Social Media for the Security Cleared Job Seeker, LinkedIn

Posted by Kathleen Smith

LinkedIn was launched in Reid Hoffman’s living room in 2003 and in this LinkedIn social origins CNN interview, Reid Hoffman shares how he started LinkedIn. LinkedIn had 40 million users in 2009, but today it has over 100 million. Of all the social networks, LinkedIn has always positioned itself as a professional network to connect professionals for career and business opportunities. When LinkedIn went public in May 2011, it was listed as a job board. Employers have been using LinkedIn from its inception as a tool to source candidates. And while LinkedIn has been around for 8 years, it has only been in the last few years that it has become the premier network for finding a job.

Of all the social networks LinkedIn is the easiest to grow your professional network. LinkedIn recommends people in the LinkedIn network that you should connect with based on the information you provide in your profile, such as where you work and where you went to school.

But how to use LinkedIn for your career search? Volumes have been written and will continue to be written about using LinkedIn for career search. If there is one social network that a security cleared professional might want to use in their career search, they may want to seriously look at LinkedIn.

Here are some basics tips:

1)      Picture – Add a profile picture. The debate goes on as to whether this should be a professional picture or if a more casual picture picture that displays your personality is appropriate. Let the conservatism of the industry you are targeting be your guide.

2)      Industries – Be sure that you have selected the correct work industry for your profile.

3)      Summary – Expand the summary at the top of your profile. Create two to three short paragraphs that include the strategic key words for the types of positions you are seeking. Recruiters search LinkedIn using key word search strings similar to those used on Google, so it’s important to have rich content on your Summary for recruiters to be able to find you. Review your Summary every few weeks to see if it can be improved or revised.

4)      Past Positions – Be sure to include your accomplishment (not responsibilities) in each position vs. just the job title.

5)      Contacts – Access your Settings by moving your cursor over your name in the top right of your home page and click Settings. Under “Select who can see your connections” your options are “Only you” or “Your connections.” If you select “Only you” then anyone who connects to you can only see your shared connections. If you select “Your connections” then anyone connected to you can see all your connections. Someone who is not connected to you on LinkedIn cannot see your connections.

6)      Groups – You can join up to 50 groups and each group has a job board. You can use Groups to actively participate in conversations and engage with other members of the group. Don’t be like a wall flower at a high school dance, participate! To find the groups you would like to participate in, go to the Groups Directory and type in keywords for the types of industries or alumni groups of interest.

7)      Status Updates – Every time you “update” your status on your profile, you show up in your network and remind them that you are there. Update your status daily. If you are trying to establish yourself in one particular community or with a particular kind of expertise, recommend posting a news article each morning with a relevant comment related to that expertise.

8)      Recommendations: – The best way to get recommendations is to give them. Go through each of your past positions and write a recommendation for someone you worked with and request they write a recommendation for you. This is a form of pre-reference checking that potential employers may review and it provides a different viewpoint to aspects of your work style and performance.

9)      Skills – Though it is still in Beta, there is a “Skills” section of LinkedIn. It is good to have your profile listed with specific skills and then you are added to the Skills section. This also helps you expand your network, see what groups are pertinent to your skills and if there are any jobs listed in that specific area.

10)   Applications – There are many Applications that you can add to you LinkedIn account such as SlideShare, TripIt or Amazon Books. If you frequently make presentations a good application is SlideShare, a free service to showcase whitepapers or PowerPoint presentations you have created. You can then showcase any of your presentations on your profile.

11)   Events – Under Applications, you will also find Events which allow you to show any Events that you are attending if they are promoted on LinkedIn. If there are any networking events you’re attending, be sure to see if they are listed on LinkedIn and then mark that you are attending. Many folks like to “link” with others before they attend the event.

12)   Be courteous in asking for and accepting LinkedIn invitations. When connecting with someone new, be sure to customize the invitation to remind a contact how they know you or why the two of you should connect. When someone accepts or sends you an invitation, remember to say thank you.

13)   If you receive unwanted invitations, do click “I Don’t Know This User.” The person will not see the message, so don’t worry about hurting their feelings. If this person is spamming and more people click “I Don’t Know this User” they will be blocked from reaching out to other people.

LinkedIn is constantly evolving, so every month or so you should take a spin through the LinkedIn options to make sure you’re taking full advantage of the functionality and the associated security settings. Any particular questions or concerns come to mind? Please ask!

This entry was posted on Friday, September 23, 2011 7:00 am

One thought on “Social Media for the Security Cleared Job Seeker, LinkedIn”

  1. Very good article, the other thing job seekers should do is connect with recruiters like myself who specalize in helping cleared people find good opportunities, something I have done for 30 years now.

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