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Moving On January 14, 2011

Filed under: Ideas,Strategy — Carla Bobka @ 8:25 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

In the survey on topics readers requested I cover this year, LinkedIn and the job hunt came up. So in the spirit of “ask and you shall receive,” here it is.
Unless you live under a rock, you know the U.S. unemployment rate is at a staggering 9.3%. Chances are, like me, you know at least one person who has been out of a job for more than a year. And you probably also know plenty of people who are underemployed. And a whole slew of folks who are miserable in the job they have.
As the economy warms back up, all those people are going to be looking to make a job change. Many online job application tools allow you to add your LinkedIn profile to your application and resume. It is a terrific way to augment what your resume tells people. And unlike your resume, there’s no 1 or 2 page restriction on you LinkedIn profile. Today I’ve put together some resources you can use to better grasp what LinkedIn can do, and help you learn how to do those things well.
There are so many LinkedIn resources available, I’m not going to reinvent the wheel. I am going to point you in the direction of resources I feel are credible.  Before starting SocialPie I worked for a company that specialized in LinkedIn, so I have a lot of experience in the platform. There are plenty of free resources out on the web for you to learn about LinkedIn. In fact, LinkedIn has a wide variety on their own YouTube channel.
Below you will find a list of ideas to help you stand out on LinkedIn and a list of resources to help you use LinkedIn better.
The basics of looking good on LinkedIn:
  1. Polish your profile; It’s not a resume, it’s a summary of your career knowledge. Here are some that are really well written, here. And here. Use them for inspiration.
  2. Polish your picture; Make it professional, make it appropriate for the job you want next. If you’re after a job as negotiator, make yourself look tough. If you are a client liaison, make yourself look approachable. You probably know someone who is a whiz with a camera. Get them to take your picture and do a bit of Photoshop on it. Whiten your teeth, take the pimples off. Whatever – polish it up, it’s your 1st impression.
  3. Job history – include everything since high school. If you don’t know the exact dates, guesstimate. In the description talk about your impact on the business and what you learned from having that job.
  4. Create a network – import your contacts and invite them to connect with you. This is how you see who you know and who they know. It’s vital during an application for a specific job. You can talk to someone who works for a company or used to work for a company.
  5. Join Groups – Groups are great resources whether you’re looking for a job or looking for ideas on a project. There are industry specific groups, trade groups and loosely affiliated groups like GE Alumni. One fantastic group I belong to is Forbes Woman. It is not all women, some men belong as well. Within the group you can ask questions or offer answers to others questions. Forbes Women contains people from all over the world. Join some groups and explore their comment sections. If you don’t like it, unjoin. BTW- this is a great question for networking moments. Ask other people what LinkedIn Groups they get value from.
  6. Q&A – if you want to polish your star as an expert, wade into LinkedIn’s question/answer forum. These questions are for the entire LinkedIn population, not just for a Group’s members. Be helpful, attach relevant links to back up the opinions you express.
  7. Collect recommendations on your profile. Ask people. Remind them of a specific moment in your relationship and what they told you you helped them with. Ask them to frame a recommendation around that moment. When you remind them of the moment you make it easy for them, and they will take the 5 minutes to reply.
  8. Export your profile as a PDF and re-read it. You’ll be amazed at the typos and grammar errors you find by simply looking at it in a different format.
LinkedIn Movies
Here are a handful of YouTube tutorials on job hunting. There are hundreds, so you can watch for hours if your want. If you find one you really like, see if that person has any more in their playlist. The name of the poster is in blue, right beneath the video’s title.
Good luck building your profile. Participating on LinkedIn is worth the effort. Attach your profile 10 minutes at a time. Chunk it out. Ask others to edit for you. Do it for them. Other people describe you better than you’ll describe yourself. Take advantage of that.
One request – make a concerted effort to help those who are unemployed find work. Go out of your way to put their name in front of people you know. You don’t have to vouch for their work, you can just help them market their availability. Trust me, they will appreciate it.
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