NEWS + ADVICE
How to Leverage LinkedIn and Social Networks
Our top tips to effectively use social networking for job search and career development.
1. Selecting Social Networks
LinkedIn is not a silver bullet, so don’t put all your eggs in one basket. If you’re searching for a job, know that not all recruiters use LinkedIn. Many recruiters that do, use it on the back end once they have already found you – versus using it as a sourcing tool. Depending on your profession, there are more specialized online communities that may provide much greater value. For example in the hacking community, Twitter is often a better option. If you’re a software developer, check out GitHub. Or if you want to work in state, federal, or local government, look at GovLoop.
You should be dressed for an interview in your LinkedIn profile picture. If you’re transitioning to the civilian sector, skip the uniform. Some individuals with security clearances choose not to include a photo, and that’s okay if that’s your preference. Please no selfies or props in your picture.
3. Professional Headline
This is prime territory for communicating who you are and what value you offer to others. This should focus on your career and be forward looking. Take a look at the profiles of others in your desired profession, and pull the best of what they have to offer. Use an actual relevant job title, coupled with some of your key strengths, separated by the pipe character ( | ). Steer clear of vague soft skills in this section.
Your summary should be a slightly more robust version of your elevator pitch or personal introduction. You need to quickly and effectively communicate who you are and the value you bring. Be sure to use terminology that is relevant to your profession.
Just as with your resume, focus on what you accomplished with the responsibilities you were given when describing your experience. The most recent 10 years are most critical when it comes to job search.
6. Personalized URL
The default URL for your profile is long and ugly. Your goal is to shorten it to your name – add numbers to your name as necessary. Then use that shortened personalized URL on your resume, in your email address, or on business cards you use for your job search.
7. Connecting with Other Users
Who you connect with depends on your career path. If you’re in the cleared community, most likely you will only want to connect with people you know or whom you’ve met. But if you’re looking to relocate to a new city in a non-cleared position, you should be much more open.
Recommendations can be powerful and are sometimes the only thing a potential hiring manager will look at on your profile. You want recommendations from your peers and subordinates, not only your superiors. You control whether or not a recommendation is visible.
9. Be a Better Applicant
Before applying for a job, always check your social networks to see if you have any contacts that can give you intel to help you be a better applicant. On LinkedIn, real gold can be found in your 2nd and 3rd degree connections. Your ultimate goal would be a referral: One in seven employee referrals are hired, while only one in 100 general candidates are hired.
10. Be Professional
When you are on a more professional platform such as LinkedIn, avoid Liking, Sharing or Commenting on things that may be viewed as unprofessional, such as posts about religion or politics. It can only harm you.
11. Don’t Put Your Security Clearance on Your LinkedIn Profile
We surveyed recruiters and hiring managers and found that 1 in 5 would not consider hiring someone who put their clearance on their profile. It’s viewed particularly negatively in the Intelligence Community. And you don’t know which companies, recruiters or hiring managers are in that 20%.