Despite exhaustive conversation on the subject, it’s still unclear how much social media impacts your job search. Some hiring managers swear they’d never consider a candidate without reviewing their Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages first. Others insist that these profiles have no predictive impact on job performance.
But there is one clear takeaway message from all of this: Professional, appealing social media profiles simply can’t hurt your chances of landing a job. So think of your social profiles as an opportunity, if not a requirement.
This is especially true of LinkedIn. Setting up a LinkedIn profile takes only a few minutes, and no matter how much information you decide to include on your page, your profile will help, not undermine, your chances of finding a job you love. At a minimum, here are four items that can help your profile attract the attention of recruiters and potential employers.
Once you set up your LinkedIn account, make sure these pieces of information are included:
1. Where you live. Or more accurately, the geographic area where you’re looking for work. You can either be vague and general (as in “New Jersey” or “The Portland metro area”) or you can be very specific (as in “Rockledge, PA” or “Manhattan’s Upper West Side”). But your profile should contain at least one reference to your location. Geographic area is an important consideration for employers, especially those who can’t afford to hire—or consider—candidates who come with relocation expenses. Plus, hiring managers often search based on location, so it’s a necessary piece of info to include.
2. The terms commonly used to describe your industry. Again, vague is fine, but specific is better. You can use terms like “healthcare,” “education,” “pediatric nursing,” “clothing retail,” or “food and beverage distribution.” But include at least one or two descriptions of your industry in your profile summary and your work history.
3. Your job title. You can include the titles of the positions you’ve held in the past, but you should also include at least one reference to the exact title of the position you’re looking for, whether you’ve ever held this role in the past or not. And remember, you’re doing this to find your way into keyword search results, so use terms recruiters will actually be looking for. Choose “IT network implementation specialist,” not “amazing tech wizard.”
4. Recommendations. Allow and encourage others to recommend you for specific skill sets. This doesn’t always mean much, since the site doesn’t explain how your supporters are connected to you (your recommenders could easily be your parents and neighbors). But this is an attractive and attention-getting feature on the site, and if a single glance suggests that you have legions of fans, your profile will warrant a closer look.
Don’t spend hours and hours perfecting your LinkedIn page if those hours might be spent engaged in real life networking. But don’t neglect this opportunity either. LinkedIn can connect you to a vast network of valuable contacts, so find a smart way to put this tool to use during your search.
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