LinkedIn is the top social media site for business professionals. It lets you harness the power of social media and use it to your advantage when looking for a job. Many entry-level engineers forget to use it for their job search, when it is really one of their most powerful weapons. Best of all, the platform is free unless you decide to upgrade to premium.
LinkedIn has a lot of popular well-known benefits when it comes to looking for a job. The main benefits LinkedIn provides job hunters include the following:
LinkedIn allows you to easily search online job postings.
Your LinkedIn profile becomes your online resume.
LinkedIn allows job recruiters and headhunters to find you.
Your LinkedIn Profile
To take advantage of these items, you need to create a well-crafted LinkedIn profile. The first step is to sign up for a free account. Next, you will need to choose the right LinkedIn profile photo. Since people do judge a book by its cover, you will need a good profile picture. Your profile photo should:
Be from the shoulders up.
Show your face.
Be a clear, high-quality photo.
Your profile photo does not have a be a standard photo with you sitting down while wearing a suit and tie. It can be an action photo of you doing engineering work in the field.
People will judge your professionalism, work ethic, attitude, and many other personality traits from your profile picture along. Make sure the one you choose sends the right message. Selfies will just not cut it.
After you have the right photo, you need to set up your profile, just like you did your resume. Your LinkedIn profile is a resume, so the same rules apply. Be careful with your word choice, include the right keywords and make sure there are no typos.
When setting up your profile, the best place to start is with your resume. If you have put in the effort to have a well-written resume, most of that language should translate well to your LinkedIn profile. The resume summary, education, experience, achievements, and skills should all be listed somewhere in your profile.
The True Power of LinkedIn
The true power of LinkedIn lies in your ability to create and maintain a professional network. In the past, your business network consisted of a stack of business cards. Those business cards were great, until somebody changed positions, moved, or switched companies. Once that happened, all you were left with was a useless piece of paper.
With LinkedIn, your professional network stays up to date without you having to do anything. As people move around and change positions, you will always stay up to date with what they are doing professionally.
Using Your LinkedIn Power
“It’s not what you know; it’s who you know.” We like to think that in modern times, this saying is no longer true; however, that is just not the case. Companies are scared of hiring unknowns. No matter how many times you read someone’s resume, interview them, have them do on-site visits, you can only gain so much insight.
If you had to go on a date with someone, would you rather go on a date with someone your friend knows and says is an amazing person, or with someone you saw on a Tinder profile? Most people are going to choose the friend referral. Unknowns are scary. Behind that Tinder profile could lie a con-artist, a serial killer or someone who keeps pet spiders. You just never know.
Companies have those same fears. Having an existing employee vouch for you takes away the fear from the hiring process. That is why getting referred by an existing employee is the single greatest way to increase your chances of getting an interview and a job offer.
If you are a qualified candidate for a job, you have around a 5% chance of being selected for an interview. If you are referred by an existing employee, it increases your odds to over 50%. That is a 1,000% increase in your chance of making it to the interview stage because of a referral. No other change can increase your odds so drastically.
How to Get Referrals
Throughout my career, I have seen this over and over again. The people who get the jobs are those who were referred by someone else. The trick is to make the power of the referral work for you.
LinkedIn lets you use your professional network during your job search to find referrals. Here are three ways to start using your LinkedIn network.
If you are applying to a job posting you found online, check LinkedIn to see if any of your contacts work at that company. If you know someone there, reach out to them. Let them know you are applying to a position and would appreciate it if they could put in a good word.
Reach out to your network and let them know you are exploring job opportunities. See if their companies have any upcoming positions opening up.
Message people in your network to see how they enjoy working in different engineering industries or companies. This is a great way to help you decide different career paths.
Grow Your Network
When it comes to your professional network, size and quality matters. The more people you have in your network, the better the odds someone will be able to help you. Those network connections also need to be quality connections. You cannot just friend a lot of people you have never met, because those strangers will do nothing to help you. You need to have interacted with someone in a memorable way so they will remember who you are when you message them a year from now.
To grow your network, start connecting with people you interact with like:
Older engineering students you know.
Engineers from professional organizations or student competitions.
Professors you get to know.
Engineers you meet during internships.
Family member friends who are engineers.
Think of your professional network like a muscle—the more you work it, the bigger and more powerful it will get.
Now Get to It!
I hope you enjoyed this article on how to unleash the power of LinkedIn for your entry level engineering job search.
If there is anything you are struggling with or want to know more about, shoot me an e-mail. I love hearing from my readers. I wish you all the career success in the world! Go out there and do cool stuff.
To check out other entry-level engineering posts on internships, resumes, interviews and more, visit the ENGINEERING BLOG FOR ENTRY-LEVEL ENGINEERS.