LinkedIn: The Top Features You Need to Use Effectively
LinkedIn is an incredibly advanced and versatile social networking platform for professionals. It allows users to connect with new and old contacts, engage with like-minded professionals and key decision makers, search for topics and discussions, partake in private and public group conversations and present oneself in a professional manor through the use of an advanced digital CV.
However, with so many elements to the platform, it is difficult to instantly master LinkedIn and know how to take advantage of its powerful features. Some of the most overlooked aspects of LinkedIn are the status update section, news stream and custom search features.
In this article we will look at ways in which you can utilise these features and progress your professional networking and job search before and after relocating abroad.
The benefits of updating your status on LinkedIn
You can update your status as many times throughout the day as you like. Many use it to share news, their thoughts, or to discuss a hot topic trending online. A status update can be about anything you like, very similar to that of a Tweet on Twitter – in fact you can link your LinkedIn profile to your Twitter account so that a status update goes to your Twitter account as well.
For an active job seeker the LinkedIn status feature can be very helpful indeed. As a job seeker, the aim is to engage with as many of the right people as you can, whether they be colleagues, recruiters or strong connections with a good list of potential leads. Therefore, sending a status update out every couple of days about your intentions for a new job, request for an introduction or interest about a certain topic, industry or location that you’d like to find out more about would be very beneficial to you.
For those not actively looking for a new job, whether that be because you’re happy in your current position or because you don’t want the general public to know (i.e. your LinkedIn connections or the company personnel that you work with), there are many other advantages of using the LinkedIn status update feature. You may, for example, be looking to connect with professionals within your industry whom you could meet up with during a forthcoming trip to a specific location. By stating your intentions for this networking meeting or hookup and by mentioning a location (using a hashtag, for example #UAE) you could reach exactly the right people.
A LinkedIn status update works in the same way that a Twitter or Facebook update works, with a constant stream of your connections’ updates going from top to bottom of your news feed throughout the day. If, however, you are not connected with an individual, then the other way to find conversations from these users is to search for them – either by user, location, topic or industry. This is done via the advanced LinkedIn search page.
Utilising LinkedIn’s Advanced Search Features
You can perform two different types of searches on LinkedIn; a simple search – searching for a person, job, company, keyword, school and so on via the top search bar located on every page – or an advanced search – setting multiple parameters within your search via the dedicated search page. This is done by clicking the ‘Advanced’ button next to the search box at the top of each page which will take you to the dedicated advanced search page.
LinkedIn’s search features allow users to really dig deep, finding (for example) conversations by users in a completely different location, industry and company, and you can join in the conversation by ‘Liking’ the comment or commenting on it in the below comment box. The advantage of this is that even though you are not connected to this individual and potentially don’t have any mutual friends or connections, you can read their updates and engage with them. If you were looking to meet with a like-minded professional working within the finance and banking industry in Dubai then you could do an advanced search, searching for a keyword from a user located in Dubai or the UAE, and then see what results you are presented with. The more refined your search, the less results you’re likely to get, which in some cases is exactly what you want, but with more specific search terms or keywords you may want to open your search options up a little more to ensure that you at least find some conversations of relevance.
LinkedIn’s search features can also be used to search for a job. Whether the job is being advertised through a user’s status update or is listed as an official job opening within LinkedIn (this is a paid for advertisement that the company will have created) then this too can be done either in the top search box or the advanced search page – this page will give you a multitude of search options to narrow down the official job posting, for example by location, industry, company and salary.
Optimise your LinkedIn profile
You should view your LinkedIn profile as an advanced digital CV with multiple additional features (such as the ones mentioned above). If you are applying for a new job then you will likely have a number of tailored CV’s, as this would allow you to customise your job application for each position. However with LinkedIn you cannot create multiple profiles, so you must use your public profile as an overview of your most relevant and recent experiences and accomplishments, providing brief and to-the-point insights into each of these experiences. This will help people to better understand you and your professional brand from the outset. Ensuring that your public profile is well-optimised is the first step to ensuring that people can truly understand who you are professionally, and due to LinkedIn’s advanced search features (discussed above), people have a better chance of finding you through keyword, location, company and experience searches on LinkedIn.
When changing location or job it is important to remember to update your LinkedIn profile. This will help you to continue your networking endeavours and build your connections. Whilst you might have just started a new job and have no need to search for another one right now, you don’t however want to let your networking or online activity slip – your aim is to keep your networking endeavours continually moving forward and building momentum. By keeping your activity up you will be able to utilise your network and connections at a later stage.
By understanding the potential that LinkedIn has to offer for your job search, networking and personal brand you will great benefit professionally and be moving your career forward at every stage.
Keep your LinkedIn profile updated regularly, utilise the advanced search features that it has to offer and begin to share updates via your status update. Aim to replace one of your more traditional networking techniques with one of LinkedIn’s networking features and you’ll be sure to notice a positive difference.
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