June 12, 2008

Using LinkedIn to Your Advantage

I am a huge proponent of LinkedIn and all its glory! This site is a great way for recruiters to connect with other opening networkers, contacts, and candidates that are not otherwise posting their resumes on major job boards like Monster and CareerBuilder for all to see.

So, why not take the approach of a recruiter. . . with a twist. Seek out recruiters and other hiring managers using LinkedIn just like the professional recruiters do to help you land your next job.

But how you ask?

  1. Join LinkedIn for FREE! (Yup, free!!) And while you're at it, add me to your network. The point of LinkedIn is to add networking contacts to your list. You can do this by doing a keyword or name search or even downloading your email list to LinkedIn. LinkedIn will send a request to your network using their email. Once you have added contacts to your list, you are able to view your contacts contacts and can reach out to those 2nd, 3rd, and 4th degree connections through your 1st level connections.
  2. Take advantage of LinkedIn's Tutorial. LinkedIn has a fantabulous tutorial that will guide you through the entire process. Overall, it's very user friendly.
  3. Build your Network!! Once you've built your network, connect away! You can either continue to do this for free working within your own network or by purchasing a monthly membership. They have several different options. I have the Business Premium membership that allows me 15 Inmails a month where I am able to contact someone on the site directly that is not in my network.
  4. Become a Open Networker! Join the group open networkers as well as the Ning
    Social Network Site at http://www.opennetworkers.info/. There are many other sites to join to expand your network! An open networker is someone who will not turn down a LinkedIn invite even if it's someone with whom they have no relationship with. This allows you to build your network very quickly and with a great about of diversity.
  5. Seek out contacts to help you in your quest. To contact someone directly or adding them to your network, I recommend sending a short email outlining your experience and interest in finding a job in whatever your field of choice is and how they might be able to help. Be sure to include your contact information including cell phone number and email. Chances are they might forward your information directly to someone within their network!

I won't guarantee success but recruiters are a very connected bunch that are always looking for their next opportunity to build a relationship. Don't expect assistance without offering something in return like prospect names or other information.

Happy Networking!