Getting ready to graduate? Changing career paths? Regardless of the reason for not having a lot of work experience related to the job a candidate wants to apply for, he/she can create a LinkedIn profile that will sell.
Make Any Work Experience Relevant
Stop focusing on your previous job titles. Tell the truth. If a candidate’s only job experience is being a bartender or housekeeper, he/she should put that as the job title. Too many people try to change their job titles by making them sound fancier. If a potential employer calls for a reference check, the previous employer probably won’t have that fancy title and won’t be able to confirm employment.
Instead, job seekers should personalize responsibilities for each job held to the job being applied for. For example, if he/she is applying for an IT job but only has experience being a waiter at a local restaurant, the candidate needs to highlight the fact that he/she helped implement the new software for the restaurant to automate orders to the kitchen rather than how he/she could hold five plates of food in one hand, although that would be impressive.
Utilize the Courses Section
LinkedIn has a section where users can list courses that they have taken. This is not for people to copy and paste an entire transcript. Again, job seekers should tailor this to the type of job they are applying for.
For example, if applying for a Marketing position, the candidate should highlight courses they have taken related to marketing, communications, advertising, project management, event planning, web development, graphic design, or writing.
Showcase Your Projects
The “Projects” section on LinkedIn is not a default section. It’s an add-on so take advantage of it. Job seekers can include projects the worked on in school or at a previous employer. Even without direct work experience, job seekers can use this section to show that they have carried out significant assignments.
Take Advantage of Networking
After all, LinkedIn is still a social media site. Use it to be social! One cannot just put up a profile, add some connections, and hope that recruiters will flock his/her message box. All professionals and job seekers, alike, should take advantage of networking opportunities. Job seekers should follow companies so that if they get a call or interview, they’ll actually have something relevant to talk about and prove that they are really interested in the company.
Also, joining and being active on groups can offer an advantage. Ask questions, comment on other people’s posts, and share news articles or research that might be of interest to the groups. The more active members are in groups, the more their profiles will be viewed which may lead to more potential connections or job opportunities.
A tip about groups is to join active groups only. LinkedIn shows members how active groups are, which is partially based on how many new discussions the group engages in. Joining less active groups means that it will be more difficult to gain those collaborative networking experiences.
Building a strong profile and networking on LinkedIn can be continuously beneficial, not just in helping job seekers find a job but also in keeping professionals updated on best practices, learning opportunities, and events in their fields of interest.
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