Nearly everyone has a LinkedIn account, but hardly anyone really takes the trouble to complete their profiles or keep them updated. This is a pity, since a lot of executives and industry leaders are active on LinkedIn. Taking the time to build a strong profile increases your chances of catching your future boss’s eye, and LinkedIn is packed with features to make finding your next job easier. Here’s how you can make the most of your LinkedIn profile during your job search.
Make sure to upload a profile picture.
If you’re one of those people who still hasn’t set a profile picture, you’re missing out. According to LinkedIn, users with profile pictures get nine times more connection requests than those without. Your photo doesn’t have to be perfect—it just has to be presentable and professional so that your colleagues can recognize you.
Fill out your profile as carefully as you would a resume.
Just listing your job titles isn’t enough—describe your accomplishments and tasks just the way you would on a print resume. Check for typos, and keep your profile up-to-date, since this shows potential recruiters the progression of your career.
If you’re a creative, you can add links to your portfolio or websites that have published your work. You can also upload documents, PDFs, presentations, or videos of your projects.
Filling out details like your education, location, and industry also helps LinkedIn connect you with employers from the same school, or job opportunities near you. If you’re looking to switch careers, pick the industry you’re interested in joining.
Write a good summary.
Your professional summary is the first thing recruiters look at when they view your profile. According to LinkedIn, a good summary states your interests, skills, experience, and motivation.
Set Your Career Interests
You can manage your Career Interest settings from the dashboard at the top of your profile. Make sure to turn on the option to let recruiters know you’re open to job opportunities.
You can enter the job titles you’re interested in and indicate where you are in your search, whether you’re actively looking, casually applying, or not looking but open to offers. You can also set when you’d like a new job, along with the location and industry you want to work in.
Use the Career Advice Feature
It never hurts to have a mentor, and the Career Advice Feature connects you with people in your field who are outside of your immediate network. You can ask people for tips on switching careers or increasing your chances of getting the job you want. Who knows, you might even run into a mentor who’s looking for potential hires.
Set Up Job Alerts
Search for a job on LinkedIn, then to the upper left corner of the results page, select “Create Search Alert.” The website will send you daily or weekly lists of job openings in the location you specified. You can manage your alerts on the Jobs page, which will also show you positions and companies you might be interested in.
Join groups and follow the companies you dream of working for, along with experts and industry leaders. Not only does this help LinkedIn show you more of the jobs you’re looking for, it also shows recruiters that you like to stay on top of the trends in your field.