You need to access all resources available to you when you are looking for a new job. You can’t rely solely on your personal network, job fairs, and interview skills, even though each of these are critically important to the process. Today, you have to think outside the box and take advantage of each opportunity available to you. This includes joining the LinkedIn community.
LinkedIn has become an invaluable resource when seeking new employment as it allows you to digitally display your skills and education. You can find open positions in your area. You can even apply directly to jobs through this online community. This free site gives you near unlimited access to connect with those on a professional level and even receive virtual recommendations from people you’ve worked with in the past.
In fact, in today’s technological world, becoming a member of LinkedIn is more of a requirement than a request. Just as you have to write up a resume, you really do need to fill out a LinkedIn profile. So, what does that look like?
When completing your LinkedIn profile you are going to want the information to be as correct and professional as possible. Think of it as a space that will help you sell yourself. You want to put your best self forward, from using your real name to adding a flattering image, and including information that shows you are knowledgeable in the space where you are looking for a job – whether that’s customer services experience and accolades or related certifications and classes that have prepared you for your next position.
Like your resume, your LinkedIn profile isn’t just a list of what you’ve done; it is the perfect place to highlight of your accomplishments and goals.
Now, you might be thinking that this sounds like a lot of work. You’ve already made an appointment to visit the Portland career center; you’ve updated the physical copy of your resume, and you are letting those around you know that you’re on the hunt for an open position, if they hear anything. Good, because these are all important steps to take during the job search process, but the data now show the massive value of joining and taking the time to completely fill out your LinkedIn profile. So, let’s get to the numbers.
LinkedIn has become such a force and invaluable free resource that two people join every two seconds and now it boasts more than 106 million unique visitors and counting. Imaging all the professional connections you can make!
And, to make it even more accessible, they’ve launched an incredibly useful application that is used by more than 60% of users. This makes sense given our propensity to do everything on our phone nowadays, including searching for a new job.
Is English not your first language? That’s ok too as LinkedIn is inclusive. In fact, it is currently available in 24 languages and reaches more than 200 countries and territories. So, whether you want to highlight your proficiency in multiple languages or apply for jobs across the world, then LinkedIn is right for you.
But, LinkedIn is only as valuable as the time you put into it, just like anything else. The data confirms that really taking the time to properly update your profile enhances your success on the platform. For example, if you add a professional profile photo on your profile, you are 14 times more likely to be seen by someone interested in a candidate like yourself. Add more than one picture and you are 21 times more likely to have your profile viewed and 36 times more likely to receive a direct message. Then, if you add your skills to your profile, your views are amplified another 13 times.
Still not interested in joining LinkedIn? Then this next tidbit might change your mind. More than 44 percent of those who joined the platform are currently making over $75,000 per year; significantly more than the average American salary of just over $44,000.
While LinkedIn is not a panacea, today it has become an enormously vital step to getting a job. However, don’t forget to balance your time effectively when on the job search.
In addition to joining LinkedIn, make sure you visit your local Portland career center, like the free one we offer through Goodwill Job Connection. You will be able to make an appointment to speak one-on-one with an employment specialist who you help guide you through to the path of success. Your meeting might include phone and in-person interview practice, resume enhancements, filling out applications properly, or even directing you to an upcoming job fair where you can meet face-to-face with an employer who is looking for a candidate just like you.
While the process to finding your next position may take longer than you’d like, do not give up hope. There are always more resources available and more people you have not yet connected with who can help you along your journey.
Get started soon though as today you can expect the job search process to take at least five weeks, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with a more likely timeframe of around 14 weeks. Don’t squander this time. Instead, treat your search like a real job. Even dress like you’re heading to work and spend time at the library updating your information to escape from the house for a while. Also consider volunteering or learning new skills; all of which will make you an even more competitive candidate when the next great opportunity presents itself.