linkedinTimes are tough, no question about it. There are a lot of people looking for work at the moment. And surprisingly a lot of people are finding work. These aren’t the stories you hear on the radio or in the newspaper. I guess nothing sells like doom and gloom. We know from our work with successful job seekers that there is a high correlation between the quality of your LinkedIn account and finding potential opportunities. Either someone who is looking finds you because you have a great profile, or you find a long lost workmate who is really glad to hear from you and one thing leads to another. We have assembled a few LinkedIn tips for our clients and thought we would share them.

Tips To Enhance Your LinkedIn Profile

  • Log into your LinkedIn account and click “Edit My Profile” from the left navigation menu, then follow these tips to enhance your profile:
  • Create a customized URL.  For example, you can set up your LinkedIn profile to be found at www.linkedin.com/in/janesmith, instead of the default which could be www.linkedin.com/in/4JPA678.
  • Add as many past employers as you have had, so the largest number of former co-workers can find you.
  • Make sure your professional headline emphasizes any keywords you want to you to promote yourself.
  • Make your profile public and set it to “Full View” so your LinkedIn profile will show up in Web search results.
  • Add links from your LinkedIn profile to Web sites you are trying to promote, like your blog, e- commerce store or company Web site.
  • For Web site links that you add to your profile, select “Other” and rename each link to include meaningful keywords.  So instead of it saying “My Blog”, it would say “Jane Smith’s E- Commerce Product Blog”.
  • Include all of your main e-mail addresses in your profile so people can connect with you.
  • LinkedIn does not display your e-mail address to the public; they simply keep your e-mail addresses on file for when someone tries to connect with you.
  • Fill out the summary field of your profile with all of your critical skills and important career- related keywords.
  • Add a professional photo to your profile.
  • Add a link to your LinkedIn profile in your e-mail signature.

Building Your Network – Top Ten Checklist

  1. Fill out your LinkedIn profile.
  2. Check for former colleagues and classmates who are on LinkedIn by using specific LinkedIn search tools.
  3. Import your Outlook contacts.
  4. Import your Webmail contacts.
  5. Check for people who share a group of affiliation with you.
  6. Go through your business cards for potential contacts and search for them on LinkedIn.  Send them an Invite or Request to Join.
  7. Search through your 1st degree network connections.
  8. Advertise yourself through “LinkedIn Answers”.
  9. Use the “People You May Already Know” feature.
  10. 10. Meet people on LinkedIn (through LinkedIn Answers, Groups, Jobs and People Search) and then invite them to your network.

General LinkedIn Tips

  • Always keep your left navigation menu expanded so you can see every option for easy access.
  • Start leaving recommendations for 1st degree network connections that you feel have earned a great one.
  • Invest a good amount of time up front to create a great detailed profile.
  • Spend a bit of time, on a consistent basis, to update and maintain your LinkedIn network.
  • Use lots of search terms in “Advanced Search” to find the right person. If you get no results, remove one or two words and try again.
  • Research someone on LinkedIn before meeting with him or her in a job interview or business meeting.
  • Do a reference check on any potential job hires using LinkedIn before you make an offer to candidates.
  • Get some free market research by answering questions on “LinkedIn Answers”.
  • Scan through your “Network Updates” to stay aware of what your network is doing.
  • Use the LinkedIn status function (“What am I working on?”) to keep your network apprised of your business.

Tips for Job Search

  1. Make sure your profile is up-to-date, accurate and matches whatever you provide to a hiring manager or recruiter.
  2. Stay on top of your Network Updates so you know if someone in your network has been promoted or moved to a company where you would like to work.
  3. Use “Advanced People Search” to find 2nd or 3rd degree network connections that work at a desired target company.  Request an Introduction to that person and ask for advice or an informational interview.
  4. Advertise your skills and knowledge by answering questions posted in LinkedIn “Answers”.
  5. Connect with everyone you have worked with, since these people know your professional capabilities well and could potentially recommend you on LinkedIn.
  6. Make sure your profile highlights measurable accomplishments that you did at your previous jobs.  For example, instead of saying that you “managed a sales force”, it would better if you stated that “I managed a 37% growth in revenue in the last four quarters”.
  7. Do a search and connect with as many recruiters as you can, to find jobs in your target industry or job focus.
  8. Use “LinkedIn Company Profiles” to see which of your network connections works at a particular company, and specific information about the company that you need for your cover letter and interview.
  9. Don’t forget to use LinkedIn’s job board.  Currently, there are over 5 million postings available when you search the Web on LinkedIn’s job board.
  10. If you find and apply for a job using LinkedIn’s job board, see if the job poster is someone in your extended network. If so, ask for a referral or Introduction to that person so you can connect with him or her and make a great impression!