Part 1 of this article gave an overview of LinkedIn and how to use it. You can read it here.
Part 2 - How to get the most out of LinkedIn for IT professionals
There are four main ways in which LinkedIn can be most useful for IT professionals:
- It provides an online CV for HR professionals, recruiters and IT hiring managers to view
- It has an online jobs board
- It can be used as a networking tool
- It is a useful research tool
HR professionals, recruiters and hiring managers frequently use LinkedIn as a tool in searching for suitable candidates for IT roles. There are advanced searches available in LinkedIn that allow them to search for people by job title, skillset, location, the college they went to and companies they have worked for. That’s why it is important that you have as complete a profile as possible. The more specific you are, the more likely it is that people will find you if they are looking for a candidate with your skills. People with more complete profiles will also appear higher in search results so it increases your visibility in more than one way.
Make sure you include the following on your profile:
- Your current job title, company, current location (very important if your company has more than one office in Ireland), the date you started working in this role.
- Some details about what your current job entails and the tools/technologies/skills you use e.g. the languages and platform if you are a software developer.
- Repeat step two for all jobs you have held. If your employment record goes back more than 8 or 9 years, then you can summarise the details of your earlier jobs.
- Some information on your career goals in the summary section that appears at the top of your profile. You could include details of your main skillset, the sort of role you would like to move into, the location(s) you would like to work it etc.
- Use the Skills and Expertise section of the profile to list your main skills. Don’t worry too much about getting endorsements. They aren’t taken very seriously but your list of skills are.
- Include any degrees, certifications (e.g. CCNA, SCJP, ITSQB) and continuing/professional training in the Education section. Make sure to list the dates on which you completed each
- Keep your profile up to date. Even if you haven’t moved jobs recently, take a look at your profile every couple of months and make sure it reflects where you currently are in your career (and the country).
Online jobs board
Most IT companies have a LinkedIn company page. The layout is different to personal LinkedIn profile pages and usually includes a summary of the company, announcements and updates and can host job ads, which is a paid service on LinkedIn. You can 'Follow' a company to receive job alerts and news announcements in your newsfeed. All jobs posted on the individual company pages are combined into a LinkedIn jobs board which is fully searchable by location, title, company, keyword etc. You can apply for these jobs directly on LinkedIn using your LinkedIn profile as your CV.
A Networking Tool
For some people the idea of networking is not one they are comfortable with and it conjures up images of a sleazy person working a room but networking on LinkedIn is simply about connecting with your professional peers and with people who may be in a position to hire you in the future. Remember, that you can only connect with people you have common professional interests with on LinkedIn so it’s like not quite the same as walking up to random strangers!
So who do I connect to?
- Group members. Join groups that are relevant to you e.g. Munster Skilled IT Workers, .Net Ireland, it@cork, ITAG (IT Association of Galway). Participate in discussions or start some of your own.
- Connect to HR manager and recruiters (sometimes called HR Business Partners or Talent Acquisition Specialists) in IT companies in areas you are interested in working. If you are actively seeking work, send them a message asking if they are currently recruiting or likely to be soon.
A Research Tool
LinkedIn is an invaluable tool for career research. It allows you to view the profiles of people who work for specific companies, allowing you to see the sort of IT technologies the company uses, the positions within a company and what various roles entail. Most IT companies have a company page on LinkedIn. You can “Follow” a company page to receive company updates, product announcements and job ads. From the company page you can also view summary profiles of people who list that company as their employee. The summary shows the job title of each person and you can choose to view their profile to get more details on the skillset/tools/technologies they use and invite them to connect with you if they are relevant to the area you work in. If you are interested in finding out more about what it’s like to work for the company you could get in contact with someone doing a similar role to you e.g. a software developer or systems admin.