IT job seekers can benefit from several new LinkedIn applications, such as SlideShare, which lets users browse and share presentations, and Creative Portfolio Display, which lets programmers, analysts and others showcase creative work on their LinkedIn profiles. "It allows you to differentiate yourself from everybody else," Perry says.
LinkedIn also offers a "Year in Review" app that lists all of the status changes, such as a new job, that your connections have made to their profiles in the past year. "You know these people. What better way to network than to follow up with them and find out what they did, how they did it, and if there are any leads you should know about," Perry says.
For job seekers who are targeting a specific company, LinkedIn has added a feature called Company Pages. By clicking the Statistics icon on a Company Page, or corporate profile, users can find out where departing employees found new jobs. This "networking with the newly departed," as Perry calls it, can give job seekers the inside scoop on what positions are available and what skills the IT department needs. "Imagine the power of having a conversation with an individual who worked in IT and understands first-hand what their three biggest challenges are. When you connect with an executive, you can [emphasize] the skills you have that can address those issues," Perry says.
2. Facebook: Not Just for Fun Anymore
While many job seekers regard LinkedIn as their professional website and Facebook as their friends-and-family hub, more recruiters are trolling Facebook to get a feel for prospective candidates', ahem, softer side, Perry says.
"As recruiters, we're not just looking for skills and experience, we're looking to understand the three-dimensional person," Perry explains. "We can tap into them on Facebook and understand their likes, dislikes, and interests -- the music they listen to, photos they post, games they play. Facebook can give you a deeper understanding of 'the person.' "
Those that blend their professional and personal contacts need to be careful of the information they're posting and how it affects their brand image, says Coleen Byrne, former sales director at Yahoo and co-author of The Web 2.0 Job Finder: Winning Social Media Strategies to Get the Job You Want. For starters, keep your party photos on your camera, and avoid blogging or commenting about controversial topics. "The taboos are always going to be politics, religion, same-sex marriage -- if you have very strong opinions, all of these things get a little bit dicey" with prospective employers, she says. Also, avoid abbreviations (OMG!) and typos, even on status updates. "At the end of the day, it all represents you, and people are going to make quick judgments," Byrne says.
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