Harnessing the power of LinkedIn

ASHLEY CAHILLANE, Career Coach

LinkedIn is such an enormous part of the recruitment world – and yet, the feedback we have got from recent columns on the topic, and when working directly with clients, is that many few people don’t really understand how to use the platform.

By Ashley Cahillane, LinkedIn Expert

Here are some more tips on using LinkedIn:

Unearth opportunities by building a quality LinkedIn network

In terms of LinkedIn generating opportunities for the job seeker, there’s no substitute for developing a quality network of connections to establish concrete openings. While many people complete their profile and pause their LinkedIn activity while waiting for a job opportunity to reveal itself, there are others who harness the resource that is the LinkedIn network.

The initial step to complete here is to identify the key players in your industry i.e. who should know what I have to bring to the table? While you’ll no doubt have a target list of potential recruiters prepared, take time to reflect on your personal network which potentially could unearth valuable leads. It’s at this stage that LinkedIn’s InMails service can provide value by giving you a direct link to your target without the need for an introduction from a third party.

Some investigative work will enable you to ascertain the groups your target audience follow. Joining these groups will permit you to recognise the pertinent issues within your industry, while being exposed to new connections and potential leads. It might also be worthwhile here to filter the group conversations to establish who is providing the most input.

When posting content to the group forum, avoid the thinly-veiled sales message to highlight your availability for employment, but rather concentrate on provide value to the forum to establish your worth. Initiate interesting discussion by posting intriguing questions, and be mindful of your notification settings to ensure you can capitalise on comments which have been posted by your network.

Set your LinkedIn profile apart from the competition

For the more reserved professional, the daunting prospect of networking can be mitigated through the optimisation of the LinkedIn platform. Just as each individual has developed their own skills in real-world networking, subtle aspects of your LinkedIn activity can differentiate your profile from those who have set up a profile ‘for the sake of having one’.

The first element deals with introductions and the importance of making them personable. If there’s someone which you feel you should be connecting with, your connection request recipient will appreciate that you’ve taken the time to document why you want to connect, or to acknowledge any successful working experience you’ve with this person. Be conscious that each interaction will be a reflection of your professional brand, so take care against leading with the standard ‘I’d like to connect with you on LinkedIn’, or worse, appearing rude which will only damage your job seeking campaign.

All too often, generic LinkedIn recommendations are produced to complete a given profile. Set your profile apart from the non-specific recommendations by requesting specific elements of your professional resources to be commended. A sincere request is far more likely to yield a response that a basic request from those who just wish to complete their profile.

Additionally, it’s also important to be sincere with LinkedIn endorsement by ensuring your recipient possesses the skill you’re endorsing. You don’t want your judgement to be seen in a negative light by your network.

To obtain Sli Nua Careers bank of columns on LinkedIn, email getthatjob@slinuacareers.com with ‘LinkedIn columns’ in the subject line.