NEW YORK (
) -- Although nothing beats a solid resume and a well-worded cover letter, job-seekers should think seriously about polishing and promoting their
(LNKD - Get Report)
profiles, according to a survey by social recruiting site
. The survey has a representative 94% of recruiters saying LinkedIn was their top online platform for vetting candidates, compared with 65% who use
and 55% who turn to
. Even applicants who don't have much experience with recruiters should take note: The survey projects a 73% increase in social recruiting investment this year.
Experts say smart job hunters should look at their LinkedIn profiles with a critical eye and start digging deep for connections, conversation and critique. We've got the rundown on the top 5 ways to make LinkedIn an asset in your job search.
1. Show some personality -- just not too much
"LinkedIn is different," says Ian Ide, president of the search divisions at
. "It's somewhere between social media and a resume, and that's what trips a lot of people up. It's not so personal that you're offering up casual status updates, but it's not so professional that you can't show a little personality."
That personality should be shown in a professional way, Ide cautions. What you're trying to avoid is looking too detached from the real world -- you don't want to seem like another corporate stiff.
"At the end of the day, time is limited, and if someone looks very cold, recruiters may not think it's worth reaching out," Ide says. "But if you mention the type of technology you prefer or a sports team you like, that allows a recruiter's correspondence to be more personalized, and they're going to feel more comfortable reaching out to you."
It's all about establishing rapport, Ide explains. At its core, LinkedIn is about building relationships. Smart job-seekers know that relationships are best formed when insights into personality are made available -- but be mindful that you don't overshare, says Doug Brown, academic program manager for the MBA program in the Malcolm Baldrige School of Business at Post University in Waterbury, Conn.
"People think it's Facebook, and it's not," Brown says. "You might make a post about a political candidate on Facebook, but think about LinkedIn as the workplace. If you wouldn't discuss it in the workplace, don't talk about it on LinkedIn."