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With the unemployment rate still above 8% nationally and nearly 25 million people either looking for work or to change employment, it takes employers and recruiters an inordinate amount of time to screen applicants. If you are among those looking for a new job or to change the one you have, you can’t rely strictly on traditional job search strategies to get noticed.
Over 80% of companies now report that they use or intend to use social media to source and recruit employees. Of those, 95% use LinkedIn. Why? LinkedIn has over 120 million users and, among all social networking sites, is considered the most appropriate for business professionals. It is designed to enable its users to create an online profile that disseminates information about the person’s education, interests, background, experience and training. In some respects, LinkedIn is almost an interactive resume. Visitors to your LinkedIn page are able to not only review your skill sets and competencies, but your professional network as well.
Because so many employers report using it, LinkedIn is a great tool to help you find a job online. However, we strongly recommend that you establish a consistent online presence across all of your social media platforms. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and others can all be valuable job search tools. Be sure that the character you portray on one is the same as that portrayed on all the others.
LinkedIn allows you to link up with other professionals, groups and online communities with interests similar to your own, all of which increase your visibility. This social media platform provides you the vehicle by which you can present yourself in the most effective light possible. You have complete control over the ability to craft a profile that focuses on describing your skills, characteristics, strengths and interests to prospective employers. When a prospective employer or recruiter goes to your profile, she should be able to tell not only what you do and what you are capable of, but essentially who you are as well.
LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to build a community of professional contacts who can provide leads, resources you can use in carrying out your responsibilities, even recommendations.
If you use LinkedIn to find a job online, there is one thing you must remember, something many people neglect: Fully complete your online profile. Failure to do so not only leaves part of your story untold, but can also create a perception that you do not pay attention to detail or do not finish what you start, neither of which is a desirable characteristic for most employers.
While your LinkedIn profile is a great asset when you try to find a job online, the profiles of others can be useful as well. Not only do they provide excellent examples of what to do ( and, perhaps equally importantly, what not to do), they provide the opportunity for you to communicate with those who have recently been hired to find out what worked for them. We hear time and time again that it is not what you know but who you know. If you know people who have been successful in finding new or different work, you should avail yourself of the ability to interact with them. As is the case in so many aspects of our lives, information leads to knowledge and knowledge leads to power. Here, that could include the power to better your career.
LinkedIn is an example of how social networking sites can help you find a job online. It’s a great tool. Why not use it?