There was once a time when having and using a LinkedIn account was optional for the job seeker. But that time has most certainly passed. Just consider the fact that a 2014 survey of recruiters revealed that 93 percent use or plan to use social media to find candidates, and that LinkedIn is the preferred platform to conduct the search. If you are not on LinkedIn and using it to your advantage, you are getting passed over by employers. Here’s how to make it a job search tool that works for you:

Fill Our Your Profile Completely

Your LinkedIn profile is broken down into a number of sections, and each is relevant. It’s not enough to simply talk about education and past employment. That is wasting opportunities, and it makes you look uncommitted. Make sure that your profile is 100 percent completed, projects a professional image throughout, and has a little bit of personality. You can also organically optimize it with keywords to make it easier for employers to find you.

Seek Out Endorsements

Endorsements are a great way to illustrate that you really do have the skills you claim to have. Encourage people you know, former co-workers, instructors, and anyone familiar with your work to endorse you, but caution them not to go overboard. If your profile is blanketed with endorsements from the same people over and over, it raises red flags.

Participate in the IT Community

Once you have your profile looking great, start connecting with the people and companies that interest you. Start by seeking out companies that you would like to work for. Make a connection, and then follow their profile to learn insider information, and start commenting to get your name on their radar. Just remember not to be a pest. You want to participate in this community, not overwhelm it.

Publish Your Own Content

In addition to being a social network, LinkedIn is also a publishing platform that is easy to use, seen by many, and respected across industries. Start brainstorming ideas for IT topics that interest you – where you have expertise and experience – and that aren’t being talked about enough online. Then write up a few posts and put them up on LinkedIn. Over time you will attract the attention of others and build yourself into an industry thought leader. That is a huge asset that you can leverage throughout your job search.

A job search is a daunting process, and adding yet another entry to your task list can feel overwhelming. Just remember that in the case of LinkedIn, it really is worth it, and thousands of other IT professionals have turned their profile into a job opportunity. Learn more smart ways to attract the attention of recruiters by working with RennerBrown.

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