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6 LinkedIn tips to get the job you want

Your savvy social media skills may have a gap when it comes to marketing yourself. Here are ways that can help you get in front of hiring managers looking for your skill set.

A resume and great personal presentation are necessities when you want to land a great tech job. But just as important is your use of social media.

How well you use social media can mean the difference between getting noticed and hired and being overlooked or ignored. Here are some simple ways to enhance your social media presence to help in your job research.

No. 1: Focus on the right social media services

For a start, experts say, you should concentrate your efforts on social media services that are squarely aimed at the business world rather than being used primarily for personal reasons. And that means using LinkedIn.

"LinkedIn is where companies go to find employees and where employees should go to research employers and potential managers," says Jim Johnson, senior vice president at staffing firm Robert Half Technology, which focuses on technology-related jobs. "Facebook isn't where people go to find tech jobs."

He adds, though, that the proper, controlled use of Twitter can be useful for tech job seekers in certain circumstances.

"Sharing technical information or commenting on it on Twitter can help get you noticed by companies that might want to hire you," he says. "But if you use Twitter, you need to make sure that you keep your personal and professional lives separate."

Along those lines, you should take care to keep your LinkedIn presence professional and not allow it to veer off into the personal, says J.M. Auron, a leading IT and IT executive resume writer. "LinkedIn should be completely professional," he says. "To quote Michael Corleone from 'The Godfather,' 'It's not personal; it's strictly business.'"


No. 2: Make your social media presence a lifelong commitment

If you wait until you're about to start job hunting to groom your social media presence, you'll be way behind the eight ball.

"At every stage of your career, whether you're just entering the workforce or you've been in the workforce a while and you've moved into management, you need to not just have a social media presence but constantly maintain it and grow it," says Johnson. "That's especially important in tech, where things move fast. You need to show that you're keeping up with whatever is new."

In practice, that means creating posts that show off your knowledge about the latest technologies and technology issues and commenting on posts that others make. It also means following influential tech companies on social media, as well as influencers in the technologies and fields you're interested in, says Johnson.

"You need to be constantly active," he says. "The more you post, the more personal interactions you'll get, and that leads to growing your network and finding job leads. Make sure you 'like' posts as well. When you interact with other people, you're interacting with their entire network, which grows your network exponentially. And the larger your network, the more contacts you have, the greater the odds are you'll get solid job leads."

No. 3: Fill out your entire profile

The smallest detail in your social media profile can lure companies into contacting you—or can leave you high and dry in your job search, says Johnson.

"You need to fill out everything in your public profile. If you log in and you're told it's 75 percent done or 90 percent done, you should immediately go in and put what's missing. And make sure that you include not just the title of your job, but any keywords that describe you, your tech skills, and the job you're looking for."

The reason he says it's so important is that companies create algorithms that scour through profiles for skills, information, and keywords—especially on LinkedIn. When they find matching potential candidates, the company's human resources department gets automatic alerts about the candidates. The more information you include on your profile, the more likely you'll get flagged as a potential hire.

No detail is too minor. For example, I know someone (who didn't want her name used) whose LinkedIn profile included that she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area but not that she works there. She had left that part of her profile blank, assuming it was self-evident. Apparently, it wasn't. In preparation for her job hunt, she included in her profile that she lived and worked in the Bay Area. Within two weeks she was recruited by both Facebook and Salesforce.

It's not just filling out the form entirely that's important, says Johnson. So is making sure that your profile "tells the story of who you are, what you've been doing, and where you're going." Especially important is getting across what technologies or aspects of business you're passionate about and highlighting things that are compelling about your tech experience.

He also recommends linking to code samples you've done if they're applicable for the job you want. Including any technical certifications you have is also vital, because "they're searchable and easily findable, so prospective employers will more likely contact you if you include them."

No. 4: Include graphics and video

Graphics and video also tend to get job searchers noticed, says Johnson, so include them as well. Auron adds that you should have a professional headshot on your LinkedIn page. "It's important that it be professional looking and not a Facebook photo, not something cute, not something goofy," Auron says. "So if you're an engineer, you should wear an open-collared shirt, and if you're a tech executive, you should probably wear a jacket. This is important at all job levels, but it's particularly important from the director level up."

No. 5: Groom your personal brand

Michelle Marian, chief marketing officer at DHI Group, parent company of tech job board Dice, expands on what Auron and Johnson say about profiles, noting it's vital to use social media to create and groom your unique tech brand. She explains, "If you're looking for ways to use social media to enhance your job search, work on your personal brand. Reach out to people that are working on similar tech projects, find online communities where people are sharing opportunities or great tech-focused content, and most importantly, contribute to those spaces. Bring your own unique flair and know-how to platforms that are suitable for work. This will encourage future employers to hire you due to your contributions to the larger tech industry."

No 6: Hide what should be hidden

Even though you'll likely focus all your energy on a professional social media network like LinkedIn rather than one designed for personal use like Facebook, you need to realize that potential employers will probably look at all your social media activity if they're interested in hiring you, including Facebook and others. So before embarking on a job hunt, examine all of your social media activity and delete or hide any posts, photos, comments, or other activity that might cast you in a bad light. Now is the time to delete those beer pong photos.

"If you've got a Facebook profile that isn't consistent with your professional image, keep everything private or even put it under another name," Auron says. "And don't post anything about politics that will affect your professional brand or persona, unless you would not consider working with anyone who has different political views than yours."

This article/content was written by the individual writer identified and does not necessarily reflect the view of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company.