Networking using LinkedIn®, part 2 of 2

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OK, so last time we spoke about setting up your LI account and basics you need to get going. Today, we will talk about some basic hints on using it to find a job.

We will assume you have gotten some recommendations and have made connections to whomever you can. One thing I didn’t get into last post was “open networking”, because I didn’t want to confuse the basic process to making connections. I am an open networker. This means I choose to allow people to contact me or connect without having to have a prior relationship.  As a recruiter and businessperson, this makes a lot of sense for me to do. This is something you may want to do, but it will definitely increase the amount of time you need to spend on LI and will also get the word out much quicker that you are on the job march. The other thing is, depending on how many connections you amass, you may get lots of introduction requests.

An introduction is this: a connection of yours sees on your connection list someone they would like to get in touch with. If they have a business account, they can request a formal introduction through LI, and you can choose whether to forward or not (you don’t need to have a paying account to forward). This all assumes you choose to make your connections visible. I have no opinion either way, it is all a matter of personal choice but this is a networking site, so the whole purpose of networking is sharing who you know so that’s why I choose to show mine. My rule for forwarding is if you ask me to do this, don’t just send a request without some context as to why you would like to speak with them. Massive intro requests without reason should not be forwarded.

OK, back to your reason for being on LinkedIn. Make sure when setting up your account you also indicate in your profile you ARE looking for career opportunities. It doesn’t stop me from contacting people as a recruiter because it doesn’t necessarily mean you aren’t looking, but some people set up their searches to find people who explicitly say this. You may not be looking but someone you know with similar skills may be and you may be a referral.

Like your resume, when things change in your career life, make sure you reflect that in your profile: new training, a contract position while looking for a permanent role, etc. LinkedIN is excellent at getting to the top of search rankings, so it is a great way to be found, which is why you need to keep it current.

Lastly, don’t wait for potential employers to come to you. Go to them. LI has 2 types of job postings and the distinction is important:

  1. They have paid job listings posted on LI’s site that usually tell you who is leading up the hiring
  2. They also pull jobs from other boards and company job sites on the web through SimplyHired®, these are not directly correlated to a LI member

You can do a hybrid of traditional job search and networking here. If you see a posting on LI (#1 from above), see who is posting it and find out how you are connected to them and do the necessary networking to get yourself to the front of the line. Again, people like to see well-recommended candidates, so make sure you have at least a couple of recommendations up there too.

If you see a posting that interests you from category #2 above, search the company on LI to find out people from that company on LI that you could be connected to through your network. LI published a nice page on how to do this.

Some colleges teach courses on LI so there is no way I can detail all the benefits here. A lot you will learn by just familiarizing yourself with the site. If you have a specific question, please contact me. I am also available for phone consultations (sorry, not free 😦 ), but special consideration given for those not working.

Next post we will talk about Facebook® and the ups and downs about using it for job searches.

Bill Meirs is the Managing Principal with the Church & Palfrey Group, a search firm specializing in Technology and Sales Searches. Bill has 11+ years experience in corporate and agency environments. He frequently consults companies and individuals in the areas of talent acquisition, recruitment process improvement, recruitment advertising and branding, resume writing,  and salary negotiation.

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