In this article we will answer the following questions:
- Do I need a LinkedIn profile to look for a job in Switzerland?
- What should I write in my profile?
- Who should I connect with?
- How do I actively use LinkedIn for job search purpose?
If you have not yet clarified your professional project in Switzerland, save this article for later; LinkedIn is part of your on-line personal branding, It would not make sense to start working on your brand before you have set your targets, identified your audience and have a clear understanding of what you want to offer.
If your professional project is already mature; let’s get started!
1. Do I need a LinkedIn profile to look for a job in Switzerland?
LinkedIn is quite popular in Switzerland: There were already more than half a million of accounts in Switzerland beginning of 2011. Most LinkedIn users are located in the French speaking part of Switzerland or are International professionals located all over the country. Xing remains the preferred network of German speaking Swiss professionals.
Having a LinkedIn account gives you both visibility and exposure to these 500,000 professionals.
In Switzerland more than 13’000 professionals from the HR and recruiting industries are on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn profiles appear on the Google first page when searching a professional by name: LinkedIn is the most visible part of your on-line personal branding.
It's quick, easy and free to get started using LinkedIn. You only need to sign up for LinkedIn and create a LinkedIn profile
2. What should I write on my profile?
If you do not have a LinkedIn profile yet, our recommendation is to get started by creating a “ghost” profile first. A ghost profile will allow you to take a tour in the LinkedIn environment without being exposed to other members.
You should create a LinkedIn profile, skip the offer to start inviting your contacts, fill in your last company name and last title at that stage, then go in Settings and put all your “privacy controls” parameters to the most discreet options.
From now on, you can explore LinkedIn, go and look at your former colleagues or your alumni members’ profiles, look at existing interest groups (most of them have posts visible to public). You will soon become acquainted to the LinkedIn environment and be ready for the next step.
Your final LinkedIn profile should show what you would like an employer to see about you. Let’s assume you have a well-defined professional project, including a clear understanding of the role you are looking for and which type of structure. You now know what your targeted companies are and are aware of your unique selling points compared to your competitors. Your CV is ready.
Creating your profile is about compiling the previous into one single platform.
Pay special attention to the Professional "Headline", this is what will make people look at your profile or not. Make sure you use a professional photo. Use the summary section to customize your offer and highlight your strongest points and your expertise.
The summary is also the place to publish your professional project and your brand. When available, use your former companies LinkedIn profile to insure that your ex-colleagues will find you.
What you will select in the LinkedIn “Skills and expertise “section, will help your profile be retained in searches.
Many people just create a profile and then hope someone will find them. That's not how it works. You have to work your network, even on LinkedIn.
3. Who should I connect with?
LinkedIn starts giving you some networking leverage when you reach 60 and more contacts. Indeed, you will only access the full profile of most members if they are at least level 2 connections.
The first step is to activate your existing network and to bring it on LinkedIn. Don’t forget to customize your invitation. Our recommendation is to take this opportunity to inform your existing network about your professional project in Switzerland and to ask them if they can think about whom you should connect from their own network.
The second step is to use LinkedIn as a follow-up tool to all new contacts made in Switzerland during events or during an application process.
The third way to grow your network is to join interest groups and to participate actively by sharing information and posting interesting comments on other members’ posts. When you feel that there’s a common interest with some group members, you can invite them to join your network. Alumni LinkedIn group are widely spread and are good way to (re)connect with members.
We do not recommend to send (or accept) invitations to people you never heard about: We believe a network is a group of people with whom you share common interest and to whom you commit to a certain form of give and take relationship.
4. How do I actively use LinkedIn for job search purpose?
Basic networking rules such as showing respect to someone who shared info, help or his contacts, by following-up also apply on LinkedIn. You need to be confident both in giving help, and in making request.
The most direct use of LinkedIn for a job search is the access to an increasing number of job ads posted on this media.
But the most efficient way to use LinkedIn in your job search is networking: Most job openings in Switzerland are not published publically and will only reach you via your network.
Take time to think what you can offer to your targeted network. You can make that offer visible in your profile either directly in your summary or by using the "applications" feature (SlideShare, bloglink, Box.net) You can connect to your blog, take polls, post reading lists, share presentations you've created, etc..
Join groups related to your profession (or desired profession) and take an active role. Post questions, offer advice, share tips, etc. Active group members have more chances of "being seen." Seek out for groups related to an organization you'd like to work for. You can even create your own group and start gathering members.
You can demonstrate your skills by answering featured questions asked by professional expert (go in “More” /”answers”).
An additional benefit of using linkedIn for your job search is the access to a great resource for application preparation. For example, you can find information on the company structure, on the line managers or the HR manager’s name. Obviously, you can also see the profiles of employees at the position and company you are targeting.
In this article we have presented the possibilities offered by LinkedIn for your job search. If you are interested in a job in the German speaking part of Switzerland and if you can write and read German, we suggest that you additionally apply the same process and tips in Xing.
If you are interested to learn more about LinkedIn, we recommend reading “How to REALLY use LinkedIn” Upon request we’ll happily send you a set of this 240 pages guidebook.
Sandrine van den Oudenhoven
Copyright job4U2 2012
Copyright job4U2 2012