It’s no secret that millions of people use LinkedIn to network with professionals, find available jobs and even secure an interview. As one of the most popular social networks in the world, LinkedIn has become an excellent place to network with other professionals in your industry, across the country and around the world.
LinkedIn Connects Job Seekers with Recruitment Networks
As an alternative to struggling with the challenges of getting acquainted with local professionals via hard-to-find industry associations and groups, LinkedIn takes the professional networking idea to a whole new level. How? The social network gives members a chance to create a professional image online and get started meeting others in just minutes through a unique connection platform.
When Looking for a Job Feels a Little Bit Creepy
However, be warned: Social networks can also be a way for individuals you’ve never met in person to begin to follow you online. This may seem somewhat like cyber stalking to the novice job seeker. The way some recruiters monitor and approach candidates can sometimes begin to feel a little creepy to those unfamiliar with how social recruiting works. Since you may not get the chance to actually meet the people who take an interest in you, there are some guidelines that can help you protect your personal information online. Use the following tips to help you use LinkedIn safely when searching for a new job.
“Who’s Viewed Your Profile?”
One of the best features of LinkedIn is the Who’s Viewed Your Profile? option that’s available for premium account members. This tool allows users to find out who has viewed their profile recently. This helps users determine if people are stalking them or viewing their profile simply for business purposes. You will be able to tell the difference, especially if people leave you inappropriate messages or messages that have no relation to your job search.
Respond to Messages Professionally
If you receive private messages on LinkedIn from people who refer to you as ‘cutie’ or ‘sweetheart’, be sure to correct them immediately. There is no feature that allows you to block the user (like on Twitter or Facebook) so you have to respond. Let the person know that you are using the site to network professionally and not personally. You can also change your email settings so you will not receive emails from members who are not within a certain degree of your connections. Should someone continue to harass you even after being told to stop, make sure you report the person and the issue to LinkedIn immediately.
Leave Personal Information off LinkedIn
Remember, LinkedIn is a large network of people. What you add to your profile can be seen by others who are browsing through random profiles, reading any content you add, and your activity feed. Keep all personal information off of LinkedIn, especially your address, phone numbers, and photos of your personal life and family. Your career history should only be a summary, not formatted and detailed like your actual resume. Leave off your current employer’s name unless you want to get called there.
Opt for Being Introduced vs. Unsolicited Messages
The purpose of using LinkedIn as a job seeker is to connect with the companies and thought leaders who can help you grow in your career. Therefore, use this as a resource for learning more about companies and being introduced in a professional manner through your established networks. Avoid odd or unsolicited offers of employment or personal messages that seem unusual. Instead, ask others how they may know you or get input from a trusted connection before giving out any information about yourself.
Positives of LinkedIn for Job Seekers
Despite some of the negative information presented earlier, LinkedIn is an excellent place to find potential jobs and network with professionals in your niche. If you use the site correctly, you will be able to search for jobs, research companies, and speak with people from all over the world in your profession. For all you know, you might be able to switch jobs due to a relationship you formed on the site.
Steps to Using LinkedIn Effectively
LinkedIn makes the networking process insanely easy. All you have to do is connect with a professional from your industry and send an introductory message. If you have a professional photo of yourself on your LinkedIn profile, a well-constructed job history in your profile, and strong recommendations from your connections, you should be able to connect with just about anyone who uses LinkedIn.
The bottom line here is that LinkedIn, like all other social media sites, can be overwhelming for some to use. The internet can be a scary place, especially when cyber stalking arises. Be sure you protect yourself on the site as much as possible and report any issues to the company immediately. Remember that behaviors online should be similar conduct to what happens in a face-to-face interaction with a recruiter. Anything less than that is unacceptable.