Dust off that LinkedIn Profile

I finished my job a little over a week ago, and since then have been filling my time with errands and packing. It’s amazing how much stuff we accumulate in such short periods of time. I have also been doing some job hunting in the UK. I didn’t think I’d be looking for a new job so soon, and definitely not in another country. Looking internationally definitely has its challenges. First of all, they use CVs there, not resumes. CVs are normally longer than 1 page (which is how long most resumes should be…exceptions – subject matter experts, people who are published and senior level execs). They normally have information such as: marital status, gender, birthday and visa status – all the types of things you should not put on a resume in the US.

One tool I have continually used in my job hunts is LinkedIn. If you don’t have one, start one. If you don’t keep yours up-to-date, do it. Whether you’re in college, a new graduate or advanced in your professional career, it can be a very useful tool. It may not seem like it at first, because you’re just adding your friends from school or church, but over time, as you gain more work experience and connect with people at work, you can build a strong network for yourself.

On LinkedIn, you can see the profiles of people who are 3 degrees away from you. For example, if you and I are connected on LinkedIn, you would be able to see all of my connections, and all of my connections’ connections. How is this useful? Well, if you’re interested in a job in the high-tech industry you may be connected to someone in the high-tech industry. If you search your connections, you could potentially have someone who can refer you to a certain company. If you’re still figuring out the type of career you want, search for people in that career and see what their work experience is like, and which companies they worked at to gain their experience. If you find someone who you think could give you good insights, message them and ask for an informational interview.

Aside from being a great networking tool, recruiters use LinkedIn to look for candidates for their jobs. People who apply to job postings get their applications looked at. But a lot of the time, the best candidates are the ones who aren’t actively looking. Recruiters can, and will, use LinkedIn (in addition to other tools) to network and look for candidates.

“Networking is key in 2011,” said Evren Esen, manager, survey research center at SHRM. “HR professionals recommend recent graduates and those soon to graduate utilize their university career center programs and official graduate recruiting channels. In addition, joining a membership association in the field graduates want to enter can help in the form of networking and mentoring opportunities.” (World at Work)

I’m hoping that my own professional network pulls through in the UK…but regardless, get out there and start networking!

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