(NEWS CENTER) - LinkedIn is a social media website designed to help people connect in a professional way. It's designed to be different from Facebook and Twitter, and the companies goal is to help people find jobs through establishing connections. Here are some tips on how to get started using LinkedIn and some advice on how it can help you find a job.
What is LinkedIn:
-Think of LinkedIn as a social network for your resume and for building your professional contacts.
-LinkedIn is not as "social" as Facebook or Twitter. It's all business, and at the core, building your resume. LinkedIn is a professional tool for medium, to high, end jobs.
-If your using the service to find a job, DON'T link your Facebook or Twitter accounts to your LinkedIn account. While it might seem like a good idea, it could be a bad move. On Facebook, and Twitter, we often post about anything, but if your party pictures show up on your LinkedIn page it could affect your chances at landing a job. Think of this as, what would I want my boss or future boss to see?
-Post your resume manually. While the service offers an option to upload it, if you manually enter it, you can re-edit it in the future more easily.
What are "Groups"
-To be successful at getting a job through LinkedIn, you want to find, and join, as many "groups" as you can. The more "groups" you join, the more people you will meet and connect with - opening up more leads to job openings.
-"Groups" are organized by specific jobs and/or style of jobs. There are also a lot of alumni groups for certain jobs - "I used to work there" type of groups.
-The "groups" are a great way to get ideas, tips, or suggestions of people you should connect with or direct you to where to look for jobs. They can even suggest other groups to get into.
-Connections are broken down into three levels: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. 1st is someone you know first hand (someone you have personally worked with). 2nd is a "friend of a friend." a co-worker introduced me and connected us. And 3rd is "I don't know you, but I have found you in a group and would like to connect with you." It's basically a professional friend request to a perfect stranger that you would like to connect with.
-Once you have established some connections, it's time to get a recommendation or give a recommendation.
-Ask the people you know and trust to give you a recommendation. This should be just a few sentences from someone you know basically talking you up on your profile. Once you start the recommendation process you can enter in more detail about your current or past working relationship to help strengthen the recommendation.
-It's good to offer up a recommendation to someone if you are also asking for one.
Should I stick with the free version of LinkedIn or buy into the paid?
-The free version grants you most of the access you could possibly need.
-The paid version allows you to see exactly who has looked at your profile and allows you "inmail." Which is basically their internal messaging service. So if you see someone has checked out your profile, you can message them. You can also just use their email -- which is posted for free.
-The paid version will also suggest what companies are hiring and suggest companies that you should look at. A lot of recruiters are on the paid version and will encourage you to be paying too. If you want a stronger relationship with recruitment services then consider it, but most don't need to pay for LinkedIn.
-LinkedIn works best for job-hunting if you use it every day. It's a tool to get a job, but it only works as well as the work you put into it.
-Beef up your profile, polish your resume, and strengthen your connections (recommendations). Use the groups to connect with people, and companies, each time you do -- your a little closer to your next job.
-Don't go into it (or use it) like Facebook or Twitter.
-Lots of job recruiters are using LinkedIn. It's still growing in use and popularity. It's still in its infancy compared to Facebook and Twitter.
*-National un-friend day is Thursday, November 17th, so it's a good time to clean house if you're at all worried about your Facebook page affecting your job hunt.