Last week we looked at Building Credibility on LinkedIn, which factors in today’s discussion of finding new opportunities, specifically in regards to advancing your career.
In early 2001, when the internet bubble was exploding, my wife and I decided to move from Chicago back to Atlanta. Even with the internet sky falling I could still look in the Chicago Sunday paper and find several pages of online and offline marketing jobs. Not so in Atlanta.
Prior to our move I did some looking on Monster.com, Career Builder, and several other sites but didn’t see much listed. So I assumed that I would have to get down to Atlanta to press the flesh. This turned into a 5 month search that only ended because I agreed to take a position that was 100% commission based.
If I were to make that same move today the process would be completely different. While the job search sites did a great job of aggregating job posts, there was nothing to help me to the same from a networking perspective. LinkedIn has changed the equation.
With LinkedIn I could quickly identify people to connect to, begin building my brand, and search in the jobs section for opportunity. Before stepping foot in Atlanta, I would already have a handle on networking, having identified the right people to reach out to.
So within this discussion there are several keys to focus on if you want to effectively utilize LinkedIn in a job search.
The Who’s Who:
Its not just about who you know; its about who the people you know, know. The beauty of LinkedIn is that you can see these connections and then leverage your network to develop opportunities.
This requires that you have a significant enough network to deliver results. A significant network might be 100 connections, it might be 4,000. You have to determine which connection strategy will work best for you.
My personal thought is that 4,000 people in your network will be more beneficial than 100. The counter argument is that a smaller network will be mad up of people you know well, and therefore more beneficial. I disagree. Regardless of the size of your network, you know your personal connections the same regardless if they are surrounded by connection you don’t know.
What does your profile say about you
You profile should paint a positive picture of you. Contributing this picture is your photo, your past work history, your summary, your educational history, and your summary. Neglecting to include these is like failing to color some of the numbers in a paint by number picture.
If you’re in a job search you don’t want to present an incomplete picture. Nor should your efforts be sloppy, including badly worded descriptions, grammatical errors (my downfall at times), or errors in omission.
You also have the opportunity to utilize the few applications available to paint a more 3 dimensional profile. You could add your resume, use Google Presentation to add a video resume, add a PowerPoint presentation positioning your credentials, and much more. You could even write a industry blog to demonstrate your knowledge.
What are others saying about you
When you look at jobs listed on LinkedIn one of the requests is that candidates have 10 recommendations. This isn’t a requirement, but obviously recruiters and hiring managers are looking from some basic level of credibility.
Recommendations are a great way to build credibility, but you can expect that they will be scrutinized. One saying what a great person you are may not hold much sway. A client recommendation talking about how you exceeded expectations has power. You can expect that not only will the recommendation be reviewed, but the hiring person is likely going to look at the credibility of the person who provided the recommendation.
Valid or not, reciprocal recommendations are probably going to be devalued. Also recommendation with grammar mistakes or poorly written ones may do more harm than good.
The LinkedIn jobs section is one of the most powerful parts of LinkedIn. The jobs tool which will show you how your are connected to jobs listing on several non-LinkedIn sites is a valuable tool that you should utilize. I wish these options had been available in 2001.
Finding New Stars
The flip side of the coin is that as a owner of a business or the person responsible for hiring new talent, LinkedIn is a great resource. You have the ability to learn more about potential candidates in a quick fashion. You can compare the resume to the profile. You can search for former co-workers to conduct informational interviews.
You also can conduct searches for candidates that fit specific profiles. You may not learn enough to make a final decision, but you can identify red flags, use available information to narrow down candidates, and develop a more in depth knowledge of potential hires.
Finally, you can list your jobs in the database which allows the applicant to submit a resume and forward recommendations as part of the process.
Whether your looking for your next opportunity or looking to hire your next star LinkedIn can be an important part of the process.
What are some success stories you have experienced using LinkedIn?
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