Almost three years into my career and I have worked for three companies, all of which have been in the fields of Accounting and Finance. More importantly, all of which were acquired with little no effort on my part aside from keeping up with my Linkedin profile. Now I don’t necessarily condone jumping from job to job as I have but in the job hunting world, Linkedin is everything.
When I first created my profile, it was out of obligation to the good grades I promised my parents that I would make while in college. At the time, I thought it was just another site that nobody used and grudgingly built my profile.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. With a few internships under my belt and a college degree on the horizon my job search began, and for whatever reason (at the time I would have called it desperation) I logged into the old LinkedIn account in hopes of landing my first real job – after retrieving my forgotten password of course.
It happened back then, and it has happened to times since. I was reached out to by three separate people regarding open positions in the fields of Finance and Accounting. These days, internal and commissioned recruiters are relying on LinkedIn as their sole means for hiring so having an up to date profile and as many connections and affiliations with groups is an absolute must.
It is an opportunity to brand yourself. It is an interactive resume that is (or should be) constantly evolving and growing as you are in your career. If it is properly managed, it will be your #1 cheerleader that screams, HIRE ME!!
So you ask, how can I create this brand for myself?
Build your fan base
If you haven’t already “linked-in” with every single one of your co-workers or professional connections, now is the time. It is a great way to stay in touch with old co-workers ( of whom you may eventually need a reference from ) and to help advance your current career by way of building relationships For example, Linkedin alerts you when someone’s job title has changed. Now you can be one of the first to personally congratulate them. In the world of networking small gestures like this can make all the difference. It is also probably a good idea to have at least a few people of whom you have worked closely with leave referrals on your page. That way, when a recruiter lands on your profile for a position they are trying to fill, they can have the confidence in referring you if they see one or more of your superiors or co-workers already has.
Keep it up-to-date
The choice of words that you use when describing your prior and current experience and skill sets is key. This is how you will show up in more searches. Think of it as your personal webpage. The more hits your page has, the more likely it is to turn up as the first result of Google. In Linkedin land, if you are once or twice removed from a recruiter through the connections you have in common, the more likely you are to be a top return in their searches. Keywords play a huge factor in this. I am a Financial Analyst, so analyst is my keyword and I make sure to emphasize it throughout my profile. Not surprisingly, I have at least 3 recruiters a month reach out to me for open analyst jobs.
So it is that easy. Whether you are just starting off or you are well on your way to retirement, LinkedIn is a powerful tool that everyone should be using to keep in touch with some of our most important resources- the ones that get you one step closer to financial independence.