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LinkedIn best practices for job seekers

When on the lookout for the best candidates, one of the first things that recruiters and companies do is turn to social media. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter… most of us have integrated these and other social media channels into our personal and professional lives. It is therefore crucial for candidates to make social media effective for them. Here we explain the LinkedIn best practices for job seekers.

As a job seeker you need to be aware of the difference between personal and professional online usage. While your Facebook profile may be for friends and family, your LinkedIn and Twitter should reflect you as a professional. If you aren’t on LinkedIn, you are missing out on being found by prospective new employers. With over 225 million professionals registered, it’s THE number one site where all major companies and recruiters post jobs, and find new hires.

1.    Ensure your profile is up to date and complete to be correctly represented and have optimum chance of being found.

  • Use a catchy headline: This is the first thing that people see, so make sure it’s a good reflection of who you are and what you do. Add any certifications, job title, company name and relevant hobbies you might have.
  • Keep it short and sweet: The summary section allows you to elaborate on your current work or responsibilities as well as what you’ve done in the past. Include things like your personal USP’s, extra (relevant) activities, etc.
  • Showcase your capabilities: Your LinkedIn Experience is your CV; keep it updated and use it to showcase your capabilities – it may just be what your future employer is looking for.
  • Take a good shot: Make sure your profile picture sends the right message. Keep it friendly, open and professional – the way you would want to look during an interview. Preferably, get it done by a professional photographer. That means NO ‘selfies’, beach shots (unless that’s the kind of work you’re in) or bad quality pictures of yourself.
  • Use keywords: Strategically-placed keywords sprinkled throughout your profile will increase your chances of coming up in recruiters’ searches. Include words you think they would use in a search, for example management, quality engineer or medical devices.

2.    Get connected. The more connections you have, the more likely someone in your circle has about a potential new job. Having only a few connections gives an impression of being inexperienced or out of touch with social media. You can easily import your email contacts, search for people by name or company and see who you might have missed using LinkedIn’s People You May Know feature. Connecting with interesting people within your field allows you to see their or similar contacts.

3.    Join relevant groups. Recruiters and other hiring professionals find candidates by using interest groups to head-hunt and post jobs. For example, the Life Sciences Professional Hub is a place for Life Sciences professionals to network, discuss areas of interest and keep up to date on the latest news and job opportunities in their field. Allow your groups to be visible on your profile to increase your chances of meeting other professionals with similar interests. Once you’re accepted, try to participate or even start your own relevant discussions – and be active in the group.

4.    Use skill-endorsements. Include anything from inter-personal skills to IT skills to broaden your capabilities. Your connections can then endorse you for those skills; encourage them to do so by endorsing them for skills – they will receive a message with the option to return the favour with a few simple clicks.

5.    Get recommendations to boost your credibility by asking previous colleagues and managers to write a few lines on what it was like to work with you. Again, if you write them a recommendation first, they will be more likely to return the favour.

6.    Utilize the news feed. Like Facebook, LinkedIn also has a newsfeed, where you can share interesting articles and links which will show on the newsfeeds of your connections, increasing your visibility. You can follow influencers and companies within your interests, then ‘like’, comment or share their updates on your newsfeed. Steer clear of contentious topics such as politics or religion; it can be a touchy subject for some people and you don’t want to inadvertently label yourself.

Panda International makes full use of LinkedIn for finding the best candidates for our clients. If you enjoyed reading this blog, feel free to follow us, connect with our recruiters and join our network for life science professionals or one of our freelance-specific groups!

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