By now, most everyone knows the wonderful tool that LinkedIn is for networking with professionals in your field. Many students seem to know that LinkedIn is a great resource but aren’t quite sure where to start. We had a chance to talk with Sarah Peacey and ask her what her top 5 tips for LinkedIn are. Sarah has 11 years of experience in recruiting with nearly 4 years of experience at KPMG serving as Recruiting Manager for the Advisory practice.
The following is a set of questions that we asked of Sarah regarding LinkedIn:
1.How often do you use social networking tools such as LinkedIn?
SP: Daily. There are millions of people using these tools. Some are active candidates but most are passive candidates. As a recruiter, I could could spend just a little time each day searching the people on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to recruit, but the real value comes from branding myself as an expert in a specific field so I can attract the attention of passive candidates. As a “potential candidate” it is also very important to remember that every post you make, every photo you upload and every status update you write is being scrutinized by a potential employer.
2.Why is LinkedIn such a viable source of candidates for you?
SP: LinkedIn is the best social networking tool we use at the moment because with a free account a recruiter can reach 33+ Million people. Because passive candidates post their resumes on LinkedIn, we can better court those professionals for opportunities. We have also found that LinkedIn has a large pool of users that work in the Industries we want and have the skills that we need to hire.
3. What are some of the best practices that candidates are using to make themselves stand out via LinkedIn?
1. Have a 100% complete profile
2. Be open to being contacted and make it easy for employers to contact you: IE. Make your e-mail address visible
3. Seek out recommendations. The more, the better.
4. Join groups and and participate in Questions/Answers. Both give you great visibility.
4. What advice would you give to current college students who are considering using LinkedIn?
SP: With the economy the way it is, there are very few jobs posted or even open and the ones that are will most likely be filled by an employee referral. (I’ve heard that almost 80% of all open jobs are filled by referrals). Use LinkedIn to connect with people in the companies you want to work for. Try to build relationships with people so they feel comfortable enough to refer you for the job via the Employee Referral Program. Or, at least they’d e-mail it direct to a hiring manager or recruiter so it doesn’t get lost in the candidate database which could be a black hole.
5. Please respond to this statement: Many students that I work with may be hesitant to contact or reach out to professionals in their fields on LinkedIn, mainly because they are not sure that these professionals would like to be reached via this medium.
SP: People join LinkedIn to connect with people. If they truly didn’t want too, they wouldn’t be on the site. And besides, even if they don’t want to talk to you, what do you lose by asking? Nothing! But, I think you’ll find that more people are receptive. You can also tell who may be more interested in helping you if they also do everything from question #3. People with full profiles, lots of recommendations, lots of connections etc. will probably give you a response.Everyone is busy so don’t get discouraged if you don’t get an immediate response or any response at all. Job search requires persistence. If someone doesn’t respond, don’t take it personally. You need to forget about them and try to connect with someone new.
The takeaway from this information is simple. People are on social networking sites to connect, you just have to know the rules of the game so that you can make positive connections. There are some great resources out there to get you started including a 7 tips for LinkedIn series put together by Grace Kutney to help you get started today.