In a typical job search you respond to a job posting by sending out your resume, waiting, following up with a phone call, waiting, crossing your fingers, waiting and hoping that you will get called for an interview. It’s time to put an end to the sit and wait method of applying for a position and take a proactive stance to landing your next job.
If you’re not on LinkedIn already then you need to be. There has never been a greater tool for expanding your opportunities, marketing your expertise and meeting new people. And if you are on LinkedIn, then it’s time to take advantage of some of the features that can assist you in your job search.
You know that network you’ve been building on LinkedIn? Well, it’s time to put it to work for you. The point of making these connections is to expand your opportunities. If you are interested in working at a particular company you can search for connections at that company by doing an advanced people search. Once you identify a connection within the company you can contact them to inquire about any opportunities or ask for an introduction to someone who has the power to hire.
You can also use the free LinkedIn Browser Toolbar to get access to the Job Insider function which lets you see the connections you have at companies that are hiring; to get the toolbar click on “Tools’’ at the bottom of any LinkedIn page. When you use the toolbar and are looking for a job on Craigslist, CareerBuilder or Monster, it will tell you the people in your network that work at that particular company.
If there is a job posting that you are interested in, don’t just send in your resume and play the waiting game. Find out who is the head of the department, check your connections and find out if they are a part of your extended network. Use your connections to gain access, and send your resume directly to the head of the department. This way you bypass the gatekeepers and get your resume into the hands of the person who knows the type of candidate they need for the position. Having a recommendation from one of your connections always helps too.
Don’t just count on a LinkedIn profile being enough; you need to get the most out of it by identifying and capitalizing on the tools that will maximize your chances of success. Explore opportunities, target your goals and leverage your network by using LinkedIn as an integral part of your job search.
by Megan Koehler