LinkedIn is the best social network for professionals in all industries to connect, network, share information and, of course, find new job opportunities. Recruiters frequently search LinkedIn to build relationships with IT contractors and when you're not active there, you are missing out.
Did you know that even if you are diligent at keeping your LinkedIn profile updated and connecting with recruiters, you could still be falling behind? That's because, like any technology-related company, LinkedIn makes ongoing advancements and updates to their product. The IT contractors who know about them can quickly set themselves apart from those continuing with the status quo. Here's a look at some of latest LinkedIn features from the past year:
Find People Nearby
Have you ever been at a large conference or networking event and wondered who in your network is there? LinkedIn's new "Find Nearby" will help with that. All you need to do is open your mobile app and go to the My Network section. Turn on the "Find Nearby" option and give permission to show your location. The tool does have its limitations because you have to remain on the Find Nearby page in order to be discovered and others have to be doing the same. In other words, this is only useful at a large event where many people are also interested in connecting and know about the feature.
This might be the most interesting feature LinkedIn has added -- being able to publicly thank a connection on one of 10 subjects (Amazing Mentor, Inspirational Leader, Going Above and Beyond, Great Job, Great Presentation, Making an Impact, Making Work Fun, Outside the Box Thinker, Team Player, Thank You). To use the feature, visit your connection's profile and under "More" select "Give Kudos". From there, choose the topic and follow the rest of the instructions. You only get to give kudos three times per week, so use them wisely, but what a powerful way to build a relationship!
Select "Remote Jobs" as a location
Independent contracting is all about flexibility, including the location where you work. Depending on your local economy, finding IT gigs locally may not be easy and uprooting your family for a 5-month contract also isn't feasible. Now, when you search for jobs on LinkedIn, the location field includes a "Remote Jobs" option that will display opportunities you can do from anywhere in the world. You can also add remote work to your career preferences so recruiters on the other side of the world will know to contact you for opportunities.
QR Codes to Connect to Your Profile
It took long enough, but it appears LinkedIn has finally adopted QR codes.Customizing your LinkedIn URL is a must when you want to easily share your profile, and QR codes give you one more way to share your credentials. From your mobile app, the search bar now has an icon to the right of it that looks like a QR code. When you touch it, a new page opens up to either scan somebody else's QR code or view your own code. Download your code and place it on business cards, signature blocks, resumes or anywhere else you may want to share your LinkedIn profile.
Ask for a Referral
There is no better way to get a recruiter's attention than by a warm lead and LinkedIn now makes it even easier to get them. When you see a LinkedIn job posting, it will also tell you if anybody in your network is already working for that company. If they are, LinkedIn shows a "Ask for a Referral" option, which generates a message to your connection asking them to share your profile with the recruiter or hiring manager, and links back to the original job posting. What newer LinkedIn features are you most excited about? Or, are their any tried and true classic features that you can't live without? We'd love to hear more about how you use this powerful social network to increase your opportunities. Please share in the comments below.