In the past few months, two of my good friends started looking for a new gig and I shared with them a primer on using LinkedIn to find a job. As I’ve always maintained, be engaged on sites like LinkedIn before you need a job, but rest assured if you’re looking for a job you definitely want to add LinkedIn into the mix. So, I put together a basic checklist that’d come in handy for any job seeker.
- Your profile – Check if it’s got the basics covered. Besides the obvious, don’t forget to update websites (with any press articles or blog posts you’re mentioned in), summary & specialties (cos this really stands out when people stumble upon your profile), and your skills (btw, you can reorder these sections to be most effective).
- Your connections – Next, your specific LinkedIn universe is only as effective as the people you’re connected to on there. So, find your real friends, colleagues, peers and connect with them on LinkedIn. Two ways to do this: people you may know or find your friends on email (whatever mail client you’ve got web or desktop works).
- Search – Have a strategy / a plan / keywords before you try researching jobs, companies and people you know who could help you on LinkedIn. Try advanced search here (but before that come up with key areas, places you like to find a job at, etc. And, the best part is you can slice and dice these results through your past college and work history. So, find your friends from school or past colleagues who are connected to a hiring manager (for e.g.)
- Reach out to potentials – once you have your first set of search results. Figure out how you’re gonna reach them. There are two ways :
- Connect through a common connection. If you’ve a common connection ping them for an introduction. Always the best way. The only way in my opinion.
- Cold call. Not ideal but if time’s of the essence you could try InMail (requires subscription) that lets you reach out to folks who may help.
That’s just a primer. I realized since I was sharing these tips with friends who were looking for a job, I may as well just codify it here on the blog for those searching for similar tips.
But, don’t forget, you don’t want to start looking for a job in the last minute, so go into your LinkedIn profile today, do some spring cleaning today, edit work experience after every project completes, gather recommendations from folks you worked with right after the project ends, or easier still create a twitter profile and tweet out a simple recommendation to a friend (it’s easier than writing a lengthy one) and connect your Twitter account with your LinkedIn account — start establishing your reputation on the web, before you realize you need a job!
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