The process of a job search has changed significantly during the last few years. It is hard not to admit this.
The viral & breakneck speed expansion of social networks and Internet services in general have made this process very different compared to that from the «old days».
Although we still have resumes and cover letters as well as traditional interviews, wouldn’t you agree that the whole process has become more complex (no, not difficult) involving so many different tools that a candidate has to master quickly in order to achieve goals in a job search.
I can tell you that it is most likely that your dream job is not waiting for you on one of the numerous job boards. Nowadays it is far from being real that after applying for a position on a job board a candidate will be invited for an interview for many reasons. Statistics shows that only about 4% of available positions are being filled through job boards. Moreover, I have heard opinions of many career consultants who do not even recommend having a candidate’s public profile on job boards. Instead, they advise using social networks to showcase your skills and to find and to follow the companies which potentially could have a perfect job for you.
«Job boards are black holes. Stop submitting your resume to them and praying that a machine finds it and delivers it to a hiring manager. You should spend more time meeting people at companies you want to work for at networking events and through social networks.»
Totally agree with that recognizing that professional networking has been spread out way beyond the real world into the virtual universe.
The great thing about online social networking is that it became a «one-click» easy way to create and expand your professional network which ultimately might land you a dream job.
Ok, maybe not literally, because you still need to do your part minding some established good practices such as the «do’s and don’ts» in building a quality professional network.
LinkedIn is definitely the best place to start.
Before revealing the best ways that LinkedIn can be used as an effective career building tool, let me share with you some interesting statistics which I have come across recently on Jobvite.com. The Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey 2010 was conducted online between May and June 2010; over 600 human resources and recruiting professionals participated in the survey.
- The results of our 2010 social survey show that social recruiting has become a mainstream channel for companies who are hiring, with 83% now using or planning to use social media for recruiting.
- 46% of respondents plan to spend more on social recruiting in 2010 than 2009.
- 36% will spend less on job boards.
- 38% will spend less on third party recruiters and search firms.
- For candidate quality, respondents rated social networks significantly higher than job boards who landed in last place, just above search engine optimization.
- 92% of those hiring in 2010 currently use or plan to recruit via social networks.
- Of this group, 86% use LinkedIn, 60% use Facebook and 50% use Twitter for recruiting.
- In addition, 50% of hiring companies plan to invest more in social recruiting while only 17% will spend more on job boards and 36% will spend less on job boards.
Those are just current trends and it is your choice whether you want to ignore them and to continue playing according to “old rules” or to adjust your job search strategy.
If you would like to have a look at the full results of the survey, click this link for a free download (you will need to provide some of your personal information in order to get the report).
Based on what I have just discussed, below are the ways you can use LinkedIn as a part of your job search strategy and career building in general.
Register on LinkedIn now if you haven’t done so and fully complete your profile immediately after signing in.
Have your profile completed so visitors and your network can see who and what you are. This is a must! There are tons of resources out there on the Internet explaining how to do this. As a quick reference you can download this Checklist.
Otherwise, a half-filled profile or misleading and controversial information in your profile might cost you a valuable job lead. Also you will find it harder to build up your quality professional network with your incomplete profile.
Wouldn`t you agree that spending an hour or two of your valuable time is well worth not loosing a chance of being noticed and possibly approached in your career endeavours?
Create a list of targeted companies. Be specific and selective. Examine them.
Start your research on targeted companies beginning from their corporate websites (Google those companies). The next stop would be the companies’ corporate pages on LinkedIn.
As of January 2011, LinkedIn counts executives from all Fortune 500 companies as members; its hiring solutions were used by 73 of the Fortune 100 companies as of March 22, 2011. More than 2 million companies have LinkedIn Company Pages. Read more about LinkedIn stats here.
Click on “Follow Company” for each company you’d like to work for and you will start receiving every update that company shares on LinkedIn such as new job openings, new employees, promotions and departures, and more valuable information.
Next, do more in-depth research on the company’s page and look through the profiles of the employees featured there. See how they describe their jobs? Which keywords are used? Do they match the keywords which you used in your profile and resume?
Then match your skills, experiences, knowledge, and strengths against those the company’s employees have and see how your skill set may fit the organization or solve a problem for the company.
Using the obtained information make written notes so you can create a targeted resume to show off your strengths for each company in case there will be a position at that company.
What LinkedIn groups do those people belong to?
Your action: Join those groups too. This will allow you connecting to those people through the groups directly.
What connections do you have to these people? Are any of them your 1st degree connections or personal contacts? If so, then use them, talk to them, and meet with them. Communicate, communicate, and communicate!
The more you know about a company and its employees, the more chances you have to get a foot in the door. Moreover, all this information will make you more confident while preparing for an interview.
Another good way to research specific companies is to find a person who used to have the job that you are applying or interviewing for.
Do this by searching for a job title and a company and by selecting “Past” or “Past not Current” option from the drop-down menu right under “Title” search field in Advanced People search mode.
By contacting people who used to hold the position you can get the inside information on the job. If the communication is available, you might consider setting up an informational interview with those people.
Create a list of the positions (or job titles) of your interest including different variations of the same position using different relevant key words.
Do your research in the same way as it was just described above for the companies but based on the key words search in the People Directory of LinkedIn.
Go through the profiles which appear in the search results on the first two-three pages because those profiles will be the most relevant to your search request. Make notes and incorporate them into your written communication with a perspective employer.
Depending on your situation you might want to consider the following LinkedIn resources and tools for your job search and career building:
1. Paid Job Seeker Account (at least for a period of time of your active job search or career change): With the LinkedIn Job seeker account upgrade, users can contact hiring managers with LinkedIn advanced inMail messages, see full profiles of decision makers (remember, they are 46% of LinkedIn users) who are out of your active network, use more opportunities to get introduced to the inside sources of companies, and more features. There are three options available for paid job seeker account starting from 19.95$ per month.
2. The JobsInsider Toolbar + LinkedIn Browser Toolbar (for Internet Explorer or Firefox). You can download it here. After installation, the toolbar is integrated into your web browser so when you are viewing a job posting on an external job search website, you can automatically see your connections at that company. Now you know what to do further J.
3. Events application: This is a great way to research who is attending the events. Go there too. As Tom Peters claims in his «The Little Big Things: 163 Ways To Pursue Excellence» book (this is Amazon affiliate link): “80% of success is just showing up.” In this case, 80% of success goes to networking. Attending events would be the perfect way to connect personally with people who work at the targeted companies. And don’t forget: invite on LinkedIn anyone you meet there.
Check out also other LinkedIn tools available such as Outlook Social Connector, LinkedIn Mobile Application, and LinkedIn Widget for Lotus Notes. On the home page, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on “Tools”. Here they are.
Explore the Jobs section of LinkedIn regularly.
- Perform the advanced search based on your criteria (keywords, job title, location, functions, experience and industries);
- Save your searches and receive updates via email (you may set up the frequency of those emails: daily, weekly, monthly);
- Save the jobs which you want to apply to. NB: do your research first and then apply after the necessary changes are made to your resume or/and profile.
Promote your public LinkedIn profile (I hope you personalized the link as it was described in the very first post)
- Create an e-mail signature which contains the link to your public LinkedIn profile (you may want to try out LinkedIn Email Signature Creator;
- Put the link to your profile on your business card;
- Include the link in the contact information which you put in your resume and cover letter.
Do you have any other ideas or your own experiences in using LinkedIn and other social media for your job search?
Your comments are welcome!