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South By Southwest 2013 is just around the corner and there’s quite a lot of online buzz about it… What started out as a small festival back in 1987 is now a giant mega-conference catering to lovers of music, film and all-things-interactive. More than 30,000 attendees are expected at this year’s event and that’s a lot of opportunity for networking if you are looking for a job or thinking about changing jobs in the near future.
LinkedIn is a must-have for jobseekers in general, but it also has a lot of functionality and features that can enhance your job search / networking at SXSW. Here are 11 key tips you can’t afford to overlook:
1. LinkedIn Profile: First and foremost, be sure to update your LinkedIn profile and optimize it. If you’re planning to network in person, then your online presence should be spit-shined and ready for the spotlight! There won’t be paper resumes passed around at SX; it’s your LinkedIn profile that the people will be checking out! Update your experience, add some skills, grow your network, get recommendations, make it SEO-optimized. Make it shine. Bonus tip: Consider mentioning in your Summary that you’ll be attending SXSW and would love to meet up with recruiters and hiring managers. This profile update will make your profile show up in SXSW search results and get your message out to your target audience!
2. LinkedIn Status: In the days heading up to the event, be sure to update your LinkedIn status daily to talk about SXSW, share articles about it and/or remind people that you’ll be attending. This is a great way to stay at the forefront of people’s minds and potentially set up a time to network “in real life” with your online connections.
3. LinkedIn for Research: Do you already know of specific companies and people that you plan to approach at SXSW? Do your homework beforehand! LinkedIn is the perfect tool for knowing more about someone’s background, experience, education and interests. The perfect icebreaker or key detail could make or break your conversation! Bonus tip: Apply for jobs online and then follow up with the recruiter via LinkedIn. Use SXSW as a perfect lead-in and reason to reach out. Ask if anyone from the company will be attending so that you can connect in person and meet the team.
4. LinkedIn Mobile App: LinkedIn’s mobile app enables you to link up with people you meet at the event and/or quickly research someone you’ve met or are about to introduce yourself to. Be strategic. Having a little insider info can guide you to know what to say, who to meet and where to devote your time.
5. Cardmunch App: How many times have you left a networking event with a handful of business cards that you never acted on? Cardmunch is a handy app that allows you to snap a photo of someone’s business card with your phone and automatically add them to your LinkedIn contacts. You can do it right then and there. Most recruiters will want to connect with you and this makes it easy for both of you to stay in touch down the road.
6. LinkedIn Company Pages / Groups: Engage with your target companies by following their LinkedIn Company Page and joining their LinkedIn Group. Some companies even have a Company Careers Group where their recruiters, hiring managers and employees engage with jobseekers. Gain insights on the company, learn about the company culture, reach out to ask if they’ll be attending SXSW. Find out where they’ll be so you can show up and network with hiring managers, recruiters and other employees. A little proactive legwork can go a long way in helping you network and stand out from the pack!
7. LinkedIn Signal: This often overlooked tool allows you to search status updates on LinkedIn, both inside and outside of your network. Use it to find relevant articles and recruiters, hiring managers and industry peers who are talking about SXSW. Respond to these updates, engage with others, find out who will be there so you can connect in person. A quick search just now turned up several company updates announcing that their recruiters would be attending SXSW (including details such as where and when). You might even discover a great opportunity, event, party or employer that would have otherwise never crossed your mind.
8. LinkedIn Today: This “morning paper” found on your LinkedIn home page highlights the most popular articles shared on LinkedIn and is even customizable based on criteria you select. Find great articles about SXSW, share interesting content with your network, remain relevant and active without having to repeat yourself everyday by saying “Hey, I’m going to SXSW. Who wants to meet up with me?”
9. LinkedIn Groups: Join LinkedIn groups related to SXSW. There’s South By Southwest (SXSW), SXSW Interactive, Unofficial SXSW Guide and even a group dedicated to the 2013 Tech Career Expo. Network within the groups. Let others know you’ll be attending and would love to meet up. The coolest thing? Joining a group means that you can message fellow group members for free. That’s close to 10,000 people, just in those four groups! Also engage in your other groups (job-specific, industry-specific) to see if anyone else is planning to attend SXSW. The hiring managers, industry peers and recruiters in those groups just might take notice and reach out to you!
10. Tech Career Expo: The 2013 Tech Career Expo is a two-day job fair held March 8-9. It’s a free event but if you pre-register, they will share your LinkedIn profile and top three skills with the 47 companies participating in their event. It’s a great way to get a head-start on the competition and get maximum exposure for your newly-updated LinkedIn profile!
11. SXSocial: Last but not least, SXSW has an online networking platform called SXSocial where you can introduce yourself, share your social profiles and mingle online with fellow attendees. Recruiters are sourcing candidates here, so be sure to include a link to your updated and optimized LinkedIn profile. It could lead to meetups, interviews and ultimately, an offer from your dream company!
How are you using Linkedin at SXSW?
Share your personal tips on how you are using Linkedin to land the job of a lifetime!