Have you ever Googled your name? If not, do it now. What do you see? Are you represented as you would hope? What would a potential employer think of you? Research has shown (infographic) that 1 in 3 employers reject you due to something they found online.

With our world moving online, it has become commonplace for potential employers to do a web search for candidates, thus creating, maintaining  (and cleaning up!) your online profiles has become vital.

Linkedin is the world’s largest online professional network, and allows you to create an online profile showcasing your skills and abilities, connect with other professionals, and learn about companies and organizations. If you are looking for a job, Linkedin should be your first stop.

To get started on LinkedIn, first create a profile.

Include your employment history, any educational institutions you have attended, what industry you work in, and links to personal websites. For example, you may want to link your profile to your Twitter feed. Again, make sure your tweets are something you’d want a future employer to read.

Be sure to include a photo of yourself. Make sure this photo is just of you, and is professional in nature. Have a friend take a headshot of you with a neutral background if you don’t have a good picture. Here is the first part of my Linkedin profile:

 toomey linkedin

Then, start to build your network.

Do a search for folks who you have worked with or gone to school with and ask to join their network. Doing this will send them an email letting them know you want to connect on the site. Include your skills and the keywords you use in your resume so that your colleagues and connections on LinkedIn can endorse you for having those skills.

Get endorsements and recommendations.

Your connections can also write you recommendations, which can hold a lot of weight with potential employers. If employers can see you have utilized those skills in other settings and people can provide recommendations showcasing your good work, you never know what opportunities may arise. Here are some of the skills I have been endorsed for:

toomey linkedin 2

The job search tool is a phenomenal resource.

You can enter in keywords to search for jobs in a geographic area or industry. Many companies use Linkedin to recruit potential employees and provide information on their organization. Do your research and be strategic in your connections. It is not necessary to connect to everyone in a certain industry. Remember, the more information you provide in terms of who you are and what you are looking for the more employers may reach out to you with opportunities.

What tips do you have for first-time users of Linkedin?


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