Using LinkedIn to get your next job

March 2, 2010 at 2:59 am Leave a comment

The numbers vary depending on who is counting, but LinkedIn.com has roughly 55 million members worldwide, including — I would wager — most of those reading this post. Yet career experts say many users, after initially joining, do little to harness the potential of this networking site, which can help you get your resume and other critical job-search information in the right hands. If it isn’t as much fun as Facebook or Twitter, it’s not meant to be — this is a business site designed for sharing information with others in your industry and for networking for your next job.

For LinkedIn to be an effective tool in your job search — whether you are unemployed and actively looking, or employed and wisely always open to that next opportunity — you need to work it. Though recruiters and hiring managers use LinkedIn, it’s largely a myth that they are trolling the site with keywords to find job candidates. Just as in any networking situation, you’ll need to target your already established relationships and seek for them to connect you with others, and then put your best foot forward to get them to consider you for openings.

Here are some tips on maximizing LinkedIn’s capabilities in your job search:

*Make the best use of your LinkedIn profile — treat it as an electronic form of your resume for this network. Fully fill it out — including a detailed employment and educational history, the summary section (which is akin to your elevator pitch) and the specialties section (which is where you want to include key words that showcase your experience, capabilities, talents and personality strengths) and a final section on what you’re interested in hearing about — career opportunities, consulting offers and expertise requests, for instance. Use your resume and your bio as a guide to writing your LinkedIn profile though it should not just replicate your resume. Look at the profiles of others  you know on LinkedIn who have similar skills and experience to yours for some ideas on key words and descriptions. After an initial contact and while doing reference checks, recruiters and hiring managers often check out your LinkedIn profile — so make sure it reflects as full a picture of your background and capabilities as possible.

*Seek strategic connections. Obviously, connect with friends, colleagues and former colleagues (referred to as first-degree connections) but scan their networks for contacts that could be useful in your search. When inviting someone to join your network, LinkedIn allows you to state whether you know the person because you worked together, did business together or are friends — and that obviously covers a wide landscape. Further, you can ask contacts to help connect you with other people who may be useful, and you should make good use of this feature, just as you would ask people to introduce you to others who may be helpful at an in-person networking event. The site’s search engine will make suggestions for connections, which are sometimes on target. You also can search your own network by company, industry and geographic location — this can be very useful in determining who in your network may be able to help you get your foot in the door in an organization you’re targeting.

*Update your profile. Often after someone gets a new job or moves on to a new consulting contract, they forget to update their profile and may miss out on opportunities for new connections or positions. Also, your profile has space to note projects you’re currently working on as well as linking to your personal Web site or blog. Freshen your profile regularly so that contacts can easily see what you’re up to and can offer advice or leads. Also, maintain a link to your LinkedIn profile on your Facebook page — you never know when someone you’re in touch with on another social networking site may have some useful job-search information to pass along. And keep your personal contact information updated as well.

*Join LinkedIn groups for your industry or affinity groups — such as for alumni — and become an active participant and poster.  Not only will you be kept apprised of industry news and developments, but you can tap members of these groups for advice on companies you’re targeting and for their connections. The groups are relatively easy to join — though for most you must be admitted — and it’s easy to exit if you find a particular group isn’t what you had hoped. Your groups will also be listed on your profile — providing another way for people to find you.

*Seek recommendations. Recruiters say that they tend to use LinkedIn recommendations later in a search, when doing in-depth research on finalists for positions. They are especially impressed by detailed recommendations from those who may not necessarily be listed among your references. Some experts advise having at least one recommendation for each (significant) job you have held. When asking someone to write a recommendation for you, suggest an emphasis of your talents and expertise that matches what you are pitching to employers. For managers, it is a great idea to have a former employee recommend you as a boss. Recommendations from former supervisors are good to have for everyone, as are recommendations from former colleagues about your ability to work well with others. And in seeking a recommendation, always remember to offer to help out that person now or in the future — you are more likely to get their buy-in if it’s a two-way street.

*Some good news to pass along: Donna Borak, who got caught up in the Associated Press cuts late last year, has joined the American Banker’s Washington bureau as a reporter. She’ll be covering the Federal Reserve and GSEs. She was previously a business reporter covering the defense industry. Before AP, she was a reporter at United Press International, States News Service and the Boston Herald. Congratulations to Donna and again, having a specialty can make all the difference in landing a new job in journalism. And please pass along other instances of job seekers landing well so I can spread the word!

*As always, some leads to consider:

*The Federal Times is looking for a staff writer to cover the important government contracting beat from their Springfield, Va., office:

Federal Times
Staff Writer
Location: Springfield, VA
Federal Times, an award-winning Gannett-owned weekly newspaper covering the management and business of the federal government, has a staff writer position open. We are looking for an experienced, energetic and enterprising reporter to cover the government’s $500 billion contracting business. Two to three years’ reporting experience required. Join a first-rate team where advancement opportunities are terrific. Must have BA in journalism or equivalent experience. MS Word a plus. Send resume with cover letter and clips to : Email to resumes@atpco.com or fax to +1 (703) 750-8129.

*AOL’s WalletPop.com,  a personal finance site, is looking for freelancers who want to write about consumer issues:

AOL’s WalletPop.com
Freelance Consumer Writers
Location: N/A
WalletPop.com, AOL’s personal finance site, is seeking freelance writers with an expertise in consumer issues as we grow our Consumer Ally section. If you have experience covering consumer-oriented issues – from auto safety to scams to buying “green” — we want to hear from you. Ideally, you’ll have subject matter expertise and/or experience covering a regulatory agency. The scope of the opportunity will vary depending on the subject matter.  For more information, please contact Mitch Lipka at mitch.lipka@corp.aol.com. If you’re interested, please email a note explaining what you’d like to cover and why you would be good at it. Include a resume and some recent clips or links.

*Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research,  a political consulting and public opinion research firm in D.C., has an opening for a director of marketing and communications:

Director of Marketing and Communications
Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research – Washington, DC
of Marketing and Communications Greenberg Quinlan… traffic Qualifications • University degree in communications/media relations, public relations, political…
From Democratic GAIN

*ICF Macro, part of ICF International Co., a professional services firm, is looking for a senior health communications manager with public health and social marketing experience to work from its Rockville office:

Senior Health Communications Manager
ICF International – Rockville, MD
Senior Health Communications Manager Job ID… writers, researchers, media specialists, communication specialists, and graphic designers. The senior…
From washingtonpost.com


*And today’s final lead, with the Worldwatch Institute in D.C., is for someone looking for an interesting summer internship in the area of climate and energy:
Climate & Energy Summer Research Intern
Worldwatch Institute – Washington, DC
The ideal candidate will have: Strong research, analysis, writing, and communication skills, the Ability to work well individually and with a team, and a…
From washingtonpost.com

Happy hunting!

Jodi

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Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

What to do before you start a search while still employed How to handle the question of where else you’re looking

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