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Posted: December 15, 2010

Top 10 LinkedIn tips for job seekers

A great way to plug in and network

John Heckers

LinkedIn is an essential tool in your job search. If you're not using LinkedIn, you're not really searching for a job. Here are some vital tips to help you stand out from the crowd and get noticed by prospective employers, as well as finding great people with whom to network.

1). If you're "in transition," say so. Don't let your last company stay as the current company on your profile. Employers often search for those who note that they're looking. And while there is some discrimination against the unemployed, that discrimination will occur whether they know you're unemployed up front, or learn it further down the road.

2). State, in the company area, your professional level. Rather than saying "I'm an IT executive in transition," say, "I'm a CIO in transition seeking similar position." This helps people who are searching for people at your level to find you which, strangely enough, dovetails with your goal of being found.

3). Join tons of groups. By joining groups you are opening yourself to being invited, as well as being found. A great deal of the activity of LinkedIn takes place in the groups. LinkedIn allows you to join up to 50 groups. I tell my clients to belong to 45. This lets you accept a new one.

4). Get rid of some groups. Try to make almost all of your groups professional or job help groups. There are lots of similar interest groups on LinkedIn, like "Astrologers United." These folks may be fun to talk with, but finding you a job? It just isn't in the stars.

5). Be careful what you post and comment on. Keep in mind that your connections can see what you're posting in the groups, as well as you comments. Don't make political comments, blast someone or be otherwise controversial. Be polite and try to stick to professional comments and postings.

6). Don't sell anything or beg for a job. LinkedIn is like an old-fashioned gentlemen's club. Lots of quiet business goes on, but noisy business is frowned upon. Make connections and cultivate relationships. Do not shamelessly promote yourself, your product or your service on LinkedIn. The prevalence of this is already getting lots of people upset.

7). Post true networking events but don't post promotions. Ask yourself if the networking event will actually be helpful to others on the group, as opposed to selling or promoting something. Don't post anything to do with multi-level marketing or other questionable "business opportunities." If it is a helpful class - post it. If it is a true networking event - post it. But don't try to sell something on LinkedIn. If the networking event will truly help others, pass it on, put it on your Facebook wall, Tweet it, and let others in your network benefit as well.

8). Don't flag someone else's post as a promotion or a job unless you own the group. It is really rude to flag someone else's (especially a competitor's) post as a promotion or a job. Let the owners do that if they wish. Don't be a "snitch" unless the content is truly inappropriate.

9). Put up a picture and make it professional. I saw a pic on a job-seeker's profile today that was of her in a baseball cap. Gee...that's professional. Your pic should be a close head and shoulders shot with you in business/professional attire or (if employed) business casual attire. It should be you alone. It should not be "sexy." It should not have a pet, spouse, child, car or appliance in it with you. Just you. Alone. Looking like you want to be hired.

10). Accept all invitations. There are too many reasons to accept all invitations to list them here. You might not be interested in the individual who is inviting you, but you might be interested in someone in their network. And remember, the "new" LinkedIn on the free account only lets you see first names of third degree contacts and people not in your network. So it is to your supreme advantage to have as many first and second degree contacts as possible.

Want more expert LinkedIn tips? I highly recommend Mike O'Neil's and Lori Ruff's books on being a LinkedIn Rock Star here. They've helped me and my clients a great deal.

LinkedIn is a valuable tool if used correctly. Even if they move (as I think they intend) to a paid service, they're essential for job hunters and serious networkers. Follow the above tips, and some more found here, and you'll become a LinkedIn star.


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John Heckers, MA, CPC, BCPC was an Executive, Relationships, Life and Spiritual Coach in Denver with 30 years of experience  helping people with their lives, relationships and careers.

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Readers Respond

John, Thank you for aggregating this terrific tip list for Linked In users. I absolutely agree with every point - except #10. I know each person in my connection list personally. Here are the reasons to filter and scrutinize connections: 1. There is an implied personal relationship between you and your connections - when someone asks me for an introduction to one of them - I can proudly say YES! 2. You are who you know - I receive invitations from some people who I believe would not be the best company for me and my connections - I don't want my connections abused by someone who is really only looking to promote their wares - or selfishly promote themselves. 3. Your connections are your personal capital - hold them in the highest regard and be prepared to help them whenever they ask. Happy Holidays! Kimberly By Kimberly Lucas on 2010 12 15

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