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How to Use LinkedIn for Networking and Job Searches

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Posted on December 9, 2014 by Delaware Valley College.

LinkedIn is a professional networking database that allows you to find business opportunities through companies and contacts. Companies use this platform to leverage their businesses and find employees. LinkedIn is a great tool for looking for jobs, connecting with potential employers and getting hired.

If you’re unfamiliar with LinkedIn, it’s similar to Facebook except that it’s solely business oriented. Your profile lets others know who you are and your business skills and experience, plus you can even add what kind of job you’re looking for.

Update Your Profile
Your profile is a lot like your resume, so you should treat it as such. Make sure your profile is accurate and up-to-date and that it includes your education, skills, recent employers and positions.  

On your LinkedIn profile, you also should add a headline about yourself. This crucial element shows up when someone searches the database, and it represents your personal brand and your first impression on others. Your headline should be specific and descriptive.

People are more likely to view your LinkedIn profile if you include a photo, so make sure yours is good quality and looks professional—not one of your dog, with friends or of your favorite cartoon character. Business executives and those looking to hire will judge this picture as they consider candidates, so it needs to be appropriate.

Connect
Connecting with someone on LinkedIn is similar to being friends with someone on Facebook. A first-degree connection means you added someone to your network or they added you to theirs. A second-degree connection is a person who’s connected with someone in your network but not directly to you. It may seem complicated, but once you’re part of the network for a few days, you’ll get the hang of it.

When connecting with a business professional, as a rule of thumb, don’t use the standard connection request that’s automatically populated when you add someone. Rather than keeping the request “(Your name) would like to add you to their professional network on LinkedIn,” make it more personal. You want to build these professional relationships, so tailor your connection request to what you know about that person, even if you need to do a little research on them first.  

Be Proactive
If you’re interested in a specific company, you can follow them on LinkedIn, and all of their account updates will show up on your homepage feed. This will allow you to keep track of what’s going on with the company, help you understand more about it and the mission, and notify you about any available positions with the company. 

Introduce Yourself
Once you’ve connected with someone at a company where you’re interested in working, you can ask for an introduction to one of their connections. This means that your connection will link you to the person to whom you want to be introduced. You may want to ask them to introduce you to a hiring manager or someone in the department where you’d like to work. 

There are many other tools on LinkedIn that could come in handy when you’re searching for a job. Sign up right away to reap all of the benefits that come from this user-friendly, business-oriented social networking site. Good luck!