As the era of the digital CV moves more of our career prospects online, there’s no doubt that recruitment network LinkedIn has the upper hand.
With more than 300 million members in over 200 countries, and six million in Australia, the site offers a massive network of opportunity that eclipses that of even the slickest schmoozer.
“It’s a great way to pick up new clients,” Annabelle Drumm, a business and executive coach with more than 2000 connections, says.
In her four years using the site, Ms Drumm has been approached by around ten different employers, providing a large portion of her freelance work.
Jane McNeill, director of Hays recruiting in New South Wales, agrees that the site is a great place to further your career.
“At Hays LinkedIn is used alongside our database to cross reference candidates to ensure we have the most up to date profile information,” Ms McNeill says.
But beware: the domain of online recruitment can be a difficult one to navigate, fraught with social intricacies and the potential for technical mishaps.
To do LinkedIn right, you first need to understand the platform. Here’s how to use it:
I’m new – what does my profile need?
LinkedIn’s own data shows your profile is 14 times more likely to be viewed with a photo – make sure it’s professional and shows your face.
Tara Commerford, Head of Communications, LinkedIn, Southeast Asia and ANZ says to remember “just as in an interview, first impressions count”.
Include a relevant and up-to-date employment history to “showcase” your achievements.
Ms Commerford says to provide real examples of your expertise and achievements and “don’t sell yourself short – but always stick to the facts”.
Ms Drumm also recommends showing your personality.
“By showing all of your background right down to the hobbies, interests and causes you support, a potential employer really gets to know you and will be more likely to remember you in the crowd.”
Who should I connect with? What’s the correct etiquette?
LinkedIn isn’t like Facebook – you will often find yourself getting requests from people you’ve never met. Remember that you don’t have to connect with everyone – in fact, it’s best not to.
“We recommend being selective about who you connect with – they should only be people who have relevance to your career,” Ms McNeill says.
Instead, she recommends connecting with former managers and other referees “to let them know when you are applying for a new role but also to project your personal brand values”.
When you decide to reach out to someone, send them a brief letter explaining who you are and what you are looking for keeping correspondence friendly, casual and professional.
How can I boost my profile?
The best tip for taking your profile to the next level is to be completely engaged – you get what you give.
“As a LinkedIn user you should be active in endorsing skills and asking others to endorse your skills or provide recommendations,” Ms McNeill says.
“Consider joining online groups relevant to your industry or profession or even follow industry leaders. Better yet, start an industry-related group or blog to share useful insights and links.”
LinkedIn’s Ms Commerford also recommends connecting with peers via LinkedIn groups.
“With such an expansive network of global professionals on LinkedIn, we recommend you take advantage of having access to some of the most respected and successful professionals in the world,” she says.
Start discussions, pose interesting questions and respond to others.
Then wait for the employment offers to pour in…
How do you use social media for work? Tell us in the comments below or on Twitter @thenewdaily_.
A step-by-step guide to using LinkedIn. Maximum Success with LinkedIn by Dan Sherman is your go-to guide. Buy it here.
LinkedIn expert Dan Sherman shows business professionals and entrepreneurs how to leverage the power of the world's largest professional network for all their business purposes.