If you are an individual who is either unemployed, or employed but looking for a change in company or career, I’m hoping you have already been introduced to the fantastic networking tool of LinkedIn.  If not, let me formally introduce you.  Jobseeker, meet your new best friend in networking and job sourcing.  I hope the two of you have a long and prosperous future together!

Like the rest of social media outlets, LinkedIn has caught fire and grown quite rapidly, with profiles of young professionals, seasoned professionals, entry level employees, directors, job seekers, and hiring managers alike flooding its list of members.  In fact, LinkedIn hit its 100 million member mark back in March of this year; that is a lot of professionals within just a few degrees of you, so it is important to make the most of this networking opportunity.

However, not all of those 100 million members are maximizing their use of the professional social media network.  They create a profile, list a few of their interests and tidbits about themselves, maybe that they love playing fetch with their dog and really like the outdoors, and then sit and wait for someone to reach out them, and discard the tool when they realize their stagnant profile was fruitless.  But it is important to remember that although a social network, LinkedIn is NOT facebook!  People want to know a little more about you than your favorite color.  There is a much more productive approach for using LinkedIn that jobseekers will find renders much better results.

The first step is to treat your profile like a virtual resume for the audience of directors and hiring managers out there, highlighting your skills and goals and where you want to be or where you are as a professional.  You can also use the applications on LinkedIn to attach other pertinent information you wouldn’t be able to include it you were just handing someone a resume, such as attaching your blog to your profile, or links to white papers you might have written, projects you might have worked on, work you have had published, etc.  But the essential step comes AFTER creating your profile.  Don’t just sit there with an inactive profile hoping someone will bite; be proactive and get to work building your network!  The below video from explania.com is an excellent  resource to teach you how to make the most of LinkedIn while on the job search.  Happy hunting!