Your LinkedIn profile shouldn’t be a cut-and-paste of your résumé. Go into more detail by describing the type of activities you did in each job and let people know the things you’re interested in. Ditch that photo of you at a party in favour of one that looks like it could appear on a corporate website, says digital marketing strategist Tod Maffin. “Pay for a professional head shot, or at least use a clear head-and-shoulders shot of you in business attire with a neutral or white background.” Only link your Twitter account to LinkedIn if all your tweets are professional; if not, set it up so you can select which tweets will appear.
Expand your network
Don’t wait until you’re looking for a job to build your online network. On Twitter, you can be fairly indiscriminate about who you follow, and its openness gives you the chance to get your name known by contributing to conversations with high-ranking people in your field. For LinkedIn, be more selective. “To build a good quality network, only connect with people that you’ve had a relationship with,” says Mark Evans, principal with digital marketing firm ME Consulting. To make stronger connections, Maffin recommends changing the default connection request to a personalized one reminding the person how you know them.
Find job openings
On both Twitter and LinkedIn, you can find out about job openings by following companies and searching through job listings. (On Twitter, search for #jobs and #careers.) LinkedIn’s company pages reveal the typical background of people employed with a firm and show recent staff comings and goings. If you’re worried your boss might notice that you’re following rival companies or connecting with recruiters, change your LinkedIn privacy controls to cover your tracks.
Leverage your contacts
If you want information on a company or a job opening, don’t be shy about requesting an introduction through a common LinkedIn contact. “I’m surprised at how little this feature is used, because that’s the whole point of LinkedIn,” says Maffin. If you’ve established a level of friendliness with someone online, ask for a face-to-face meeting. “One of most powerful weapons is the 30-minute coffee,” says Evans. “We’re inundated with digital chatter, so it’s amazing the difference that a real-world conversation can make.”
Arm yourself with information
Once you land the interview, prepare yourself by scouring social networks for info on the company and your interviewers. While it’s not appropriate to mention the hiring manager’s Facebook relationship status, it can be a great icebreaker to say that while preparing for the interview, you learned that you share a hobby or you studied at the same university. “Everybody likes to know that someone has taken the initiative to go the extra mile,” says Rusty Rueff of the employment website Glassdoor.com. “It shows that you are really interested in the company.”