With over 660 million business professionals on LinkedIn, it’s a great place for networking and resources. It’s also a vital resource for those searching for a new job. As well as finding jobs advertised on LinkedIn you can promote yourself to your target audience of employers and recruiters. For those not actively seeking employment, it’s a very powerful business tool and can be used to connect with current and former colleagues and network with potential prospects.
If you’re looking for a new job in the automotive industry using LinkedIn should be a key part of your job hunting activity. There is much that you can do to make LinkedIn work hard for you. In this article we give you essential tips and advice on how to use LinkedIn as a job hunter.
IS LINKEDIN FOR ME?
Yes! Whether you’re a marketing executive at a car manufacturer, a sales manager in a dealership or a field based finance manager, LinkedIn is suitable for everyone who wants to connect with other professionals.
For those who do not already have a profile, the first stage is to create one. Go to LinkedIn.com, enter your first and last name and email address in the indicated area, and create a password.
CREATE YOUR PROFILE
You need to give as much time to your LinkedIn profile as you would your CV or cover letter. Never assume that your profile won’t be seen by someone hiring you – LinkedIn profiles rank very highly in Google searches. The following tips aim to tell you how to gain the most from your profile:
Use a photo that looks professional and suitable for a work environment. You don’t have to pay for a professional photo but just make sure it looks ‘professional’. Other tips to consider are:
- USE A HEADSHOT – Your photo should only be of your head, neck, and possibly the top of your shoulders.
- DRESS PROFESSIONALLY – Dress in a manner appropriate for your field.
- SUBJECT MATTER – You should be the only thing in the photo. Do not include objects, pets, children or busy backgrounds.
- KEEP IT CURRENT – Always use a photo that is up to date and reflects what you currently look like.
- FACIAL EXPRESSION – A warm, friendly smile will make you look accessible, and encourage others to engage with you.
The headline is 120 characters long and appears on your profile below your name. It also shows when you make a comment or share something.
Some people will just put their current job title here. We recommend you use your headline to highlight your main reason for being on LinkedIn. For example, if you’re actively job hunting you might want to say so here. Recruiters search for words like: ‘looking’, ‘available for work’ or ‘open to opportunities’. However, if you’re looking to build business contacts you could describe what you are good at, what you do and why it is worth connecting with you. For instance: “[Job title]: helping X do Y.”
The location that is visible on your profile should reflect the area in which you wish to work. This is important for two reasons:
- Employers are attracted to local candidates who are not subjected to the difficulties of relocation.
- Recruiters often restrict their search area to certain locations – dependent on the location of the role.
Therefore, if you are looking for a new role to coincide with relocation, you should state where you are moving to, not where you currently live.
TIP: Make sure your location is for your home address, not your employers’ location.
Recruiters and potential customers use a candidate’s industry to power their search results – it is therefore important if you want to be found.
Not all job roles fit into a clear industry and Linkedin does not provide a complete list to choose from, leaving you to decide how you wish to represent yourself. For instance; if you are in a marketing role within the automotive industry, you have the choice of being categorised as either “Marketing and Advertising” OR “Automotive”. You need to decide which you want to be in – this may depend on your career goals. If you want to work in the automotive industry we’d recommend selecting ‘Automotive’ as your industry.
SHOW RECRUITERS YOU’RE OPEN TO WORK
There is now an option to show that you are open to work (just below contact info). Click ‘get started’ and add your job preferences. At the bottom you can choose who sees you’re open. Click the arrow and select ‘All LinkedIn Members’ or ‘Recruiters Only’.
The ‘About’ section (previously called summary) is a pivotal part of your profile. It shows that you are more than just your employment history. Things to include in this section are:
- Who, what, why, when, and how much?
- What is your core area of expertise?
- What’s your big passion outside of work?
- Why do you specialise in that particular niche area of the market?
- What useful free information do you have to offer people?
- How can you solve my problems?
- Who have you solved problems for before?
- How can you save me money?
TIP 1 – Always write in the first person and avoid unnecessary jargon
TIP 2 – Be extra creative with your first 220 characters as this is the amount a person can see before hitting ‘see more’. A catchy summary opening can be the difference between reading on or closing your page.
Here you can add links to your posts, articles, links or media. You could use this to showcase previous work you have done or articles you’ve written.
Your LinkedIn activity will be visible here. People can see if you are actively posting, liking, commenting and sharing. Use these tools as a way of demonstrating your knowledge and expertise in your specialist area.
This part is effectively an edited version of your CV. Make sure there are no discrepancies between what you write here and put on your CV. Describe your current and past roles – detailing the company worked for, position worked and dates the position was held.
If you are actively job hunting you need to put a bit of detail on your responsibilities and achievements for each job you’ve done. You don’t need to list every duty that you had. Instead, choose three or four highlights from each position that showcase your experience and accomplishments.
TIP – Incorporate key words and phrases that will aid your ranking in recruiters’ searches. For instance, if you’re looking for a field based sales role, effective keywords could be business development, targets, customer care, self-starter and, of course, sales.
SKILLS & ENDORSEMENTS
LinkedIn skills help to highlight your skills and can shape your personal and professional brand. Try and be as accurate as possible in the skills you select – that way people you know are more likely to endorse you for them.
TIP – Review job postings to look for the skill sets employers are seeking in candidates in your field
In today’s world where we look for ‘social proof’ everywhere it’s really valuable to get some good recommendations on your LinkedIn profile. We recommend you ask for recommendations from customers, work associates, colleagues and previous employers etc. If you’re job hunting previous customer recommendations will be particularly valuable. You’ll need to be a first connection with someone before you can ask them to recommend you. Send a nice personal note and remember to say thank you. When someone recommends you you will have the choice as to whether you want to add it to your profile.
MAKE YOURSELF KNOWN
Individuals who are the most active on LinkedIn, get the most attention. This of course takes time, effort and dedication but is significant in developing new introductions, relationships and business opportunities.
CONNECT, CONNECT, CONNECT
Build a network of high quality connections. This includes:
- People you already know – past clients, colleagues, school alumni etc
- Other people who work in your industry.
- Hiring managers or those in a position of power
TIP: People who don’t currently know you are much more likely to connect if you ‘add a note’ when you ask them to connect. Think of a reason you want to connect with them. It could be a simply as ‘I see we have a number of automotive industry contacts in common – it would be good to connect’
LIKE, COMMENT AND SHARE
The things you write and share will define you as a trusted authority within your industry. Build your personal brand by sharing articles you have written or commenting your opinion on things posted by others. As above, the more active you are the more you will be noticed. Remember this actively will be visible in the ‘Activity’ section of your profile.
TIP: Use the LinkedIn Today site to find popular, trending and relevant content to share with your network.
You should join relevant groups for your industry. You will then see their posts and be able to post yourself in these groups. The automotive industry has lots of groups that may interest you, here are just a few examples: Automotive Retail Sales Professionals, Women’s Automotive or Automotive Digital Marketing. To look for relevant groups go to the search bar, type in your keyword, select ‘More’, ‘Groups’.
When used to its full advantage LinkedIn is an incredible tool for job hunting and beyond. Visit your profile frequently, keep your details up to date and remain engaged with your connections.