Sunday, April 1, 2012

LinkedIn and Your Next Career Opportunity

If you haven’t heard about LinkedIn, it’s time to crawl out from under the rock you have been sleeping under and move into the 21th Century.  LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking site that allows users to create a professional profile, list their present and past employment, and link up with former and current colleagues.   It is used for professional networking i.e. to develop professional business contacts and it also functions as an electronic resume  LinkedIn is a valuable tool that helps you highlight your many talents and can be the key to your next employment opportunity.

If you don’t already have a profile on LinkedIn, get one.  It is user-friendly, free and millions of working professionals are already on the site.  Those who need guidance can rely on LinkedIn’s online tutorial or enlist help from an experienced friend or tech-savvy teenager.

What to do if you suddenly find yourself out of work, do the following:

Step One:
If you are not already on LinkedIn, create a profile

Step Two:
Complete your LinkedIn profile.  In creating a new profile or editing your current one, populate the following areas:

Professional Headline
In this line, which goes under your name, give a generic description of what you do or a sample job title (for example, Chief Administrative Officer, Chief Human Resources Officer, Student, Currently on Sabbatical). Feel free to label yourself as what you would like to be, rather than limit your future opportunities by what your last job title.

Current Position
If you find yourself out of work, the “Current” heading should be deleted. Before you do that, though, cut and paste your previous company and job title into the “Past” section. Then click “edit” and “delete,” and make the “Current” heading disappear. You will see that your job shows an end date.  N.B.  There is no requirement that you include the month on your end date.
You can get rid of the end date by editing/re-pasting the entry and removing the reference to the ‘month’ and leaving only the ‘year’.

HINT:
Once you have created your LinkedIn profile, you will see that you can join up to 50 groups.  If you are job seeking, it is best that you join as many of the professional networking sites as you can.  Your networking groups should be divided into 4 categories: job search groups, groups that cater to your profession or industry, groups that may not be in your industry, but are within commuting distance, and OPEN Networkers [Open networkers often have a LION tag somewhere in their profile.  The LION acronym stands for LinkedIn Open Networker.  This tag is used to show other LinkedIn members that they are interested in increasing the size of their contact list.  N.B.  If you see a profile that has an e-mail address in the heading, such as mine does, it also means that the user is open to invitations to network.]

A profile on LinkedIn is not meant to replace job-hunting tactics, but rather augment them.  As a job candidate, you can expect that all hiring mangers will search for your name on all of the social media sites to get of sense if who you are before they will ever put you on a list of candidates to consider calling in for an interview.  The ‘up-side’ for candidates, is that they can also see who has been looking at their profile and this information is good to have.

Losing a job can happen to anyone, anytime.  A job loss is no reflection on you, or your ability.  Think of this as a time to reaffirm or change your goals and a time for you to test your metal and get on with the job of finding your next career opportunity. 

Good luck!  Let me know if any of the information on this blog post helps.


Copyright © 2012, Career Matters. All Rights Reserved. Permission to Reprint: This article may be reprinted, provided it appears in its entirety with the following attribution: Copyright © 2012, Career Matters. Reprinted by permission of the author, Mary Salvino. “Career Matters” is a blog authored by Mary Salvino, Senior Consultant for SMART Career Planning.com that is dedicated to those who are seeking advice on managing their career and future job opportunities. We welcome readers to share their experiences, post their comments or ask questions about career related matters. This blog is also dedicated to those who stand a little taller each time they picked themselves up after failing and those who gained the wisdom and humility from those experiences to help others do the same. For any questions or comments that are better addressed privately, please feel free to e-mail Mary directly at Mary.Salvino@shaw.ca