Goodbye paper resumes and hello online profiles!  As you are likely aware, social media has opened up an entirely new world of branding yourself as a job candidate and seeking out open positions.  One social media platform that we’d specifically like to highlight is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is one of the best professional networking sites on the market right now and has great features to help launch your career. Here are a few of our professional recruiters’ pointers when it comes to utilizing LinkedIn:

Completely and accurately fill out your profile: This helps give others viewing your profile the full scope of your profession and what you represent. LinkedIn will take you through each step of the process and will instruct you on how to get your profile 100% complete. A more detailed profile will increase your potential of being contacted by prospective employers who fit what you are looking for; thoroughly outlining your skill sets, interests, and goals makes it easier for employers to discern if you will fit their available position, saving both of you time and energy. This will come as a disappointment to all of you individuals out there who hate getting your picture taken, but a photo is required for a complete profile on LinkedIn. Please note that this should be a professional photo!

Ask for recommendations: People love reading reviews, especially perspective employers. The recommendation feature in LinkedIn allows outside viewers to obtain an advance reference on you and your skills. You can obtain references from colleagues, people you’ve done business with or even acquaintances who can speak to your business acumen. If you currently don’t have any recommendations, don’t be afraid to ask! Feel free to reach out and request this favor of your peers; they will likely be asking you to return the favor on THEIR professional profile as well!

Tell people who you are: Make sure people know about YOU, not just your job history. Utilize the professional summary section highlight your skills and attributes and depict your “story.” Also, be sure to use industry specific key words to help optimize your skills and interests in prospective search strings.

Build up your network: By adding connections, you increase the likelihood that people will see your profile first when they’re searching for someone to hire or do business with. You can find connections by connecting with those you work/worked with, have done business with, went to school with or anyone who is a friend or acquaintance. It has been noted that professionals with more than twenty connections are about 34 times more likely to be approached with a job opportunity; if that’s not reason enough to build up your network then we don’t know what is!  Even beyond getting a job offer, building up your LinkedIn network can be beneficial once you’re in a position and need recommendations on vendors, advice on processes, etc.

Join industry specific groups: In LinkedIn, you have the potential to join a maximum of 50 industry-related groups; so join them! Although you have the flexibility to get creative in the groups you choose to join, make sure you primarily load up on groups that are beneficial to you and your career, and select those that provide you with valuable insight, tips and guidance. Once you’ve joined a group, it’s vital to contribute feedback and participate. You can get involved by posting your comments and feedback on discussion boards and sharing articles. Also, groups that have more members will ultimately create more visibility for you.

With over 100 million users, LinkedIn gives you access to more professionals than ever before; utilize this network to your advantage and leverage it to get in front of the right people. What are you waiting for? Get started today!