/2009/11/can-linkedin-company-pages-help-you.html), Linkedin company/corporate alumni groups, and Linkedin industry groups (see: http://recareered.blogspot.com/2008/05/4-killer-ways-to-use-research.html). Some people on Linkedin won't accept network requests from those they don't know. You might use Linkedin just to get a name and do research to get that person's email address. Then start sending industry related articles, or something related to their personal interests (which you learned from their Linkedin profile). This rapport building can help start a conversation or email trail to build relationships that lead to links. Other ideas on using Linkedin for research can be adapted from an article I published on using Twitter for research before an interview (see: http://recareered.blogspot.com/2010/01/use-twitter-to-prepare-for-your-job.html).
  15. Connect with your network: Linkedin is also a communications tool. Connecting with your expanded friend network either through Linkedin or outside of Linkedin (phone or email). Linkedin can be a great way to start guerrilla job search methods to gain inside information on a company (see: http://recareered.blogspot.com/2009/11/guerrilla-job-search-tactics.html).


  16. Build and promote your expertise:
  17. Use the Network Update as a megaphone: Use Linkedin’s network update to share industry articles, articles you wrote, your thoughts on industry developments, or even your resume (active job seekers) with your Linkedin network. The Network update gets your information into your contact's home pages, and allowing more people to notice it. You can automatically rebroadcast your network updates to Twitter (see: http://recareered.blogspot.com/2009/11/how-can-linkedins-new-features-help-job.html) so you can get double the reach.
  18. Use Linkedin Answers: Start by answering questions relating to your industry expertise. You can take an RSS feed of specific industry question sections, so you can quickly see what has been asked. The first people who answer and more active people in answering can quickly gain recognition of subject matter expertise. Since the questioner can award "best answer" status, you can build your brand through effective answering and offering great information. You can also ask questions designed to identify industries or target companies with problems that you are an expert at solving - this can help you build target company and contact lists.
  19. ResuBlog: Build a starter ResuBlog (see: http://recareered.blogspot.com/2008/05/you-dont-have-to-be-shakespeare-to.html), using material you have written, or republish others' material. Using Linkedin build readership, and build upon the subject matter expertise that you're starting with your ResuBlog.


  20. For those who aren't comfortable with social networks:
  21. Linkedin is a time waster: It can be, if you let it be. Carve out a specific amount of time each day, but don't make it your entire focus.
  22. Linkedin is only for recruiters and other job seekers: There is a large segment of Linkedin who are recruiters, and I recommend Linkedin for anyone looking for a new job. There are far more people who are on Linkedin as part of their daily business routine, using it to connect to others for industry advice, sales connections, as well as to build their own professional networks.


  23. Linkedin isn’t a silver bullet:
  24. What Linkedin won’t do: Linkedin won’t find you a job - only you can find yourself a job. Linkedin can broaden your network, your exposure, your visability, and your subject matter expertise, but you still have to find yourself a job.
  25. Linkedin isn’t the only answer: I recommend using Linkedin as just one tool in your arsenal of job search tools. These strategies take an investment of time - I recommend carving out a specific amount of time to work on Linkedin each day. It will take some time to see results, so don’t expect to do it all in a day - but making Linkedin a part of your overall job search strategy can pay big dividends.

While Linkedin can be an investment of time, it can help job seekers control and promote their personal brand very effectively, to a wide audience. Best yet, a well designed Linkedin profile can get your information into the databases of hundreds of thousands of recruiters and HR staff, increasing your chances to “get lucky”.

Readers, please comment with your suggestions. How can you use Linkedin to build your own personal brand?

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Join Career Change Central on Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/e/gis/1800872

Related Articles:
Build a LinkedIN Profile That You Can be Proud Of!
The Best Job Search Tools on LinkedIN

Email your request to phil.reCareered@gmail.com to enroll in a free group teleseminar "Accelerate Your Job Search - tools you can use".

Source: http://reCareered.blogspot.com

5 comments:

Susan Ireland said...

Phil,
This is one of the best blog posts I read about using LinkedIn for job search. Thank you!

atandemtextbook said...

Thanks Phil! I will be sharing this with all my "transitional others"...job seekers, that is.

CalCommunicator said...

Phil, there is so much good information here! Just amazing work. Thanks for the effort.

Elaine said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Elaine said...

Thanks for sharing your expertise. I found your information about expanding one's network and the impact that that has particularly interesting.