Of all the social networking sites out there, the best one for finding employment, is LinkedIn. The premise for LinkedIn is to get in touch with your network of previous colleagues, classmates and friends. It takes a “six degrees of separation” approach and when you connect with your immediate network (first degree), you are also able to see to whom they are connected and so on up to three degrees. If you are interested in reaching out to one of your network’s connections, you ask to be introduced. With over 37 million people already on LinkedIn, the network you may have access to is huge.
In addition to the paid job postings in which companies advertise on LinkedIn, Recruiters search LinkedIn for candidates for their positions. When you enter your profile information, it is like displaying your resume for the recruiters and hiring managers to find. You can also go one step further and ask previous colleagues to recommend you, which is where they write a paragraph or two endorsing you through their experience working with you. It’s like having a reference letter for anyone to see!
So how do you get started on LinkedIn? Go to the LinkedIn website and go through the steps to sign up. When you are asked about your contact preferences, be sure to choose the category “career opportunity” so that recruiters and hiring managers feel comfortable contacting you regarding a job they may have. Enter all of your information as if you were writing your resume, including key words, duties and accomplishments. You may even use your resume for this step. Once you are comfortable that you are appropriately represented, begin inviting people to connect to you. You will need their email addresses to do this step, unless they come up when you search on previous employers. In that case, if they’ve listed the same company, you will be given the opportunity to connect to them. You will see people responding to your invitations right away.
Once you become connected, ask individuals to endorse you. Here is where they have the opportunity to describe their experience working with you. A good way to ask for this favor, is to write an endorsement for them first. Everyone likes to be able to show off positive words that others have to say about their efforts. And you can bet that any recruiters or hiring managers who view your profile will be looking for endorsements to get a pre-reference, if you will.
Consider updating your status to tell your network what you are looking for in your job search. Make it brief, such as “looking for a new opportunity in the Los Angeles area in Sales” or whatever your field is. This alerts people that you are actively looking – it’s like having your own classified ad for hundreds, even thousands to see.
Building your network is an on-going endeavor. You should continue to build it long after you get your next job, as it’s good to keep your network fresh and active. You may wish to add people with whom you interview as you go through the job search process.
Utilizing LinkedIn for your job search is a great way to maximize your network to help you land that perfect job!