A Job Seekers New Best Friend – LinkedIn

In a recent post called “Searching For a Nursing Job? Do This First!” I talked about how nurses should have a presence on LinkedIn and I even recommended a course about LinkedIn so now I want to talk about setting up your profile on this powerful networking site.

But first I want to say a few things about LinkedIn.

I’ve had a few nurse write to me recently asking about how they could find a nursing job. My answer was to set up a profile on LinkedIn and use this platform to search for jobs and connect with decision makers in their field.

Little did I know at the time I was on to something. After digging into this topic further I’ve discovered, for job seekers of all types, LinkedIn is your new best friend and here’s why…

– You can search for employers you want to work for. See what they do, who’s talking about them what there needs are, who works in the company and more.

– You can be very specific and go into great detail about what you do, your skills and expertise, way more than you could ever put on a resume.

– You can look for recruiters in your industry who specialize in placing people with your expertise and get yourself in front of them.

– You can search your own first, second and third tier level connections to see if any of them work for an organization you are seeking employment in.

You can’t do this on a job board and in 2013, job boards are becoming less effective when it comes to getting hired or even getting your foot in the door. I’ve heard this from numerous nurses complaining about filling out applications online and never hearing back from anyone.

Research is proving this to be true also, just check out this survey, the North American Staffing and Recruiting Trends Report that reveals statistics on where they are looking for potential candidates. It seems social recruiting is becoming the new normal.

So here’s your opportunity as a job seeker to look for companies or organizations you want to work for and are a good fit. Learn what their needs are and if that fits with what you’re interested in, then tailor your LinkedIn profile around those needs.

I’m certainly no expert on LinkedIn but I have learned a few things by educating myself through a course I took recently called Jump Start Your Career With LinkedIn from ed2go, my new place for learning.

Here’s 3 Tips for creating your LinkedIn Profile.

1. Personal Identification Box – This is the first thing that people will see when they search for your name or a skill you have listed here. It follows you everywhere on LinkedIn, from discussions you participate in to search results within LinkedIn. It’s like a mini business card that has your name, photo, your headline, location and your industry. Fill this out completely.

Provide a professional photo, descriptive headline that clearly expresses what you do. You can list your initials beside your name such as RN, BSN or MSN but don’t go crazy here with all your certification initials because most people won’t know what they mean and you’ll be taking up valuable space here. You only have room for about 120 characters so say what you want people to know about you.

2. Use Keywords. Use them in your indemnification box as mentioned above, in your summary, experience and definitely in your skills and expertise section. This is how people will search and find you, by using what is called keywords. If you’ve clicked on the link above you’ll see I am using keywords such as writer, author, blogger. I want to be known more for my writing than I do for nursing because I’m pursuing a writing and research career and moving away from traditional nursing, so think about what you want to be known for?

Even if this means moving to a different nursing specialty you have not worked in before such as informatics. You could say you are seeking a job in health IT or the informatics field in your Identification box and than in your summary talk about the training you have being a super user or are completing a course in health IT or something to that effect. Nurses use so much technology today that there is no reason why you can’t incorporate what you do know into a skill. It may take some creativeness on your part but it can be done.

I’ll list resources at the end of this post to help you with all of this.

3. Get recommendations. This is an important step and shouldn’t be overlooked. Why? Because recommendations are the only outside verification of who you are and what you do. Everything else on your profile is written by you but recommendations come from someone who has worked with you or knows you well and is making a statement about you abilities. Recruiters and Human Resource Professionals will be looking at this so don’t overlook this section.

How do you get recommendations? One way is to give recommendations. This is something I am working on at the moment. Another way is to politely ask for them from those you’ve worked with.

These are 3 tips that are working for me and I’m realizing how powerful LinkedIn can be for professionals and I highly recommend it for any one doing business or looking for a job.

And one more tip for you is, as a job seeker you should be spending a certain amount of time each day on LinkedIn networking, researching and gathering information to optimize your chances of being found by the right people and getting the job. You can’t put a profile up and do nothing to promote yourself or make connections with the right people and it won’t happen overnight but by making those connections if will pay off in the long run.