It’s Who You Know: If You Need a Job, You Need LinkedIn

One of my dream jobs is to work for Disney, and back in the spring, I used the job search function on LinkedIn to find the perfect opening. LinkedIn surveyed the Disney job site as well as all the job sites to present me with the opportunity. Using LinkedIn, I then noticed that I had a contact who worked at Disney. I clicked on the link, and lo and behold, it was a former student of mine. And he worked in the same department where I applied! He walked my resume to the hiring manager immediately, and I obtained an interview and became a finalist for the position. That’s the magic of LinkedIn.

LinkedIn brings together the two most powerful resources for job hunting: your network and a comprehensive listing of all jobs from the Internet. No other online resource combines these together into a search utility that also allows the user to draw on their existing networks to obtain a job. And as we all know, it’s who you know that counts as much as what opportunities you become aware of when you’re looking for your next job.

In other article posted here, I have explained how to use LinkedIn for networking in your area of expertise and how to establish yourself as an expert for recruiters and potential customers. This is a more passive use of LinkedIn for job purposes. Below I will describe how to use LinkedIn more proactively for a job search.

First, what LinkedIn can and cannot do. LinkedIn is the number one professional networking site on the Internet, referenced by over 70 percent of employers when they are making professional hires. It is an excellent tool for those who are professionals in law, business, and technology. However, it is not yet too useful for retail, fashion, or the creative professions such as artists, producers, and writers. A friend of mine currently is creating that online networking site, but it is not operable just yet.

Here is my ten step guide on how to use LinkedIn for effective job hunting:

1. Create a full LinkedIn profile complete with detailed job descriptions and QUANTIFIABLE results under each employer. Then ask one person from each employer to recommend your work on LinkedIn. Recommendations are critical. Be sure to use targeted key words that a recruiter or employer would use to search for someone in your profession.

2. Add as many people possible to your network. The key is to add useful people who have large business networks. Do not add every classmate or friend who works at the Olive Garden or the Gap. Save them for Facebook. They are not going to help you too much if you are looking for a job as a computer programmer. One way to expand your network is to use the “Add Contacts” tab and then upload your address book from Outlook, Yahoo, Google or Hotmail.

3. Now click on the “Jobs” tab at the very top of the LinkedIn screen.

4. Enter a keyword for your search and your zip code. You also can use the Advanced Search once you have run this basic search to further narrow down your results.

5. The first set of results you will see are exclusive to LinkedIn. There may be none or just a few. But the ones that are there are high quality and often exclusive to the site.

6. Then click on the tab “web”. Lo and behold, you now have before you a comprehensive listing of all jobs available on the Internet including those from job sites such as Indeed, Career Builders, and Monster. There is no need to search beyond LinkedIn — it all is right here for you.

7. Once you have found a job of interest, note the right hand side of the page where LinkedIn informs you if someone in your network works for that employer, or if you know someone who does (2nd or 3rd degree network). Click on the link to see who you know, and then drop them a message asking for their assistance in getting your name or profile to the hiring manager. Do this BEFORE you send a resume.

8. If you find a 2nd or 3rd degree contact at the employer, click on the “get introduced” link where LinkedIn allows you to write the 2nd degree contact as well as the person in your network to establish the connection.

9. Read the job listing and then apply using the employer’s application.

10. Pray. Network. Take a run. Have a glass of wine. Sleep.

That is how you establish a professional network on LinkedIn that will serve you in finding a job and for a lifetime of business and meaningful relationships to serve your great purpose in the world.

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