LinkedIn is often a completely underestimated tool for job searching. I cannot emphasis enough the importance of using it and using it well! Here are some tips to help you get the most out of the site:
1. Ensure that your profile is complete and up-to-date.
If it is fully completed, your profile can act as a CV which can potentially be searched by thousands of employers. That is why it is so important to make sure that you fully complete all of the sections and put as much detail about your experience in as possible.
This profile is a chance to showcase your skills and talents and assist the right people and job opportunities to find their way to you. It can also act as your professional profile for the whole of the web, as you can set it to be discoverable through searches in leading search engines and LinkedIn.
Make sure that the information that you fill in is up-to-date with all of your work experience and a summary that includes your experience, interests and what you are looking for. LinkedIn believes that users with complete profiles are up to 40 times more likely to have opportunities presented to them through LinkedIn. Isn’t that worth a bit of time and effort?
2. Look at your connections.
Search your old work colleagues, friends, family members, previous employers, people that you have done business with, clients and people that you know and trust, and then look to add them as connections on the site. If you have a good network of contacts, you can utilise them for recommendations and ask for introductions to people that they know who may be of use to you in your job search.
You can do this in a few ways: you can import your outlook address book, you can access your hotmail/yahoo contacts, you can search by place of work/school or you can even just search people by name or company. Once you have got a few contacts, you will also be able to access LinkedIn’s recommendations for “people that you may know”. Whilst this is not always accurate, it does occasionally come up with gems for me by recommending people that I have worked with/for previously that I would never have thought of by myself!
You can also invite users who are not on LinkedIn by sending them an email request to join.
3. Get recommendations!
Once you have created this fantastic network of contacts, start email them to ask for recommendations to put on your profile. This can be particularly useful for old colleagues, employers or clients. Having recommendations of your work by the people that you have worked for and on behalf of can really make your profile look even more attractive to potential employers if/when they stumble across your page.
4. Search on LinkedIn Jobs
This is a part of the website that has thousands of job listings for each category. You can search by keywords, title, company and even location. You will find that the roles for trainee solicitor or even NQ solicitor are very limited but it is worth checking this on a weekly basis as they do pop up every now and then!
This search will be boosted by making the most of your profile and really making yourself stand out. Getting recommendations from past employers/clients and having a strong network really helps to build your professional credibility which will in turn help you to get hired.
5. Join Groups
There are thousands of groups on LinkedIn, which cover a wide variety of topics. Join as many of these as you can (only ones of interest of course), such as groups dedicated to young lawyers, or lawyers in your field of expertise, or law recruitment. If you have a specialist field, such as commercial law, you may find local groups in your area dedicated to local commerce or businesses in the area.
Once you have joined these groups, join in as many discussions as you can. Be an active participator of these groups! By doing so, you will show people that you are an expert in your field, an active user of LinkedIn and that you are taking time out to share your opinions with them. This will, in turn, drive more people to your profile and raise awareness of your talents online.
6. Contact Key Individuals
If you have an “inside connection” in a firm or company that you want to work for, use them! Send them an email and ask who would be the best person to speak to at their company, ask them for more information about what it’s like to work there and whether they think there might be any opportunities in the future. If you don’t ask, you don’t get!
You can also search to find a user by companies. It is possible to directly contact other users through inmails, or request an introduction through one of your existing contacts if you have a common connection.
Another great way to use LinkedIn is to research your recruiters or interviewers. You can learn more about their background to have an edge over the other candidates.
7. Demonstrate Your Expertise on LinkedIn Answers
This is a great place for LinkedIn users to share business knowledge. Here, you can ask and answer questions on a specific subject matter.
By searching for questions on your specialism and answering them, you can demonstrate your expertise and earn recognition which will help to build your credibility and drive more traffic to your profile. The more questions that you answer and points of expertise you are awarded, the higher up your profile will appear in the list of experts.
8. Use the JobsInsider toolbar
Once you have installed this, the toolbar searches on your web browser, so that if you are looking at a job listing on another website, you will automatically be able to see whether you have any connections at that company! You can then contact these people to see if they can help you through informal interviews or by directly introducing you to the right people!
As you can see, LinkedIn does have many beneficial elements which can be exploited to help you with your job search. Do any of you have experiences of LinkedIn or questions that you would like to share? If so, please comment below.