Coronavirus downturn: LinkedIn adds new profile features, tools to give job seekers an edge

With millions out of work and looking for jobs, Blake Barnes with LinkedIn is sharing insider site tips, tools and features to help people during these difficult times.
With more employers cutting payrolls to save money amid the coronavirus downturn, economists have forecast that the unemployment rate for April could go as high as 20%. That would be the highest rate since it reached 25% during the Great Depression.

Amid such a dire job market, those seeking work need every advantage at their disposal.

Blake Barnes, senior director of product management with LinkedIn, joined ABC7 via Skype to discuss how the networking website is helping people during these times.

How important is that right now, and how can people take advantage of possible connections they may have with others?
One thing people underestimate is the power of the professional community -- and the pandemic hasn't changed them. In fact, it's now more important than ever to connect with your community. People you know, me, know about jobs that aren't listed or may be able to give you a helpful introduction or tip. So I encourage everyone to reach out to their friends, family, ex colleagues, people they know in the real world to start the conversation online because you never really know where it will end.

3.8M US workers file for unemployment last week, raising total to 30 million since coronavirus hit
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This comes as the coronavirus death toll in the U.S. passes President Donald Trump's predicted 60,000.


What kinds of things can make a profile stand out? That may give them the edge to land a job.
The first is that there's a feature on your profile, on your LinkedIn profile, that says you're open to new opportunities. You can turn this feature on. You have the opportunity for recruiters to come to you, so it's a great start. The second is to keep your profile updated, experience, previous job experience, location. These things need to be updated to make sure your profile is fresh to give you the best chance at getting an opportunity. And the third is to list at least five port skills you have. And there's actually a thing called LinkedIn skills assessment, which are short assessments that allow you to show that you know that skill. Now, when you demonstrate that you know that skills on your profile, recruiters are much more likely to reach out giving you a better chance at getting an opportunity.

Can you tell us more about jobs with a lot of open listings, like those in customer service? What resources will people find at opportunity.linkedin.com?
One of the things that we have on LinkedIn is a number of jobs and there's actually over 1 million jobs in customer service alone. And 65,000 of those for an entry-level customer service specialist role. It's a great way to get into customer service and we've created what's called a LinkedIn learning path or series of LinkedIn courses that we've pulled together to help you understand the skills you need to become a customer service specialist -- and it's a great way to get into the industry. So once you take no course you can list the skills in your profile and have a better chance at getting a job.
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