From time to time, Joshua Waldman hears from clients looking for jobs that LinkedIn just doesn’t work.
“My response is simple, ‘Have you been using it actively, or just waiting for opportunities to fall into your lap?’ ”
The key to success on LinkedIn is creating a nice-looking profile (visit here to find out if yours is good enough) and then reaching out to people. Joshua recommends setting a goal of contacting at least three people every day.
He quotes Mark Zuckerberg, who said the power of Facebook is Engineered Serendipity when discussing the networking power of all social media.
“You can engineer your own serendipity simply by putting yourself out there more,” he says. “Post. Connect. The more you do, the more chance something great will come to you.”
Joshua is the founder of Career Enlightenment, which among other things, offers professional LinkedIn Profile writing services. Here, he discusses best practices for using LinkedIn and other social media when hunting for your next job. Read on:
Tell us about Career Enlightenment. What services do you offer? Who should be using them?
We offer Professional LinkedIn Profile writing services, training and certification classes. Any job seeker who knows the importance of LinkedIn for their success should be working with a professional writer.
We also work with schools and government organizations to teach them how to teach social media job search skills.
What are the smartest things everyone searching for a job right now should be doing?
That’s where jobs come from way more than job boards.
For example, my wife just graduated from school and was looking for work. She did the job board thing. But then we had some friends over for dinner and their daughter works for a temp agency. So Lily, my wife, followed up and got in their database; and her resume was flagged as a referral.
Several months later, she got a call to see if she can start the very next day at a medical imaging center. No one else was called for this opportunity. She had no competition at all.
That’s the power of networking.
How should job seekers be using social media?
Social media is an extension of someone’s networking. That’s the whole point. Every online decision you make will either improve or break down your networking.
For example, do your profiles make it easy for other people to know what you do and how you can add value to them?
Do your posts enhance your personal brand or detract from it?
When you message someone, are you taking their point of view, or are you just asking for favors?
What shouldn’t they be doing on social media?
Beyond the obvious (not posting inappropriately), the biggest mistake I see people make is not posting frequently enough.
Believe it or not. Maybe there’s a shyness, or an apology people feel. But you have every right in the world to share your voice, and for that matter to reach out to new people and ask for the connection.
Here are my recommended daily averages for posting to the big three:
Facebook: Three to five times/day
Twitter: Five to 20 times/day
LinkedIn status updates and/or groups: One to two times per day
What are some best practices for writing your LinkedIn profile?
The big gotcha when I teach resume writers this skill is to stop copying someone’s resume and putting it online.
Your LinkedIn profile is not your online resume. It’s a platform for creating meaningful connections.
When writing a LinkedIn profile, my writers always start from scratch and they focus on storytelling in the first person.
The reason why this works so well is that the reader of your profile has a screen up in front of them – about the same distance away from where you would be if you two were having coffee. It’s a very intimate medium.
When they read your profile, they’ve already looked at your photo, so they have your voice running in their head. So you want to talk to them like you would anyone you were having coffee with.
Another biggie is the use of the professional headline. Most people just have their job title there.
Although it’s good to have your job title there, chances are it hasn’t even come close to using up all 120 characters of space in that area. This is a great opportunity to tell someone why they should click on your profile out of all the others on the search results page.
How are employers researching recruits online today?
According to Jobvite, about 94 percent of all recruiters surveyed use LinkedIn to source candidates.
That means they open up a people search, enter some keywords, specify a location, and get a list of possible matches in order of connection. First-degree connections appear first and so forth.
And they look at pictures and headlines to determine which profiles to click on.
What should job seekers do to shore up their online reputations ahead of their job search?
First, you should just Google yourself. Your future boss is doing it right now. Do you like what they’ll see?
If not, you actually need to start publishing more content. This will essentially bury the bad stuff and start to grow your SERP (search engine results page).
A great tool you can use, which is free, is the Brandyourself.com Google audit.
What’s one of your favorite stories about a job hunter leveraging social media to land a job?
I had a blog reader who wanted to work for Symantec in Ohio.
She started networking like crazy with LinkedIn. After three months or so, she saw a job open up on a job board saved search. So she applied.
But then she called her closest contact at Symantec that she cultivated over the previous months to say that she applied and would they mind letting HR know. The contact did this, her resume was flagged as a referral, and she was called the very next day.
A few weeks later she was hired.
This kind of thing happens all the time.
What other tried-and-true advice can you offer job seekers today? Something you find yourself repeating over and over?
First, know your message. Know what you’re good at and why someone would want to hire you, your value.
Second, translate that message into social media profiles. Make sure your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn Profiles all reflect that message clearly. You can also use Instagram to get more social media activity, includes even buy likes on Instagram to help you get more mediatics.
Finally, use that platform to initiate info interviews with as many people as possible. I have some templates you can use for that for free here.