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LinkedIn is still a strong and amazing resource for those looking for a job. For those of you who think it’s as easy as setting up a free profile and jobs will be knocking at your door, think again. Creating a LinkedIn profile and using the site to find your next opportunity is just like trying to build a business. It’s about getting noticed, doing the work, researching your market and being proactive.

I’ve been using LinkedIn for recruiting for over 10 years and it’s still one of my favorite resources to find candidates.

Here are 3 ways for you to use LinkedIn for your job hunt:

Get noticed

As I mentioned, you can’t just join LinkedIn and think you will now be contacted by tons of recruiters and employers just dying to hire you. Getting noticed on LinkedIn entails several things. First and foremost, have your contact information on your profile. I can’t tell you how many people on LinkedIn do not list their contact information  and if you are someone who is actively job searching, then why would you not make it as easy as possible for someone to contact you? Make sure you put your email address and phone number in your profile, as well as in the areas specified for contact information. Another way to get noticed is fill out every section of your profile, including keywords to help you be found for your skills and experience. Try to be as detailed as possible when filling out the sections in your profile and make sure you put a compelling message under your name at the top of your profile.

Look for a decision maker

One of the best ways to avoid the black hole of job searching is to research who the hiring managers are and contact them directly. I know, it sounds scary and most people I talk to about this technique are not excited about it.  They feel that it could hurt their chances instead of help them. Well here’s the thing, your chances can’t be hurt if you aren’t being considered anyway and they don’t know who you are to begin with, so what do you have to lose? If you use the advanced search on LinkedIn, you can search for titles such as “VP of Sales”, “Director of IT”, “President”, “Manager of Marketing.” Once you identify those who most likely would be your boss or be involved in the hiring process, take the initiative to contact them, whether by email or calling them or even sending them your resume through “snail mail”, I mean no one does that these days. Talk about standing out from your competition.

Following companies

Following companies on LinkedIn is a great way to stay up to date on what the company is doing.  Companies push out some great content on their company page such as new products, promotions, events they are holding and even job openings.  Getting this information is a great way to show the company you are aware of who they are and what they do by including it on a cover letter or when reaching out to a hiring manager. You can do a search for the company name and then click on the “follow” link to get updates anytime that company posts something to their page.

There are so many ways that LinkedIn can help you with your career search and these 3 strategies are a great way to start implementing LinkedIn into your job search.

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Helpful LinkedIn Resources

30 Highly Effective Strategies for Attracting Recruiters and Employers to Your LinkedIn Profile 

How to Write a KILLER LinkedIn Profile… And 18 Mistakes to Avoid

LinkedIn For Dummies 4th Edition