How to use LinkedIn to advance your career

by Janie Smith07 Aug 2014
As an HR professional, chances are you’ve got a LinkedIn profile to both promote your skills and network with others in the industry.

But are you making enough use of the site when it comes to climbing the career ladder?

LinkedIn now has more than 300 million members globally, including more than 950,000 HR professionals, which makes it the perfect place to scout for job opportunities and referrals.

In this article, Success in HR founder and author Alan Collins shared his top tips on how to use LinkedIn to advance your HR career.

Here are our five favourites:

Get the inside scoop on the job you’re interviewing for
 
“Some HR folks are discreetly checking out the people who used to have the job that they’re interviewing for.  You can do this too by going to the ‘People’ tab and searching for job title and company, and by checking ‘Past titles’ box only.  Now, this doesn’t work all this time, and it doesn’t work at all if this job isn’t listed in their profile.
 
“However, if you do strike gold doing this, you can use this information to reach out and contact the people who used to hold the position, and get the inside scoop on the job, the manager and what growth potential exists for the job.  Frankly, I’m not gutsy enough to do all this, but many aggressive HR job-seekers I know have.”
 
Get up to speed fast in your new HR job

“One of the toughest challenges any HR person faces is getting up to speed quickly in a new job. It doesn’t matter what kind of job it is. When you start a new job, ordinarily your roots aren’t that deep in that new role. And if you’re joining a new company, it’s even tougher. You face the hurdles of learning the new culture, building new relationships and trying establish chemistry with people when you’re the unknown guy or gal from outside.
 
“With LinkedIn, if you’re the new HR kid on the block, you can study your new colleagues’ profiles and quickly use that info to find areas of common ground, ways you might be able to support them in their careers and ways to establish rapport with them more quickly.”
 
Determine how you rate for that next HR promotion
 
“When a new promotional opportunity opens up, it would be great to know how your background, training, experience and the size of your network compares with that of others who may be competing with you for this position too. Now you can.
 
“In addition, some HR professionals have found it especially helpful to see how their peers explain what they do in HR and what they choose to highlight about their HR experience, work and lives.  One person confided to me that she’s probably updated her profile seven or eight times based on something she’s seen on a peer’s profile.”
 
Scope out the person who beat you to the job
 
“If you’ve been passed over, you can walk around pissed at the world. Or you can learn from it. If you’ve ever wondered what the resume or profile looks like of the person who beat you out for a job….well, now you can [find out].”
 
Differentiate your experience from everyone else’s
 
“An HR headhunter told me recently that he is increasingly seeing HR resumes in Word format that contain testimonials about the candidate at the end of the document. In a tight job market, HR job candidates are now using endorsements to elevate themselves from the rest of the pack.
 
“Since LinkedIn testimonials are impossible to manipulate, all a user can do with an average testimonial is not add it to their profile — they cannot change it. That lends an air of authenticity to LinkedIn testimonials, which is great. If you are a LinkedIn user, get some testimonials and add them to your resume. Ideally, you should have testimonials for each job you have held. LinkedIn testimonials will legitimise your claims of functional expertise, and they will help a hiring manager understand exactly where and how and when you have created value in the past.”
 
How do you use LinkedIn and other sites to advance your career?

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