Searching for a job can suck if you constrain yourself to the typical tools such as online jobs boards, trade publications, CraigsList, and networking with only your close friends. In these kinds of times, you need to use all the weapons that you can, and one that many people don’t—or at least don’t use to the fullest extent, is LinkedIn.
LinkedIn has over 80 million members in over 140 industries. Most of them are adults, employed, and not looking to post something on your Wall or date you. Executives from all the Fortune 500 companies are on LinkedIn. Most have disclosed what they do, where they work now, and where they’ve worked in the past. Talk about a target-rich environment, and the service is free.
Here are ten tips to help use LinkedIn to find a job. If you know someone who’s looking for a job, forward them these tips along with an invitation to connect on LinkedIn. Before trying these tips, make sure you’ve filled out your profile and added at least twenty connections
1. Get the word out. Tell your network that you’re looking for a new position because a job search these days requires the “law of big numbers” There is no stigma that you’re looking right now, so the more people who know you’re looking, the more likely you’ll find a job. Recently, LinkedIn added “status updates” which you can use to let your network know about your newly emancipated status.
2. Get LinkedIn recommendations from your colleagues. A strong recommendation from your manager highlights your strengths and shows that you were a valued employee. This is especially helpful if you were recently laid off, and there is no better time to ask for this than when your manager is feeling bad because she laid you off. If you were a manager yourself, recommendations from your employees can also highlight leadership qualities.
4. Find out where people at a company came from. LinkedIn “Company Profiles” show the career path of people before they began work there. This is very useful data to figure out what a company is looking for in new hires. For example, Microsoft employees worked at Hewlett-Packard and Oracle.
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The average person will make 2 to 5 career changes between the time they enter the work force to the time when they retire.