When people think of LinkedIn, the networking aspect is typically the first thing that comes to mind.
This is important for your job search because networking is important to your search.
Here are five other reasons to use LinkedIn for your job search that are unrelated to direct networking:
Find company hiring patterns. If you’re interested in a company, look for patterns in the employee backgrounds. Do most come from the same school or the same company? What specific skills and experiences do they share? How a company has hired before gives you an indication of their preferences and therefore how you might position yourself to be attractive to that company;
View career trajectories. If you have a specific long-term career target but are unsure how to get there, look at people who have that job and what they did along the way. What degrees and certifications do they have? What were their early jobs? If many people who now have the job you want share the same background, this might be an indication that the career track is very specific. You will want to plan your next jobs to collect those same skills and experiences;
Get salary or other unpublished data. Use the Groups and Q&A functions to collect this data. Look for tightly segmented Groups or ask your questions very specifically – i.e., years of experience, specific role, tight geographic area – to get the most useful answers;
Elaborate on your expertise. The Applications feature of LinkedIn enables you to share presentations (SlideShare), document what you’ve read (Amazon reading list), or link to your blog (several applications, including WordPress). These are substantive ways to elaborate on your expertise beyond your resume. For career changers, where a resume will reflect past experience you’d rather not repeat, these applications enable you to showcase different skills.
Turn every email into a pitch.
During the job search it is common to reach out to people you may not know well to request an exploratory meeting. You want to keep the email short but you want to share enough about your background to entice the person to meet with you. Attaching a resume is presumptuous. Putting your LinkedIn hyperlink in your signature enables you to subtly share your resume without the attachment. Used in your everyday email signature, your LinkedIn hyperlink effectively turns every email into a potential marketing document, as people may click on your profile and learn more about you without you having to ask.
Caroline Ceniza-Levine is a career expert, writer, speaker and co-founder of SixFigureStart® (www.sixfigurestart.com), a career coaching firm comprised of former Fortune 500 recruiters. Caroline is a co-author (along with Donald Trump, Jack Canfield and other leading business authors) of "How the Fierce Handle Fear: Secrets to Succeeding in Challenging Times" from Two Harbors Press, 2010. Formerly in corporate HR and retained search, Caroline has recruited for leading companies in media, financial services, consulting, technology and healthcare.
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