8 Tips on Using LinkedIn to Get the Job You Want

One social media site that’s sure to help build your career is LinkedIn. Statistics show that 96% of recruiters are on LinkedIn, and they’re using it to find talent. So if you’re not on LinkedIn already, it’s absolutely worth your time to set up a profile.

Here are some tips to help you create a profile that will get you noticed by recruiters.

1. Make sure your profile is 100% complete. Not only does this give recruiters easy access to the information they want and increase your chance of being found, it also sends a message that you’re thoughtful, meticulous, and you get things done. Not 75% done, but 100% done.

2. Be thoughtful about your profile picture. Find or take a high-quality photo that represents you as the kind of person who would be hired for the job you want. Make sure you’re dressed appropriately (if you’re not sure how to dress, check out the profiles of people who have the kind of job you want). Make sure you look friendly. Make sure the photo looks professional—no pets, friends, family, vacation pics, or babies on this one.

3. Make yourself easy to find. LinkedIn allows you to choose custom URLS, and this is one of the first things you should do. It’s a lot easier to promote than the long, standard URL that comes with your profile when you first set it up. And if a recruiter does find your profile, make sure it’s easy to contact you by adding your email address in the contact section. You’ll also want to make sure that your profile contains keywords that a recruiter might be searching for when they’re looking for the right candidate for their team.

4. Include info that immediately catches the viewer’s attention. You’re not limited to a one-page piece of paper with LinkedIn like you are with a resume, so take advantage of that. Include things like past achievements, multimedia, and links to past projects. These all need to be relevant to the type of job you want now.

5. Make good connections. You want to have at least 50 connections, and you want these to be your industry peers, past bosses, coworkers, and clients, or people you want to work with in the future. You also want to solicit strategic recommendations from people who know you’ll do a great job. And you want to join Groups that are relevant to your career and participate in these groups. The knowledge you get and the connections you make will be invaluable.

6. Use some of LinkedIn’s bells and whistles. Write a profile headline that succinctly articulates what sets you apart from other candidates. Add a short summary (2-3 paragraphs) that gives an overview of your qualifications. Comb through your endorsements and make sure they give a very clear picture of who you are and what you can do. If they’re all over the place and tell a story that doesn’t help you get the job you want now, clean them up.

7. Remember to be human. LinkedIn is more robust but less formal than a resume. So be appropriately conversational. Use the first person. Avoid industry jargon, and demonstrate that you’re passionate and excited about your field. You want to leave a recruiter with the impression that you’re the kind of person that they want on their team.

8. Be engaged. You can’t just set up a LinkedIn profile and forget about it. You need to participate. Update your status with interesting news and links that are relevant to your field. But remember it’s not Facebook. LinkedIn is a social place to show your professional side, so keep personal stuff on a more appropriate social site.