LinkedIn is one of the best resources a job seeker can access. Many reports have shown that recruiters are planning to scale back use of job boards and hunt for candidates on LinkedIn before posting a job opening. Beyond networking with recruiters and colleagues, being on LinkedIn can also give you early or even exclusive access to job postings. More importantly, not having a LinkedIn account may send a negative message to recruiters.
Think you missed the golden window for joining LinkedIn, when all of your colleagues were joining? I thought I had. I didn’t join when LinkedIn debuted because I didn’t want another Facebook-type-thing and it had yet to really make its mark. Once the site took off, I was wary of that initial lull where I would look unpopular and unconnected. Now I know that it is really never too late to join – in fact joining now is advantageous for several reasons:
- Your colleagues and professional associates are already on LinkedIn, allowing you to quickly grow your network. Unpopular? Unlikely! In less than a day, you can easily have a robust network.
- Those colleagues have already done the work in finding professional groups to join – simply look at their profiles to see what you are interested in joining.
- Your professional associations are more likely to be available on LinkedIn so you can officially connect with them online.
The importance of having a high quality LinkedIn profile cannot be overstated. Once you’ve created your LinkedIn account, make sure to optimize it to get the most out of your LinkedIn experience. Fill out every section fully – having a profile doesn’t do much good if there is no information available for recruiters. Similarly, make sure your profile is public. Join your alumni associations – this will help you reconnect with contacts. At the same time, be careful about who you list as a connection – a good LinkedIn contact is very different from a good Facebook friend. Limit yourself to people whose work you are familiar with and with whom you are happy to be professionally associated.