Is your new year's resolution to get out of your dead-end job, or to find a job in the first place? There are myriad tools and tricks of the trade to help you score a gig, but perhaps none is better than LinkedIn. The site boasted the best revenue growth of any tech company in early 2012, and nearly hit 200 million members, proving to be a professional networking powerhouse.
The site is free, but if you're gung-ho about job seeking in 2013, you might consider investing in one of the site's premium subscriptions — LinkedIn offers several different tiers of premium accounts for job seekers and businesses alike, but the Job Seeker account provides everything you'd need during the job hunt. With this account, you can see a complete list of everyone who views your LinkedIn profile, and you can send "InMail" to five people outside your network each month, which is a great way to reach out to recruiters.
Another great perk of the LinkedIn Job Seeker account is that the you'll end up being featured higher in the search part of the site, upping the odds that your profile will be seen. The Job Seeker option is $24.95 each month, which isn't a bad rate for a high-tech headhunter.
Now, if you are going to pony up for a premium account, you ought to make sure you're making the most of the experience. Be sure to update your resume, avoiding irrelevant details and trite buzzwords — recruiters are strapped for time and see dozens of resumes each day, so get to the point and put your best foot forward. Also, since LinkedIn is a professional network, be sure to keep your profile, well, professional — LinkedIn is not Facebook, after all.
Once your profile is up-to-date, explore LinkedIn Groups, which offer networking for specific demographic groups — whether it's the alumni of a university, a fraternity or an old employer — and professions. Groups are a great way to discovering people in your industry, especially ones who went to the same college as you or with whom you share mutual friends — they'll be more inclined to help you when you're not just another face in the crowd. You'll also see a steady stream of interesting articles about new developments in the space, and you'll get involved in conversations that demonstrate your thought leadership about relevant issues. These discussions are an excellent way to make a solid first impression on a fellow group member, who could very well become your next boss.
Of course, once you come across someone who seems like an interesting professional connection, you may be wondering how to tactfully ask them about potential opportunities.