LinkedIn is currently the largest professional networking site. Along with helping you connect (or re-connect) with colleagues and professional contacts, LinkedIn is frequently used by hiring managers and recruiters. That means it's very important for you to establish an active presence on LinkedIn early on in your job search. If recruiters are looking for candidates on the site, you want to show up — and be sure to look like a good prospect to hire.
Here's how to get started on LinkedIn, along with how to grow your network.
Create or Refresh Your Profile
If you have not already, first set up a profile on LinkedIn. Use your up-to-date resume to create your profile and background. Make sure you include a profile photo — get tips for how to take a professional-looking headshot that will make a good impression on anyone taking a look at your profile.
If you have a profile on LinkedIn but haven't updated it in a while, look for ways to give it a refresh.
For instance, you could potentially swap out your photo, update your skills, add your most recent job or responsibilities, or refresh your summary statement. Before making any changes, you may want to check your account settings — you can opt to avoid having your network get alerts about all of these tweaks.
Once you have created your profile, you can begin to develop and expand your LinkedIn network to include professionals and organizations that can either help you with your job search or seek you out as a potential job candidate.
Follow these steps to follow to expand your LinkedIn network today.
Connect With 10 Contacts in Your Industry
The more connections you have on LinkedIn, the more opportunities you have to meet someone who can potentially connect you to a job opportunity. While you want to have a lot of connections, make sure you connect with people you know and trust.
Today, add ten LinkedIn members who are connected, even indirectly, to your career interests.
How to Find Them
Start by making a list of the companies you would like to work for, and think of anyone you know who works for those companies. As well, you can also connect with people you've met previously in a work context. Some options are:
- Current co-workers
- Colleagues from previous jobs
- People you meet at conferences, networking events, and other work-related events
- Current or former classmates from college or graduate school
While today your goal is to add just ten people, long-term, you can keep investing in growing your network by connecting with more people.
Don't forget to connect with the new people you meet, too.
Join 3 LinkedIn Groups
There are many LinkedIn Groups that can help you with your job search — job search groups, company groups, alumni groups, etc. Groups can help you network, learn about job listings, and discuss industry trends.
How to Find and Join Three Linkedin Groups Today
- First, see if your college has an alumni LinkedIn Group. Then see if any of your former employers have employee alumni groups.
- Search the Groups Directory on LinkedIn (you can reach the directory by clicking on “Groups” under the “Interests” tab) for groups related to your industry or professional interests.
- Some groups are private, and you may need to be affiliated with a group member to join.
- Once you become a member, you can join group discussion pages, and begin to meet and connect with other group members.
Bonus Tip: Ask For and Give Recommendations
One final way to make your profile page look sharp is to have recommendations. You can ask former colleagues and managers to write up a short recommendation. (Here's how to request a LinkedIn recommendation.) You can also write up recommendations for other people. Not only will it show up in your profile that you've given recommendations, but it's a nice and helpful thing to do for your connections.
LinkedIn and Networking
These simple steps will help you expand your professional network, not only by increasing the chance that a contact will be able to help you with your job search, but also that other industry insiders might come across your profile and see you as a prospective job candidate.