Several months ago I started "The LinkedIn Experiment" to help people learn how to utilize LinkedIn to expand their network to help them find a job. It has been an interesting journey and I hope that you have found these tips useful.
In conclusion to The LinkedIn Experiment here are my final recommendations:
LinkedIn Is Not a Substitute For Face to Face Interaction: If you view LinkedIn as another medium to utilize in your networking arsenal then you are on the right track. LinkedIn is a great tool to discover new friends, business associates, learn new things to help you on your job, share great findings, and keep your finger on the "pulse" of an industry. Keep this perspective and don't throw "all of your eggs" in one basket to ensure job search success.
Join Groups: Join groups in your industry and if you find people that you are not connected to, but would like to connect to, then join their group to establish a connection.
Utilize the Job Boards: Hiring managers and recruiters do list opportunities there. Since a job searcher can't afford to "leave one stone unturned" it is important to utilize every tool available.
Create A Marketable Profile/Brand Yourself: Customize your profile based off of the job that you are looking for (brand yourself). Every piece of information should reflect your experience or interaction with some element of the job that you would like to work in someday. This means irrelevant information shouldn't be listed anywhere in your profile. If you must post unrelated information or seek an audience for information that is not relevant to your search, create a separate profile instead.
Utilize the Recommendation Feature: As the old saying goes, "People buy from people they know." A few targeted recommendations that speak on the areas that you want to be known for speaks volumes in comparison to general recommendations that flatter but offer little "back up" for the areas that you want to be known as an expert in. When you include your LinkedIn profile on your resume, it also serves as a great portfolio tool to help you find a job.
Follow Up: If you promise to contact someone that you met on LinkedIn, make sure to follow up. This also applies to people that you promised to send a LinkedIn invitation to as well.
Hope you have enjoyed this journey as much as I have enjoyed writing about it! Scroll through this blog to read more about "The Linked In Experiment." Feel free to contact me with additional questions by posting your comments below.