LinkedIn is useful for much more than just job searching. The Public Speaker explains how LinkedIn can help you build your network and engage customers.
“It looks like my old boss just got laid off!” a friend told me over the weekend. I asked how he found out. “She just joined LinkedIn. Why else would she do that?” My friend is partly right – lots of people wait to join LinkedIn until they’re job hunting. But there are plenty of other good reasons to sign up now..
A little research tells us who’s on LinkedIn and who’s not. According to Social Media Today, 20% of adult online users are on LinkedIn. Of those, 54% are men. A site called Boolean Black Belt shows a much greater discrepancy – 65% men to 35% women. According to their data, this is a much wider gap than what we saw in 2010 and 2011. I talked about this more in my previous podcast episodes, The Social Media Gender Gap (Part 1) and Part 2.
The majority of LinkedIn users are middle-aged. We might extrapolate that to say they’re probably established in their career. In general, younger people and those entering the job market aren’t taking advantage of what LinkedIn has to offer.
Why Should You Be on LinkedIn?
When current LinkedIn users were polled on their favorite features of the site, this is what they said:
75% said they liked being able to research other companies
68% said they liked reconnecting with past associates
45% said they liked creating face-to-face networking opportunities
And by the way, only 1 in 10 users sign up for the paid features. A greta majority simply use the free version. Let's take a closer look at how people are using LinkedIn:
Tip #1: How to Use LinkedIn for Job Searching
LinkedIn is a great tool for job hunting. There are companies and recruiters perusing LinkedIn everyday looking for candidates. Some use automated tools and search by keywords to narrow down candidate lists. Others look based on connections or titles. You don’t have to have an long resume to find a job through LinkedIn, but you do have to know how to help recruiters find you.
See also: What is Proper LinkedIn Etiquette?
Learn how to create a profile that will attract both automated and personal recruiters. Research which keywords will get you noticed in your field and sprinkle them appropriately throughout your profile (try using Google's Contextual Targeting Tool). The more opitimized your profile, the more it is likely you'll be found on search. However, ultimately, it's a human who does the hiring, so be sure to also use the new media rich features to include samples of your work or videos of yourself talking about your work. Of course, you'll also want to join professional LinkedIn groups in your areas of expertise.
Tip #2: Use LinkedIn for Networking
LinkedIn is the best way to stay connected with former colleagues. Be sure to look for updates and news from your network on a regular basis so you can reach out to your colleagues. When you're looking to get connected with someone new, check your network to see who might know the person or the company you are trying to connect with. Then contact that person to see if they are willing to help you get in touch via a Linkedin connection request.
When it comes to making connections, I believe in both quality and quantity. I know some would disagree with me, however, I think it is important to have a broad base of connections to help you see deeper into the overall LInkedIn database. This means I have connected with several of the "super" connectors who have thousands of first level connections. (Keep in mind that you can only see information for your first and second level connections).