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Using your LinkedIn profile to successfully target employers
Optimise your profile
Like your CV, your LinkedIn profile is a chance to make a good first impression. The difference is that this profile can be viewed at the click of a button, from anywhere in the world and at any time! Here’s a short checklist to ensure your profile makes the desired impact:
- Include a clear headline. Recruiters need to understand immediately what your specialty is to see if this matches their vacancies.
- Use the summary box to show why you would make a great employee. Don’t make it too long or it won’t all be read. Write a few sentences about your career aims, and what you can offer a company. Then include a second paragraph listing what specific skills you can offer.
- Make your profile easy to find. Setting your profile to ‘publicly available’ or at least ‘searchable’ will increase your chances of being seen by potential employers.
- Ask your former employers or colleagues for written recommendations. A personal reference looks better than simply collecting endorsements on your skills list.
- List your past (or present) jobs and give details of your role there. Remember to note your best achievements and what skills or experience you gained.
- Mention any professional organisations you are a member of.
- Add your most interesting personal interests and hobbies that best reflect your skills. One of these could be the key factor that shows a recruiter what part you could play in the company.
- Choose a professional photo. Look your best. Show your face and make sure you give the right image of the kind of person you are. You should appear friendly and positive, but business-like.
- Check for spelling or grammar errors. Write your texts on a document first to use auto-checks. Read through everything carefully before you publish your profile. Use a dictionary if in doubt about spelling.
Now you’re ready for the job search!
Make a list of target companies
Start with all the companies you know where you might like to work and you could apply your job skills. Include your previous employer to contact any former colleagues who could expand your network.
Use LinkedIn Company Search to find other companies in your type of work. Searching by keywords can be a good place to start, and you can then order by location and whether you have any contacts there. Include any competitors or partner companies of your previous employer.
Find the “Top Ten”
Search through Google for the top employers in your line of work. Then look for reviews from employees on sites like Glassdoor. Watch out for any recent news articles that might give you an idea how the business is doing.
Check the LinkedIn Company Pages of these companies to see how many people they employ.
Use the LinkedIn search tool to find people who work in each company. This will show who you already know there, either via your direct contacts and any university alumni, or through special-interest groups or discussions.
Send a direct message to anyone you are connected to who works there. Tell them that you’re interested in working for the company and ask for advice on whom to contact about any available jobs.
Look for the recruiting managers or anyone else in positions of responsibility in the relevant department. If you have any common contacts, you can invite them directly to connect. If not, LinkedIn will offer you suggestions of people who could introduce you. Always include a covering message to show your interest in the company. Say what you can offer the company and tell them you would be pleased to hear of any available work there.
Find companies or people that match your interests
Are you looking for a change? Are you a graphic designer who wants to create original book covers? Do you love sports and want to make a career designing sports clothing? Search for companies related to your interests and see what positions people work in there. Make new contacts with other workers with similar interests. They could put you in touch with other companies to widen your job search.
Following companies close to your interests will motivate you to stay active in looking for work. The important thing to remember is: don’t wait for the advertisement — make the first move to be available as soon as the job opening is there. Contact employers that you believe are worth working for. Showing that personal interest can make all the difference to your star profile and help you reach that star job!
Want to find out more about how to get the most out of this versatile social media channel and catch the eye of recruiters? Check out our top 10 ways to stand out on LinkedIn.
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