Career expert John Crant, the author of “Self-Recruiter,” says that signing up for business-networking site LinkedIn has the power to “change the dynamic of your job search.” Here are some of his top tips to help you get the most out of LinkedIn:
* Set your profile to maximum visibility: Crant says you should think of LinkedIn as a “mobile billboard” for your career. So instead of hiding yourself, the way you might want to keep your personal details safe from prying eyes on Facebook, you should have your profile settings adjusted so that anybody can see you on LinkedIn. Think of it as “advertising for your professional career,” Crant says.
* Use LinkedIn data to find out more about companies you want to work for: Crant says LinkedIn has an invaluable “pool of data” you can use in your job search. Not only can you find a company you would be a good fit for, but discover who else works there — and who is in charge of hiring. Crant suggests looking at the profiles of 8-10 people at the company you’d like to work for, to get a sense of who works there.
* Learn about the power of connections: LinkedIn has three levels of connections it its network — first, second, and third levels. First-level connections mean that you and the other person have agreed to be connected. Second-level is a connection on one of your friends’ list, or vice versa. Third-level is a connection of your friend’s connection. So what does that mean in plain English? Crant says he has about 1200 first-level connections on LinkedIn. This translates into 11 million people in his network. This also means that a vitally important person in your job search might be just a level or two away from you. Small world, isn’t it?