Utilizing LinkedIn to the fullest in your job search

Having a LinkedIn account can be a big help in searching for a job if you’re utilizing the online platform to its fullest extent.
Fox 17 spoke with Rachel Gray, the Executive Director at Hello West Michigan, a talent attraction company that showcases West Michigan for people who may want to relocate here.
Gray said people need to get in the habit of checking their LinkedIn account as often as other social media.
“Start logging into LinkedIn every day, just like you scroll through your Facebook profile or Instagram," Gray said. "That’s usually a daily thing for most people, you need to do the same with LinkedIn. If you put a lot of work on your resume and then you don’t send it to anyone, it’s really not doing its job. That’s the same thing with LinkedIn, if you update your profile but then you’re not actively engaging with the platform and others on the platform, then you’re really not using it to the best of your ability.”
Gray said you should follow “influencers” and people in your industry and companies that you are interested in, but not necessarily the President or CEO, instead connect with someone in your field, in HR or Talent Acquisition.
“Just explain, ‘Hey, I’m really interested in your company, trying to network, would love to hear more about the opportunities that you have.’ If they are a recruiter they want to get notes like that, that’s their job to find people that are interested in their company,” Gray told Fox 17.
Gray said by following companies, you may see available jobs before they go to other websites.
Gray also said it’s always important to tell the person why you are connecting with them, whether you attended the same college, work in the same field or whatever the reason you chose them.
LinkedIn also allows users to set up job alerts, and Gray says change your headline so people know you are actively looking for a job.
“You might say, ‘Rachel Gray, Marketing Professional looking for new opportunities. That’s how a lot of people put in their headline that they are open, because it’s the first thing that pops up when someone searches your name, and it’s a great way to let people know that you’re looking,” Gray explained. It’s also important to adjust your privacy setting so people know you’re available for a new job.“Go to LinkedIn.com slash settings. It’s under the privacy settings section. It’s a toggle that you turn on and off. You want to turn it on so recruiters know that you’re looking for positions and you come up in their searches on LinkedIn Recruiter."
It may go without saying, but it’s also important to update your skills often on your profile and make sure you install the app on your phone so you can see messages quicker from prospective employers.
First impressions often happen online these days, so Blair Heitmann, a LinkedIn Career Expert says you want to make sure it’s a good one ​
“Make sure you have a strong profile that’s clear, that isn’t a group shot, that’s really you. Make sure you have your location updated so recruiters can find you,” said Heitmann.

Also, focus on your email address and make it easy for recruiters to recognize you. ​It should be the first and last name that you use every day at gmail.com. ​Experts say an AOL, Hotmail, or Comcast address can inadvertently give away from your age.

Resumes should be 1-2 pages max. And, in the experience section, don’t just outline prior responsibilities. Heitmann says to be specific. ​”How have your contributions helped the business move the needle?”

Set up job alerts so you know instantly when the types of positions you’re interested in open up.​
“You’re four times more likely to get the job if you apply early,” Heitmann said.

If you do land an interview, be ready with technology. Most initial meetings are online.​ “Make sure it’s not that first time you’re having the conversation. Get used to talking about your career over a video call.​ On LinkedIn,” Heitmann explains, “we have an interview prep tool that enables you to record yourself and answer some of the most commonly asked interview questions and get instant feedback.”

Most importantly, she says, let people know you’re looking for a job. ​Now is not the time to be embarrassed or ashamed about unemployment.

“Tap the network around you to really help you find your way. It’s an an incredibly important part of the process that you can’t underestimate. It’s the number one professional asset over the course of your career.”