With over 35 million members in more than 140 different industries, LinkedIn is a rapidly-growing professional social network used by company executives and job seekers alike. Executives from all 500 of the Fortune 500 currently have profiles, and the site is used by almost 150,000 job recruiters.
That said, LinkedIn could be a valuable resource in searching for a job if it used to its fullest potential. A common problem that many people come across with LinkedIn is that they set up their profile, connect with a few old colleagues and don’t know really know where to go from there.
- Completing your profile
Creating a LinkedIn profile is an important step to take, even if looking for a job isn’t a top priority. In such a fragile economic climate, one can never be too careful in preparing themselves for layoffs or cutbacks. Setting up a profile is easy, but a lot of times users leave it at that and never finish.
Companies like to use LinkedIn to locate passive job candidates. Instead of having to sort through stacks of resumes of applicants, employers can seek out potential employees with the necessary skills and qualifications that meet the needs of the position and the company.
- Network building
After completing the profile, the next step is to build a network. Job seekers should realize the potential of their contacts to help them grow their career and find their next job.
Initially, one should connect with people whom they know and trust – friends, co-workers, former colleagues and other contacts of a business relationship. Once a solid foundation of direct contacts has been established, it’s time to build upon that and broaden the network.
When looking for a job, the more people someone knows the better. Being connected on LinkedIn doesn’t lead to an automatic job – that’s where recommendations come in.
- Network utilization
When prospective employers view a candidate’s LinkedIn profile, seeing recommendations from past employers and colleagues can work wonders in one’s job search. Job seekers should never be afraid to ask for recommendations, even if they are still employed with the company. They will always come in handy in the future, and sometimes the circumstances of dismissal might prevent a post-employment recommendation.
One thing that many people fail to do once they have established a network is to use it to its fullest potential. This means letting contacts know that they are in fact looking for work. As a network of professionals, people know people in the right positions to hire new employees.
The status update feature can be used to let one’s network that they are in search of a new job, or if one prefers to do this more discreetly, private messages can be sent to contacts of choice. Sometimes, it might not be the best idea to let current employers know that a new job search is underway.
LinkedIn is an excellent alternative to the exhausted resources of traditional job boards, trade publications and sites like Craigslist. It must, however, be used to its fullest potential in order to have a positive effect.
LinkedIn users should remind themselves that they are a part of a professional network, where like-minded people are interested in expanding their networks and linking up with prospective employers.
Doyle, Alisson. “LinkedIn and Your Job Search.” About.com Job Searching http://jobsearch.about.com/od/networking/a/linkedin.htm
Monty, Kaye. “Ten Waysto Use LinkedIn to Find a Job.” How to Change the World http://blog.guykawasaki.com/2009/02/10-ways-to-use.html#axzz1YVCR1kCF
Nash, Adam. “The Basics of Using LinkedIn to Find a Job.” Linkedinblog http://blog.linkedin.com/2009/02/03/the-basics-of-using-linkedin-to-find-a-job/