5 LinkedIn Tips to Get Hired

Everyone who has told you that you need a robust LinkedIn profile if you are looking for a job is right. And, if you’ve spent any time at all on this business networking site, you know that it has a multitude of ever-changing features whose utility for your job search may seem both opaque and time-consuming.

Here are five ways you can quickly make the most of this social media behemoth, even with a free account.

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Share items of interest.

It is essential to gain visibility for yourself above and beyond just having an online profile. You don’t necessarily have to be the one to author significant insights in your field, but you should be familiar with them.

Scan the LinkedIn homepage feed for posts and articles that others have written and share them on your feed or distribute them to various relevant groups to which you should subscribe. It is easy to do! Just click on the three dots on the upper right corner found on every post, then click “copy this post” and share it where you want by hitting V (or -V on a Mac). To be even more effective, write just a sentence or two to explain why you think the article is worthwhile.

Alternatively, you can paste any URL into the “start a post” section on the homepage feed, write a sentence or two about the article and hit “post.” That will help you bolster your online reputation.

Keep up with LinkedIn’s integration with Outlook.

One benefit of LinkedIn’s merger with Microsoft is that you can now facilitate contact with any of your first-degree LinkedIn connections when you connect your LinkedIn account with your Microsoft account. You can, for example, email any of your LinkedIn connections through Outlook in Office 365 without having to add them in your Outlook contacts. This saves time and enables you to get on with the tasks of communicating, networking and advancing your cause.

Identify target companies.

It’s always more effective if you take the time to network your way into a company rather than blindly submit your resume to its “black hole” resume portal. When you click on LinkedIn’s Jobs tab and scroll down, in addition to seeing ads for positions, you’ll find a scrolling grid of companies where you are already somehow connected to employees and you’ll learn who they are.

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Ask for a referral.

When you use LinkedIn on your desktop versus your mobile device, you won’t always have the same features. For example, on mobile, if you see a job that you want to apply for, you’ll also see a picture of your first-degree connections who work at that company with a note, “X can refer you. Get referred to increase your chances of landing an interview.” When you click on the button, you’ll then have the opportunity to write a note to your connections asking them to make the referral.

Make it easy by reminding them of your interest in the role, why you are a good fit for it, your relationship and relevant successes or accomplishments. That way, they can serve as an “upfront” reference to get you considered when you might otherwise not stand out from your competition.

[See: 8 Skills That Set Millennials Apart at Work.]

Take advantage of enhanced endorsement capabilities.

Up to this point, you could list whatever you like in your skills section, and people can choose to endorse you. Yet a general endorsement has little real value.

Now, LinkedIn has beefed up this feature, so that when you endorse someone, you can click on whether they are “Good,” “Very Good” or “Highly Skilled.”

Even more important, LinkedIn allows the endorser to indicate how he or she knows about someone’s skills. From the menu, select the nature of the relationship from options such as “Worked together directly on the same team or project” and “Reported directly to X.”

As you endorse others, you can expect that they will want to return the favor for you as well, thereby extending your visibility and reputation.

You’ll see that with a little effort, you can extend your network, find exciting companies with open jobs and efficiently communicate with your connections to facilitate your job search.

Happy hunting!

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5 LinkedIn Tips to Get Hired originally appeared on usnews.com