How to Use LinkedIn to Land the IT Help Desk Job You Want

By Tyler Regas

It’s time to get yourself your first IT help desk job. You’ve tracked down a number of potential employers, but where to now? The one place you will want to use for your IT help desk job search is LinkedIn, the Internet’s largest and most respected professional networking service.

LinkedIn is many things, but at its core, it is your online resume. Do not underestimate LinkedIn, either. More human resources people than not check out your profile if your resume passes muster when applying for a job. That’s because LinkedIn has more information about your work history than you likely put on the resume you sent in. As such, you will need to balance the overview you present on LinkedIn with the tailored version you present to potential suitors.

It isn’t reasonable to modify your LinkedIn profile to match your resume every time you submit for a new position. You’d only be able to apply to a single job at a time, and you’d have no idea if and when someone was actually looking. Instead, you need to make sure your profile is as complete as you can make it, allowing visitors to confirm the items you include on your resume. There are, however, two additional features that LinkedIn offers that can come in handy, Skills and Endorsements.

Skills is one of the newest profile components that LinkedIn has added that does two things. One, it gives you a single place to individually identify all of your skills (for example, Windows, Mac OS X, HTML, JavaScript, C#, Cisco Routers, and so on). Two, Skills allows your contacts to verify that you are, indeed, skilled in those areas. As your contacts use LinkedIn, they will be shown skills of yours and others and offered the option to indicate whether or not you know said skill. Over time, if you have a lot of contacts, you will amass a large number of recommendations for your skills, and the best will rise to the top.

Endorsements is more personal and more prominent. You get Endorsements by requesting them from your contacts at the companies you have worked for or organizations you are associated with. Oddly enough, you ask for a recommendation by clicking the Ask To Be Recommended button way down in the Recommendations section of your profile.

First, you select which position or organization you want to be recommended for and then you select from whom you would like to receive a recommendation. You can even request recommendations from people you knew from your schools and training organizations. The power comes from when you get those recommendations back, as you can apply them directly to those positions, and they appear under the job descriptions in your profile.

LinkedIn can be a powerful tool, but you have to put the time into making it that powerful tool. The key is to be as detailed as you can. Sure, this is diametrically opposed to preparing custom resumes for each job you apply for, but if a company is looking at your LinkedIn profile, it means that you have passed the first stage of human resources selection process. If it’s taking a longer look at you, then it’ll want the detail.