I've given you plenty of tips on how to jazz up your LinkedIn profile, but I would like to know how many of you actually used them, or even have a LinkedIn profile? Even if you aren't looking for a job, it's a good tool for keeping in touch with your professional contacts, or even to just earning some online karma points by posting a rave recommendation of your colleague (if they deserve it!). Let me share with you an example of how my friend successfully used the online networking site to her advantage so you can learn from it.
My friend has a secret dream job — she wants to get into nonprofit management. However, she's been trying to figure out how to get there since she works in a totally different industry. Here's how she used LinkedIn to her advantage:
- The Key Players: Figure out who the main players are in the industry you're trying to enter, or companies that you would like to work for. There is a feature that allows you to follow the companies, and once you subscribe to them, you'll be the first to hear news of the latest developments, business opportunities, and job openings. In this first come first serve world, the early advantage helps the job hunter. Just make sure you're not rushing to turn your resume in, and keep these resume writing tips in mind.
For more on how to use LinkedIn to find a job, read on.
- Join the Groups: Now that you've figured out whom you need to get in touch with, look at the LinkedIn professional groups they belong to and join them. If you see them posting in the groups, it's a chance for you to interact with them online. Alternatively, if there are events organized by the groups, your potential contact might possibly attend them so it's a good idea for you to check it out. Even if they don't attend, it's a good opportunity for you to network. Who knows? You might meet a mentor!
- Don't Rush It: Don't immediately jump the gun and ask for a job. My friend started getting involved by volunteering for nonprofit events, then catching up with the organizers over LinkedIn. Since she did a good job, many were happy to make introductions to the people she wanted to get in contact with. She scored a freelance project, which looked great on her resume.
- Job Search: Here's how my friend used the best online job-hunting tools — LinkedIn and Indeed.com — to her advantage. She keeps an eye out for interesting job opportunities by subscribing to Indeed.com. The website sends job openings daily to her mailbox and when she finds a career opportunity she likes, she looks up the firm on LinkedIn and clicks through a list of its employees. She pinpoints the ones who have more clout (a new hire can't ensure an interview, while a manager can) and checks to see if any of her LinkedIn contacts are connected to them. Since she's such a networking whiz, she usually has a couple of shared contacts. She calls up someone who she felt comfortable with asking a favor from, and after the introductions are made via email or phone, she scores an interview for her dream job.
Now this sounds like a lot of hard work, but job hunting rarely is easy business. LinkedIn will give you an edge, but you need to really work it to enjoy the benefits. Convinced yet?