LinkedIn – Marketing for Your Next Job
By: Linda Klingman
So, you’re not a techie but you want to use the Internet effectively in your job search. Although several forms of social networking exist, the most effective platform for job seekers is LinkedIn. Here is a primer for the job seeker who needs some marketing help.
LinkedIn connects you with people with whom you’ve had business relationships (Group 1), the people your Group 1 know (Group 2), and the people that Group 2 knows (Group 3). It’s like playing the old game of Six Degrees of Separation – only cut in half. However, you probably know someone who knows someone at the company that you’re targeting. Now, you need to network your way into the company. That’s where LinkedIn comes in.
To get started, the first thing you’ll need to do is set up a user name, password and a profile. Your profile is a mini-resume containing a career summary, work experience, education and a photo. It’s important that you complete each section because the more complete your (marketing) profile is, the more interest others will have in finding your information. You might want to look at a few profiles before starting to get an idea of the kinds of information that others provide and decide on your own style.
After you’ve completed the profile basics, you can start to make connections with people you know by keying in their names. You might find that there are several people on LinkedIn with the same spelling, so you can further narrow down contacts by city or profession. It’s best to send a personal note such as “I enjoyed working with you at ABC Company” to let the person know why you want to connect. After the individual accepts your invitation, you’ll be able to see that person’s connections. You’ll have access to their telephone numbers and e-mail addresses and can also send notes to their Inboxes.
Next, ask business professionals with whom you worked closely to send a recommendation of your work. In fact, you might want to write the recommendation so that the contact knows what you want to highlight about your career and then s/he can opt to edit your remarks. You need three recommendations to achieve 100% completion of your profile.
Although this may sound time intensive – it isn’t really. It is important groundwork that will also familiarize you with the site. Now you’re ready to use LinkedIn to your advantage. And here’s where it gets really fun!
In the upper right corner where you entered the names of people you wanted to contact, hit the drop down box and choose Groups. Key in a word (e.g. your city and industry) and you’ll find all the groups related to the topic. You can join up to 50 groups at no charge. Once you are accepted into a group (a group gatekeeper checks your profile), you can read and post comments and questions that everyone in the group can respond to. If you want to look on a broader scale, just put in the industry or profession and you’ll find more groups to consider. The topic “human resources” and “health care,” for example, pulls up over 170 groups. When you join a group, you become a Group connection with everyone in the group, thereby giving you access to all their connections.
The next section in the drop down box is Jobs. You can key in the industry and city you’re interested in and pull up all jobs listed on LinkedIn and the date each was posted. For example, using Sales and Pittsburgh recently pulled up over 60 open positions with the flick of a finger.
Another great tool in the same search block is Companies. If you are targeting a particular company, you can check to see if it is listed on LinkedIn. If it is, the site will pull up all the employees of the company who are listed on LinkedIn and put your Group 1, 2, and 3 connections first on the list. You can then send them a note requesting a meeting to discuss the company. A recent example for an interesting job listed the departmental VP. The job seeker was able to contact the VP and arrange a phone meeting to learn more about the company and discuss the position.
You can find positions in your targeted industry and geographic area, mining each of the companies for contacts about the position. What a powerful tool LinkedIn can be!
Finally, since this is your marketing tool, you’ll want to keep people coming back. A good way to maintain interest is to add updates. The updates will alert recruiters that there has been activity in your profile and all your contacts will be notified that you have a new update, which gives them an impetus to see what you’ve been doing. The point is to keep people thinking about you so that when a job opportunity arises, your name is fresh in their minds. After all, that is what marketing is all about.
These are only the basics of LinkedIn. After becoming more comfortable with the site, you can add documents and presentations to make your profile more interesting, or add your reading list, which links to Amazon.com. This gives thousands of recruiters and hiring managers who use LinkedIn a more accurate picture of who you are.
You can also view who is looking at your profile. Through your Home page, you can look in the right column under “Who’s Viewed My Profile?” and see the number of people who have shown interest. If you click on the number of people who have viewed your profile, you’ll get the list of names or positions and companies of those who have peaked at your information. You can also note in the “Who’s Viewed My Profile? “box how many recruiters have viewed your profile.
For the job seeker, LinkedIn is a great marketing tool. Use it well and you may find yourself in your dream job sooner than you expected!
Linda Klingman is a Human Resources leader with over 20 years of experience in Human Resources and Organizational Development. She has worked as a senior consultant for global consulting firms and was the principal at Today’s Workforce. She was also an associate professor in the School of Leadership at Mountain State University. Most recently, she has worked in leadership roles at Healthways and VLN Partners,
Linda is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources and earned an MS in Human Resources from LaRoche College. She also has a BA in English and MEd from the University of Pittsburgh.