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What LinkedIn Can and Can’t Do For You

I was working on the New York Times crossword puzzle—the super-tough Saturday edition!—and came across this clue:

Job-hunter’s aid

Naturally my first thought was “resume” but it was 2 letters short. I kept working that northeast corner of the puzzle until the answer became obvious. Job-hunter’s aid:

LinkedIn

Wow! I am impressed that LinkedIn has risen to the level of public consciousness that it can appear in the mainstream crossword puzzle universe.

Clearly, LinkedIn has become an essential tool for career management and job search for millions worldwide. Yet I wonder if most people are taking full advantage of the power and capabilities of LinkedIn.

With just a few clicks and keystrokes, you can:

  • Find and connect with people at your target companies
  • Research people you’ll be interviewing with
  • Get insider info from prior employees
  • Stay abreast of news from your target companies and industries
  • See how people are linked to each other and to you
  • Follow industry leaders
  • Study keywords from relevant profiles and job postings and beef up the keyword density of your own profile
  • Stay connected with colleagues from prior employment
  • Keep an eye on those you’ve recommended and see how their careers progress
  • Identify fellow alumni who can be helpful to you in your job search
  • Build your online identity by writing, publishing, and sharing

And more!

Of course, LinkedIn is just a tool, and its real value lies beyond the clicks and keystrokes. Making real connections to real people is the critical differentiator for a successful job search.

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