If so, do you have any pointers for people thinking of signing up?
I've been thinking of making a profile for when I need to start searching for a new job and am clueless about this site.
Yes, I think in this day and age LinkenIn is critical for anyone looking for a job. I know HR recruiters that rely primarily on this tool.
Pointers - keep in mind this is a tool for professionals. Be very cognizant of that when creating your profile, joining groups and making any comments. Specific pointers:
- choose a profile picture that looks professional - do not post a picture where you look too casual or sexy (common sense, but I see women that post pictures of themselves that look a little too sexy)
- fill out as much of your profile as possible
- make sure you are using spell-check and correct grammar, just as you would a resume
- details count! for example, I see people that use all lower-case letters or their name is listed as just their first name and last initial
- if you have done volunteer work, list it as long as it cannot be controversial (I listed work I did when I was volunteering for a animal shelter for a year and a half)
- give and get Recommendations
- join groups relevant to your current or desired career
- if your desired job is considered to be a position of leadership, add good quality posts to the groups you join, bring up relevant topics, etc
I'm a member of LinkedIn. I find the site annoying and difficult to use but, of course, I'm not working either. Still, I was able to re-connect with previous co-workers when I was looking for a job and thinking about re-locating to another area. The above suggestions are good ones. I've never seen a legitimate blind job offer come through on LinkedIn (i.e. a prospective employer looking at my resume and contacting me) but having a professional profile on LinkedIn is a whole lot better than them finding you on Facebook.
BTW, my Facebook e-mail addy is completely unique from the addy I use for personal e-mails and even LinkedIn. My Facebook account is even unsearchable to I'm pretty sure there is no way a prospective employer could search for me or even insist I give them my password.
I get recruiters emailing me based off my LinkedIn profile, but I never look at them (not interested in a new job at this time).
I think more of the value, for me anyway, comes from second degree connections. For example, a woman I worked with got laid off and was looking for a new job. She and I were Linked together and I allow my LinkedIn contacts to see all my contacts. She was able to see that I have contacts at two companies that she was targeting. She reached out to me and I in turn reached out to my contacts for further information and "introduced" them. This way, prior to her submitting her information to the company, she was able to get a contact name at that company and I was able to tell them about her work style etc. She ended up getting a job elsewhere, but she really appreciated having an "in" at two companies she was interested in.
Here is an article about using LinkedIn: http://www.careerealism.com/executives-linkedin-mistakes/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+careerealism+%28CAREEREALISM%29. There are probably better articles out there, but I subscribe to this Careerealism newsletter and this was today's article so I thought I would share it in case it is of help.