I’d like to share with you my favorite techniques for using LinkedIn, a tool I have personally seen help job seekers land jobs. LinkedIn can not only strengthen your job search. It can also improve your interviews.
Yes, using this tool will require a bit of work on your part. None of it too stressful nor extremely time consuming. And, in the end, it can make a huge difference in your job search.
Here’s all the work it really requires. To use Linked you need to:
- Create an account. Add a professional photo and fill in your work history with just the basic details.
- As soon as you join, ask all of your friends and family to become part of your network.
- A week later, so you already have some connections, ask past co-workers, neighbors and other members of your community to join.
- A week after that, ask weaker connections like the person you met at the coffee shop last week to join.
Where is LinkedIn most helpful?
LinkedIn is extremely valuable to the job search and interviewing for one critical reason. It can help you find company insiders, the people who work where you want to work. Why is this such a strength?
Here’s why. A company insider can:
- Tell you about jobs that haven’t been publicly advertised,
- Forward your resume to the relevant people and get you out of stack,
- Give you the scoop on a company or hiring manager before you interview.
The key is to first find an insider, then connect with them via LinkedIn or a mutual contact, and then set-up a short informal phone call where you ask questions about them and the company.
Now you may be asking yourself, how do I find company insiders on LinkedIn?
- Go to the search bar in the upper right hand corner.
- Select companies as the search type.
- Put in the name of the company and you can be directed to the company page, which includes a list of names of people who work there.
- Those people who are most relevant to you (have the most connection to you) will be listed at the top.
You can then do a second search for people and again put in the company name as search terms and see who pops up.
Then, how do you connect with these company insiders?
Start out with insiders who have mutual contacts. Ask your contact to make an intro for you. Then move onto insiders who have a point of common connection –same university, same professional association etc. Send a very short message that explains who you are and that you’d like to have a short conversation to learn more about what they do.
(Note: better than sending a LinkedIn message is to find their email address and send a message there.)
What should the conversation look like once you connect?
It’s should be short, 20 minutes max. You ask questions such as: What do you do? What’s the company like? Where is the company going? At the end, thank them and ask them who else they recommend you speak with.
If you are contacting them for an open position, you can ask about the job and the people who work there, and what kind of person would be a good match for the open job. At the end, you can also ask them if they would mind passing your resume along to the hiring manager or, if you’re interviewing, ask if they have any interview tips for you.
Always follow up with a Thank You note.
Yes, what I have described here will take some effort on your part. Yet, if you follow through, LinkedIn can truly strengthen your job search and interviews.