Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Using LinkedIn to Help You Find a Job

Many of you probably know photography is not my full-time gig (I am a Cube Warrior by day), but you may not know that in January, I embarked on what feels like the most intense job search of my life.  Last week, I was awarded a fantastic job and I am so excited about it!

Guess how I got my resume to stand apart from the likely hundreds of people who applied? LinkedIn! Guess how I targeted my job search only to companies that met the tight criteria I established for my next employer? LinkedIn! Guess how I found out what it was really like to work there before I bothered applying? You got it - LinkedIn.

So, I just wanted to share some ways LinkedIn can help you in your job search. I got 6 interviews in 4 weeks, so don't nobody tell me there are no jobs out there. San Diego is a tough market too, and I was being picky about what I applied to!  There is hope for us all. Here goes:

1. Use the Company Search to find companies you like
Lots of companies don't post their jobs on Craigslist. Shocking, I know. By posting their jobs only on the company job board, they draw the attention of candidates who are genuinely interested in that specific organization.  Googling "companies based in San Diego" doesn't really pull up a solid list so I went to LinkedIn.

The Company Search lets you search by industry, company size, and most importantly (unless you want to move) location. You can even specify only Headquarter locations, which was helpful to me because I knew I wanted to work for a big, established organization. I discovered a huge array of cool companies I didn't even know were here. I went to their job boards and then plugged the link into a spreadsheet.  Before I knew it, I had a list of 60 companies with their job board links easily accessible so I could stay on top of new posts on a regular basis.

2. Expand your network by connecting with everyone you'd feel comfortable with asking to introduce you to a professional contact or refer you to a job.
The last part of that sentence is really important. I have some friends who are really fun to hang out with, but I wouldn't introduce them to my boss. Make sure your LinkedIn Network is made up of people you want to be professionally associated with.


3. Expand your network by joining as many relevant professional groups as possible.
This is KEY. If you are connected to someone through a group, you can email them directly through LinkedIn. This is so helpful when applying/following up to jobs ESPECIALLY if you don't have a direct contact at the company (so many companies have application systems that just feel like a black hole. Thanks Taleo!).  When possible and appropriate, I reached out to people saying, "We have ----- group in common, but I'm writing to you about the ------ position I applied for at your company".

4. Don't be shy about sending a LinkedIn message to people that work at a company you have your eye on, even if there isn't a job currently available.
If you reach to someone simply to learn more about what they do and the organization itself, you're in a better position to ask for info/assistance when the job DOES open up.  They'll know you more than they would have otherwise, and know that you're truly excited about the company. Both of those factors will help get your resume to the right people.

Plus, you'll get an inside scoop.  I realized I had a friend who worked at a company I had my eye on; talking to him told me that the work/life balance the company offered wouldn't match what I wanted.

5. Once you find a job you like, check LinkedIn to see who you know at that company.
You'll be surprised who you're connected to through the groups you've joined and network you've built.  I was able to get status updates on open positions, direct email addresses for hiring managers, and my resume handed directly to the people in charge.  It felt so great to get an email back from a director at the company that had posted a job I wanted: "Liz, looks like you have a great background. Please email this recruiter directly (shared address) and tell her I sent you."

So, those are the big LinkedIn things this job hunt taught me - there are many other ways to use it, but since they're fairly obvious, I won't touch on them here.  Hopefully this will help someone out there. I'm always happy to share my experiences, so if you want to email me directly about job hunting, please feel free! You can also leave a comment on the post and I'll do my best to respond ASAP.

I'll assume if you read this far, you're looking for a job so...good luck to you in your search!

Liz

PS. Indeed.com is far better than the Monster.com or careerbuilder.com job boards!

4 comments:

All content © Rachel Wolfe said...

WOW! GREAT article you've posted here. Thanks for all the tips!!!

jfhst18 said...

What do you like about Indeed.com? Would be interested in a post on your experience with it.

Congratulations on the new job!

Liz said...

@jfhst18, thanks, I'm really excited about it!

I liked Indeed.com for a couple of reasons - first, it pulls from LOTS of different sources, including Monster, Career Builder, and other industry-specific job boards (like Dice.com) I wouldn't have checked otherwise.

The other thing I liked were the search results. I found results were a better match to my keywords than I found on other sites, and Indeed.com left out all the crap that Monster and Career Builder add in as a "sponsored" results.

jfhst18 said...

Thanks for the details about Indeed.com. I hadn't heard of it, and you've put it on my radar. I'm not exactly looking for a job, but I like to know what's out there and am fascinated by the niceties of search.