Using LinkedIn to Better Network and Find a Better Job

Earlier this year, in my blog post “7 Ways To Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile,” I stated, “If you’re a networker, then write your summary and job description on LinkedIn like a networker. If you’re looking for a job, then write your summary and job descriptions for potential employers.”

One of our readers asked, “What would the difference be in the summaries and job descriptions?” Well, here goes.

If you’re looking for a job, your LinkedIn summary and job description are going to read more like a resume. Wait though — don’t start copying and pasting your resume into your LinkedIn profile just yet. Instead, put some effort into customizing it for LinkedIn for the employers you want to view your profile. After all, LinkedIn is not Monster or CareerBuilder.

On your LinkedIn profile, it’s essential that you state what you’re looking for in a job, or simply state your career objective. Remember to include all those qualities that you offer a potential future employer. If you want to be a project manager, then you should expound about your project management prowess. If you want an IT job, then your summary and job descriptions should be peppered with keywords that speak to that industry. It’s vital that you use keywords within any industry you are targeting. Without them, your LinkedIn profile is not going to attract the kind of hiring managers you want contacting you.

If you’re looking to use LinkedIn as a networking tool, and I think it is the best social media site for that purpose, then your profile summary and job descriptions should reflect that goal. Your summary should let potential contacts know how the connection between the two of you will be to their advantage. If you’re selling “solutions”, then your LinkedIn profile better reflect how those solutions made somebody’s life better or some company richer.

If you’re unsure how to transform your LinkedIn profile into the effective networking tool it can be, then simply search your own LinkedIn contacts for someone who does a good job of it. If you’re new to LinkedIn and don’t have a ton of contacts yet then use LinkedIn’s powerful search tool to explore profiles of folks that do rank in LinkedIn for your industry. If they’re showing up at the top of any search relevant to the industry or geographic area you are trying to break into, chances are their profile will reveal ways you can successfully rewrite your summary and job descriptions to become a better networker yourself.

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