With Utah's unemployment rate at about 6.4 percent, it is more important than ever to proactively build a network of professionals who can aid you in searching for a job.
Whether you are unemployed and seeking new employment or you are happy in your current job but know you'll want to move onward and upward down the road, LinkedIn can become one of your strongest allies.
Here are some tips that will help you start to build your network and aid you in making an impact during your next job interview.
First, create and complete your LinkedIn profile. Creating a LinkedIn profile is free and user friendly. Once you create a username and password, LinkedIn will walk you through an process that will allow you to populate as much information as possible.
Be sure to be detailed and dedicate a minimum of two hours to creating your profile. Once you have successfully completed as much information as possible, there will be a status bar showing your profile is 100 percent complete.
Second, schedule regular updates for your profile to let your peers know you are involved in your business and industry. Several tools exist that are free of charge and will allow you to schedule updates for later. This will allow you to make multiple comments in one session instead of having to do so on a reoccurring basis.
Third, connect to as many peers as possible. The more connections you have, the larger your network is and the further your reach extends. Try to dedicate at least one hour a day to LinkedIn in making new connections for the first several months. Set a goal to get to know every person in your profession who lives in your area..
Fourth, join all of the groups that relate to your profession, and be actively engaged in those groups. Groups are designed to help you network more in your chosen profession, learn about job opportunities and discuss best practices. When starting to build your network, groups are a great place to start by building relationships and establishing credibility.
Fifth, volunteer. After you have established a network and are actively engaged in several groups, you will hear of many volunteer opportunities. By volunteering, your actions will show that you are a leader in your industry and have a desire to give back to others.
Finally, be sure to refer to your LinkedIn profile as much as possible. If you belong to other social media sites, be sure to reference your LinkedIn page. Put a link to your profile on your email default signature, and in networking events ask if you can connect to people on LinkedIn.
When using LinkedIn and following these basic steps, you can become engaged in the community, set yourself as a leader among peers and build a network of professionals to refer to in times of employment needs.
Jared Olsen serves on the local Salt Lake Society for Human Resource Management chapter as an officer and board member. In 2010, he started a networking group for local HR professionals on LinkedIn called Salt Lake City Human Resource Professionals.