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Lookers should be linked in

Having a profile on LinkedIn, the professional networking site, can help job seekers find an inside route to a company or be noticed by headhunters.

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Having a profile on LinkedIn, the professional networking site, can help job seekers find an inside route to a company or be noticed by headhunters.

Social media may be old hat to some job hunters, but others could still use a shove.

A new rule of job searching is that if you're looking, you should be on LinkedIn.com.

Even if you're not actively searching, but you would like headhunters to notice you, you should have a LinkedIn profile. Some sought-after keywords in your profile could cause your phone to ring.

Yes, there are other professional networking sites, but every career adviser I know recommends LinkedIn.

I sheepishly admit scant expertise. My 171 listed contacts are comparatively small potatoes, but, hey, we're told it's the quality, not quantity, that matters, right?

So to relay pro advice, I asked an active user to share tips.

"I'm on LinkedIn every day, and I tell my students to get on it," says Shelley Wales, senior career adviser at DeVry University in Kansas City, Mo. "Recruiters use it to find candidates."

For free, you can:

• Create your own profile.

• List your work history.

• Get people to recommend you online.

• Tell what kind of job you're looking for.

• Search for people who are connected to people who might help you.

By building your own connections on LinkedIn you can, "in a 'Six Degrees of Separation' way, find people in a company you're targeting and maybe even get the names of the human resource people or interviewer," Wales notes.

Job hunters know how difficult that is, given the walls thrown up by computerized application systems.

Through LinkedIn contacts, you may find people willing to share information about your target company that would help you frame your application or talk in an interview.

There's "icebreaker" value, Wales points out, in going to an interview knowing that you and the interviewer have friends in common or went to the same school.

Newbies on LinkedIn can hit the customer-help button and register for a "Linked-In 101" Web seminar.

The customer-help section also has a Web seminar link especially for job seekers.

And any user might find value in the customer-help post "10 Ways to Use LinkedIn" by Guy Kawasaki, one of social media's trail blazers.

Diane Stafford is the workplace and careers columnist at the Kansas City Star.

Lookers should be linked in 04/22/10 [Last modified: Thursday, April 22, 2010 12:02pm]
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