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LinkedIn tips to increase probability of a successful job search. By Lauren Celano, CEO Propel Careers 

March 6, 2012 
by Lauren Celano 

Lauren Celano, CEO, Propel Careers wrote this article for Bio Careers as part of her monthly contributions. To learn more about Bio Careers, see link: https://biocareers.com/

In today's competitive marketplace, the ability to differentiate yourself is critical to stand out from the crowd. LinkedIn is such a useful tool for branding yourself, showcasing your background, building connections and job searching in the online world. We are so fortunate to have this tool – it's hard to think how people functioned without it... Many people have asked for my advice on how to best use LinkedIn to search for jobs. Therefore, I decided to write this article to provide tips on how to leverage the value of LinkedIn so that you maximize the value of this tool.

Tip #1: Build out your PROFILE When you build your profile think about who will be reading this information. Your profile should explicitly explain who you are, what experience you have, and what skills you master. Potential employers and also people who you ask for informational interviews, will almost certainly review your LinkedIn profile. The more professional you can make it, the more attractive you become as a candidate. This shows that you are serious about your career and your personal brand. Especially if you are looking for a job, your profile should include additional information such as lab techniques you know, presentations you have given at large conferences, publications you have, etc. Many companies and recruiters use LinkedIn to search for individuals who have specific skills. If you have these in your profile, then you increase the chance of being "found" by an HR person when they search. If you do not have details listed, then your chance of being identified, is almost 0.

LinkedIn is a powerful tool, but so many people do not use it to their advantage. For example, just listing, "Research associate, X Biotech company" or "Ph.d student, X school", without any details about what you have done, provides the reader with little context about your background. If you are a student or postdoc, list information about when you think you will be done. Without this, companies may be reluctant to contact you about jobs since they won't know when you will be done. Recruiting is extremely time consuming for companies, so the easier you can make it for companies to know what you want and when you will be available, the better. To learn specifics about building and taking advantage of your LinkedIn account, use the LinkedIn learning center (http://learn.linkedin.com/what-is-linkedin/ ) Don't forget, your online presence is often the first thing that potential employers see, so don't lose the chance to make a positive first impression.

Tip #2: Have a PROFESSIONALLY LOOKING LinkedIn picture. In general people are extremely visual and usually remember faces more than names. For example, if you meet a person at a networking event and send a LinkedIn invitation afterwards, your profile picture will immediately help them to connect your name with your face. Sometimes people may attend a few networking events throughout a day or week, so pictures are so much more helpful than only names. Your image is part of your brand – you should make the effort to have a professional photo that will be noticed by your colleges and perhaps your future employer. Ideally you should have a professional take your photo, but since most digital cameras work well enough for this purpose, digital cameras can usually work. Have a friend take your photo, stand against a blank wall, avoid objects of distraction in the photo, have a professional outfit on, and smile. This extra effort will go a long way.

Tip #3: Make sure that your name on your LinkedIn Account is the same as your resume Potential employers will almost always look at an individuals LinkedIn account as they are reviewing resumes. If they cannot find you on LinkedIn, it can create a red flag. If the name on your resume is different than the name on your LinkedIn account, you should modify one of them to make them the same so that you are easily found.

Tip #4: Link into people that you know. As you grow your LinkedIn network, you should only connect with trusted contacts. In this way, your network becomes personal and actually useful for you as you grow in your career. Aim for quality not for quantity. Adding a lot of people just to increase your numbers actually dilutes the value of your own personal LinkedIn network.

Tip #5: Do not send a LinkedIn invitation to a hiring manager right after you submit your resume Oftentimes, people seem to use LinkedIn so casually. When you apply for a job, it is not recommended to link in to the hiring manager. They usually don't know you, so why would they connect with you? People, especially as they become more senior in their career, are very careful and selective about their LinkedIn connections. People like to have individuals in their network who they know and have something in common with – perhaps they worked together, went to school together, did a project together, etc. If you ask someone to link in to you who does not know you, it may make them uncomfortable and may even hurt your application chances.

Tip #6: Join groups to be updated on areas of interest If you are looking to learn more about a certain area, join a group in that area on LinkedIn. There are thousands of groups in LinkedIn. When you are new to the job search process, using this feature is extremely valuable to get a lay of the land in your particular field. To find groups, you can search for them by keyword under group categories. Use the following link to learn more about groups in your LinkedIn profile http://learn.linkedin.com/groups/. You may be surprised by how many groups may be relevant to you. Also, you can become an active member or a group and share your expertise's. This can build thought leadership.

Tip #7: If you send someone a LinkedIn request, mention where you met them or why you are connecting with them. People are busy and have a lot of things in their mind. The easier you can make it for people to remember how they met you or what you are looking for from them, the better. If you met someone at a international networking event and are following up with a LinkedIn request, say in the subject line, "international networking event follow up" and in the body of the LinkedIn request, say, Dear X, It was a pleasure meeting you at the international networking event on DATE. To follow up, I would like to link into you so that we can keep in touch" or something like this. It is amazing how many times people don't do this. I wonder how many LinkedIn requests do not get answered because people cannot remember the context in which they met someone.

The connections you develop over time are a valuable part of your professional career, respect your network, be responsive, and finally, "keep it human".

 

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