LinkedIn and Your Job Search – Practical Advice for Job Searching Using LinkedIn

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By Andrew Kucheriavy
October 2, 2009 in Job Networking

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If you are looking for a job and you are not on LinkedIn – you have been seriously missing out. LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com) is the world’s largest professional social network. Think of LinkedIn as Facebook for professionals.

 
Currently, you can reach over 45+ million professionals, including all of the Fortune 500 companies. I’ve been able to use LinkedIn to successfully connect with people way outside of my normal reach, like VPs , heads of HR, Presidents and CEOs in major companies. My observation is that the higher the person’s position, the more of a chance that they are on LinkedIn. The bottom line is, whatever the company, whatever the industry, you can get to that person if you have a need.

  1. To help you use LinkedIn effectively in your job search we have prepared this guide of top Ten Tips to Find a Job through LinkedIn: 

    Grow your network – As with any social website the larger your network, the more visibility you get. For example, 100 connections could give you access to 25,000 2nd degree connections, 1,000,000 third degree connections and so on. Realistically, I would say you need at least 100 GOOD connections for an efficient job search.

    Growing your network on LinkedIn is remarkably easy – you will be surprised how many coworkers, classmates, friends and relatives you will find. Just go to Search People and try to find them all (use Advanced Search for more criteria). Here is a list of people to connect with: 

    - Former (Present) Coworkers
    - Clients or Associates you’ve worked with (tip: use your e-mail archives or go through business cards)
    - Classmates from High School or College (tip: use your yearbooks)
    - Friends (if you have a Facebook account, try to find them all on LinkedIn)
    - Relatives
    - Anyone you know or come in contact with.


     


  2. Learn LinkedIn etiquette.  This is very important: LinkedIn rules dictate that you are only supposed to connect with people that know you. Violating this rule may result in you losing your invitation capabilities as well as a permanent account ban. It is important that you invite only people who are open to an invitation (in other words, people who will not report that they don’t know you. You get five of these and you are in trouble). There are a couple of good sources for learning Linked etiquette: LinkedIn etiquette; LinkedIn etiquette 2

  3. Complete Your Profile. Having a completed profile on LinkedIn is essential to other people finding you. Make sure to list your education, work experience, websites, etc. If you posted your resume on Resumark.com – make sure to include the link to it. Don’t stop until your profile is 100% complete – LinkedIn does a good job guiding you through the process. Make sure to make your profile public (this will get you visibility through search engines like Google). Also, make sure to upload a professional photo of yourself – it will make your profile and your posts stand out more. Always use your real name and real information. Do not lie about your past experience or anything else. It will eventually hurt you as someone is always bound to notice it!

  4. Obtain Recommendations. Recommendations are a very important part of your profile. Once you have built your network, send out personalized requests for recommendations to people in your network. A good way to get recommendations is to recommend someone and then ask for a recommendation in return. For obvious reasons only post recommendations that speak of you highly (you have control over that in your profile). Try to get at least a couple of good, solid recommendations listed in your profile.

  5. Join Job Search Groups (for example we run a Job 2.0 Search group for Resumark). Groups on LinkedIn are a great resource for advice as well as a good way to meet new people. Once accepted to a group (you have to request to join in most), start talking to people. Initiate discussions, answer questions, etc. Make sure to post an introductory message under Discussions but don’t overdo it. Just mention your background, experience, as well as your goals and make sure to mention that you are open to new connections. You will be surprised to see how many people will connect with you. Also, by having an interaction with anyone in the group, for example responding to their post, or having them respond to yours, you essentially get to “know” that person and can safely send an invitation to connect u without violating any rules. 




  6. Post Questions and Answer Questions. With LinkedIn you can ask a limited number of questions a month (depending on your account type). You can make use of asking questions not only to get answers and advice (already very useful in your job search) but also to meet new people. Make sure to thank them for their answer and use this opportunity to invite them to connect (ask for their permission first). Also, make sure to rate answers when the question is closed. Responding to other people’s questions is also a great way to meet new people as well as to earn some creditability and perhaps get noticed by a potential employer. Answering questions in your field is a great opportunity to showcase your experience and knowledge that may not come unnoticed!

  7. Personalize Invitations. Do not use the standard “I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.” invitation. I personally found out that it is much more effective if you personalize it. Greet the person by their first name. Remind them of how you’ve met them: “You have responded to my message”, “We are in the same group”, “I also used to work in the same field”, “Thank you for responding to my question”, etc. At the same time tell them that you are working on expanding your network and ask them if you may add them as a connection. This kind of approach is guaranteed to generate a lot of connections.





  8. Use Your Status Updates Regularly. By updating your status you are letting your entire network see what you are up to. People don’t often do that but it is a good way to get noticed as status updates get included in weekly e-mail updates that LinkedIn users receive by default. 




  9. Learn to Search LinkedIn Effectively – LinkedIn is a great tool to look up and connect with people that you don’t know. We’ve talked about some of the best ways to find HR people or recruiters in companies that have openings that interest you. LinkedIn s a great tool to find them (use Advanced Search to look for HR personnel in the company of interest) and to connect with them. Remember, that your search results are always limited by your associations (2nd degree connections, groups, etc. so you want to grow your network as much as possible). Here is a good reference from LinkedIn on how their search works: http://learn.linkedin.com/linkedin-search/#advanced_people_search

  10. Learn to Use Introductions. LinkedIn Introductions is the best way to connect with new people, especially if you are trying to reach someone in HR in that company that has an opening you are so interested in. Introductions let you contact users in your network, through the people you know. This is where having a large network helps tremendously. If you want to contact a LinkedIn user who is two or three degrees away from you, you can request an introduction through one of your connections. Your connection will, in turn, decide whether to forward it on to the desired recipient.
 


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