At least 2 of the 4 jobs I have gotten since college can be directly attributed to LinkedIn. This by no means makes me an expert, but I have been on the site for a while and I pay attention to what works for people and what doesn’t.  If you are looking for a job, good economy or bad, LinkedIn should be a big part of your strategy. Lots of people have written good posts on how to position yourself on LinkedIn, including one of the earliest from Guy Kawasaki and another more recent Ten Ways to Use LinkedIn to Find a Job, also from Guy. All of these tips (and others) are quality and should help guide your search. This list is intended to go a step above what everyone else is already doing and help you set yourself apart from a community that is getting more competitive every day.

LinkedIn Tips

Kill for Recommendations

Recommendations are a great way to add quality, less biased content to your profile. The more recommendations the better. Headhunters look at this number, the quality of the recommendations, and of course who is giving them. They also have an impact on where you show up in search results. Give recommendations to all those you think worthy. Ask everyone for the same. But do not rely on the LinkedIn request tool. Use email, phone calls, etc. Personal requests will work better with some.

Create a Personal Slideshow

LinkedIn applications rock, especially the Slideshare.com app. If you are a speaker, put your best presentation on your profile. If you are in resume mode, create a visual resume. Be creative. Show your personality, show your creativity and be memorable. These slide shows can go a lot farther than a text description and a nice avatar to help you stand out from the crowd.

Go Back In Time

Ideally you should have been adding connections to your LinkedIn profile since the site launched. In the absence of a time machine, start using it today as your virtual Rolodex for all the bosses, employees, coworkers, and vendors with which you have done business. It is an obvious suggestion, but the more honest connections you have, the more valuable your network as a job search aid. Also, do not just invest in connections with people who have obvious benefit to you. Look for people you may be able to help as well. You never know who will help you in the future. Sorry to phrase this in such a self serving way. But a job search is serious business.

Research Smart, Interact Smarter

Know the companies you want to work at? Stalk their employees. Look at the groups they join, the keywords they use, the apps they use, the books they read. Do your best to spin your profile (while holding true to your real skill set) to fall in line with those company’s cultures.  Do not just try and appear relevant to that company though, actively look like a thought leader within their circles. Checkout the forums of the groups they are in and participate. Look for the questions they ask in the LinkedIn Answers sections. Looks for their answers. Listen, interact, and treat everything you say as thoughtfully as you would an interview. Because you it very well could be.

Treat Your Links Like Gold

One of the first things a potential employer is going to check out are your links. If you are searching for a job online, you really should have a blog or other content online for people to learn more about you. If you are involved in any organizations or have had some good press somewhere, include links to that information. Be creative. Post a video resume to Youtube and link to it from your profile.

Think Like an Entrepreneur

Do not settle for being a follower. Ask questions, create groups, and actively connect other people. These activities will put your profile in front of more people. They will frame you as a leader. And they will add more flavor to your personality that potential employers might remember. If you are not already a great networker, then some of this might be easier said then done. However, it is something to look for. Creating a group that gets good discussions going or starting a question that many people find interest in answering can be keys in helping you find the more active users that will help your job search reach a higher level.

BONUS Sign Up for SocialMinder.com

Social Minder is a nice little tool that helps you keep track of your LinkedIn connections via how often you email them. It tells you who you are neglecting and the topic you last discussed and much more. A very powerful little piece of software.

None of these steps will result as a golden bullet, but all should help you stand out from the noise. Finding that next great job is a stressful challenge and even more difficult within today’s high unemployment. Opportunities are out there, and LinkedIn is a key tool in helping your cause.

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  • Samantha Cook

    I just got a new gig at an area Ad Agency here in Baltimore. The big win for me was exactly what you said, "going back in time" to connect to as many old contacts as possible. My old freshman year college roommate was a copy writer there and saw I was looking through LinkedIn. She gave me the insider details and that is all I needed. Love Love Love LinkedIn

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/jerols jerols

    Great tips, Keath. I'm a freshman in college (at UNC Charlotte) and LinkedIn was the source of my very first job. Back in highschool I kept up with web news and had been hearing a lot of buzz about LinkedIn. I signed up, putting some basic info on there, wrote a bit about my web development experience, and finally, added a link to my blog. I received an inquiry from a local web development firm within a few days! Frankly, I was shocked. Not to diminish these tips, but my story really shows the potential of LinkedIn (even when you just get your profile up there). Now, as a freshman in college I've got a great job, doing what I love.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/jakrose jakrose

    I think this is a key experience. Just setting up a profile and your basic info/experience can be enough sometimes. It is tougher tday with over 35 million people on LinkedIn, I remember when they were counting from 1 to 2 million users. But still, if you are not even on LinkedIn, you could be missing basic opportunities like this. People are likely looking for your expertise no matter what it is. Just as corporations need to be out there involved in conversations about them, job seekers need to be out there in every place employers are looking.

  • http://polyanabrasil.blogspot.com polyana

    linkedin is a great tool for job searching, in my opinion. i live in brazil, where a huge part of my job segment is on linkedin and a number of other online social networks – and this also means QUALITY jobs are posted on the site. i stress quality, because it's a place where you know innovative and socially conscious companies are posting job openings. i've had a couple of interviews through linkedin for entry-level positions despite a number of the openings listed today being for more qualified professionals (at least in Brazil), and think it's a great tool for promoting one's work and making connections in any field!

  • Drew Smith

    Nice article. A couple things to be wary of on LinkedIn…
    1. Don't link up with just anyone. Like it or not, LinkedIn is used as a backdoor reference tool. If I get a resume of a promising candidate, I check to see who's in their network. If I know someone I ping them. Many times people blindly link up with anyone and everyone at their present job. Then, down the road, they leave that job for another. Well, if you didn't leave on great terms or weren't the rockstar you claim to be, chances are that someone that's in your network from a past job might be asked about you.
    2. I like the recommendations piece, but have never read many of them honestly. If someone is going to give you a recommendation is it going to be bad? No. Doesn't carry much weight when I'm researching someone on there.
    3. Don't fluff up past jobs with 5 paragraphs of what you did. Just keep it concise and leave more details for your resume and for the interviews.

    Last, just like a resume, use keywords, but only use them if you can actually discuss them intelligently. For example, don't put Java, C++, Python on there if you don't really know how to code in those languages or at a minimum, spell out your level of experience with them.

    Cheers!

  • http://exploration.typepad.com will gray

    Jason, I admit that in the past few years (since I joined LinkedIn) I haven't taken it that seriously. Sure, I put up a complete profile and got recommendations from some co-workers. But I assumed that since I didn't have as much traffic there as I did on Facebook, twitter, etc. it wasn't as valuable.
    However, just last week I got an email out of the blue from a head hunter: "Hi, saw your profile on LinkedIn and you look like a perfect fit for a position we're trying to fill." Not spam — actually a good job offer. I couldn't take it, but it has certainly changed my mind as to how useful LinkedIn is. And after reading your post here, I'm headed back to put up a SlideShare portfolio ASAP. Thanks much! Best wishes on your interview.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/jakrose jakrose

    Great comments drew. Thanks for the hiring perspective. Connecting with people that might not speak well of you is good to remember.

    jak

  • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/jakrose jakrose

    Great comments drew. Thanks for the hiring perspective. Connecting with people that might not speak well of you is good to remember.

  • Erica

    Great post….While I haven't landed a job using LinkedIn, I have received some very nice recommendations and stayed connected with some great people (former co-workers and colleagues). It has also afforded me some wonderful new relationships. In my world it has also been an esstential tool in formulating committees. I (and I know this has been done to me as well) have often "checked out" new contacts…I mean, you can meet someone at a networking event, look them up on LinkIn the next day and instantly have a CV with recommendations.

    It's a cool tool. I agree…if you're not using it you're missing out.

  • http://leadgenseo.com Jon Payne

    Nice post Jason. I'll share a different perspective. I've been running my own consulting firm for about 6 years. While I'm not in the market for a job, I do use LinkedIn for both general networking and as a resume of sorts. In fact, I don't think I've had a current traditional resume (a la MS Word) since 2003. Well, maybe 2005.

    Since I'm a consultant, when you buy my company's services you are buying me. My time. We have no product to sell. As with buying any consultant or any service for that matter, there is a risk. You don't know what you'll get the same way you do with buying a hard product. Having references and a documented history on LinkedIn gives my prospective clients something to look at, a way to feel more confident that they are considering working with a legitimate firm.

    I think you hit it right on too though that the references are the key. With normal job interviews, references are going to be collected at some point in the process. LinkedIn puts them up front so they help make your case earlier in the process. Plus the social connections make it possible to research and see the credentials of the person giving the reference. That's probably 10 times more important than just having that referral.

  • http://adamcovati.com Adam Covati

    I've probably been hit up by at least 10 recruiters via linked in – so while I'm not currently looking for a job, it's nice to have that visibility. I agree with much of the advise here – don't link with just anybody, keep a complete profile, get recommendations.

    I also try to keep my profile as clean and concise as my resume, because that's exactly what it is. The one difference I would say is that it is actually a bit more searchable than your resume often is.

  • http://www.communispace.com/careers Steven Kosakow

    I am an employer in the social media (online community) space and I feel that LinkedIn is one of my top resources. Given Communispace is in the social media space, it's important that our candidates have some connection to this space (LinkedIn, twitter, etc…). In fact, we've been successful in hiring candidates across the globe by reaching out to prospective job seekers on LinkedIn. I will often times have folks on LinkedIn refer great candidates to me, too.

    I recommend that prospective job seekers have a great (and memorable) profile. Before I call an applicant (no matter how they applied to our position), I like to look them up on LinkedIn as I am curious if they have any recommendations/references and to learn about their affiliations (or maybe they're connected to some folks in my network). Clearly, any recommendation should be taken with a grain of salt (who is going to post a negative recommendation?!). I don't like verbose/wordy profiles.

    I also find candidates reaching out to me via LinkedIn – which is nice considering we receive a high volume of applicants.

  • http://www.linkedworking.com Lewis Howes

    Nice content Jason. I have been using SocialMinder for a while now it is a great tool to use in conjunction with LinkedIn. Feel free to check out my latest LinkedIn Success Book which adds nicely to the principles you mention in this post: http://www.tinyurl.com/linkedworking

    Thanks

    Lewis

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  • Anirban

    Good suggestion, it is an eye opener…will fall back for your suggestions…have a good time

  • http://www.cygnismedia.com/social-media-application/facebook-application-development.html Facebook Development

    This is really fantastic advice, thank you so much

  • http://ppalme.wordpress.com Petepalme

    Is Linkedin really the best place to find a new job or is it still wishful thinking ? I have found some surprising unexpected evidence. http://tinyurl.com/6x33wscn

  • Position Ignition

    Excellent article. LinkedIn is a very powerful tool if harnessed effectively for your job search. There are many aspects of LinkedIn to consider including how to optimise your profile, getting involved in groups, utilising applications and job section and making sure that you can be found by potential recruiters. Thereu2019s a comprehensive eBook called 125 LinkedIn Job Search Tips – which you may find helpful to learn more about this: http://www.positionignition.com/100-linkedin-job-search-tips/

  • Cherry

    These are great tips. It’s true that if you are smart on LinkedIn you can definitely get known through it and get results in your job hunting. For more LinkedIn Job search tips check out:u00a0http://www.positionignition.com/100-linkedin-job-search-tips/

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  • Cheryl_0926

    Thank you,

    I can start applying these tools today!   Just Awesome!

    I enjoyed the questions that prompted me to think!  That in itself is a gift! 

  • Slhgran7

    I have been a Linkedin participant for several years now and recognize how important it is to be part of this networking system. I will be gradiating in Nov. 12 and am looking forward to reconstructing my profile. At the sametime I will be building up my resources through Linkedin which has already connected me to over 10, 000 professionals. Linkedin is a great tool for getting involved and staying connected to jobs, careers, trends and relationships that would have otherwise never been possiable.  

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