As a sales and business development executive who has personally experienced being in transition during this recession, I can relate to other job seekers and their current job search in this dismal economy.
Not only has the economy dipped at an unprecedented rate for a prolonged period of time, the job search environment has been radically altered. Where networking with others may have provided more plentiful job leads in the past, this recession may be proving to be a little more difficult. The executive recruiters that you may have fostered relationships with in the past may not be calling you when you most need them.
What hasn’t changed is that the “hidden job market” is still where a majority of positions are being filled, even more so at the executive level. If you have not attacked that market, it will make it even more difficult to find your next position. Of course, the only way to attack that market is to get in front of decision makers and hiring managers and expand your network to help you get in front of these same targets. For this purpose, LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com) will be the most valuable online tool you can utilize.
LinkedIn is an online, interconnected social network of experienced professionals from around the world and has over 48 million members in over 200 countries and territories around the world. LinkedIn users can find, be introduced to and collaborate with other professionals. LinkedIn is free to join.
I like to refer to LinkedIn as being a huge database of people, “a place to find and be found.” I talked about finding others in the above paragraph, and this is very easy to do on LinkedIn. Utilizing the Advanced People Search, you can easily pinpoint decision makers in the organizations that you are targeting. How you contact them on LinkedIn should be just as you do in person: asking for a referral from a trusted connection. And for that purpose, LinkedIn has an Introduction functionality that you can use. If you want to research more companies to add to your target list, move over Hoovers: the LinkedIn Companies database is growing and includes a lot of interesting data that you can utilize to analyze where you might be a good fit.
Just as we sometimes get lucky in Las Vegas, some jobseekers are lucky enough to find a job on the Internet. Job boards are not the preferred way to look for a job, as the chances that you will find a job on them are slim. But the LinkedIn jobs board are different. LinkedIn is a place for you to connect and develop relationships with other professionals. Because of this, LinkedIn is a very attractive place for recruiters to be. And the quality of the jobs board is high, very high. You won’t see the garbage that other sites often post.
You won’t see as many jobs posted here as on the other infamous job boards, but you should know that there are many jobs that are posted on LinkedIn that aren’t posted elsewhere. Case in point: I did a search for “VP” recently within 50 miles of my home here in Orange County, Calif. Only 19 results came up, but eight of the 19 were exclusive to LinkedIn. In other words, if you are not using the LinkedIn jobs board you may be missing out.
Also, check out how the editor of my book found her job on LinkedIn utilizing the advice in the book at bit.ly/Found-My-Job-On-LinkedIn.
What else do I like about the LinkedIn jobs board? Check out this screen that recruiters see when they post a job to LinkedIn: http://bit.ly/2XF41w.
You hear the stories that other job sites get hundreds if not thousands of applicants for each job posted. LinkedIn gets only 30 on average. Thirty people on average, that’s not a lot of competition.
An interesting note on job boards, though, is that social networking sites are starting to replace them as the premier source to find candidates. And that is why you shouldn’t be using LinkedIn only for the above activities: you need to realize that social networking, like LinkedIn, is free career insurance that you should buy into. In other words, if you are not visible enough on LinkedIn, you may not be found and may be missing out on potential career opportunities.
Details of how to use all of the above LinkedIn applications to their fullest extent can be found in Neal Schaffer’s new book, “Windmill Networking: Understanding, Leveraging & Maximizing LinkedIn” at windmillnetworking.com/book. You can also find more even more information on how to position yourself on LinkedIn on Neal’s blog at windmillnetworking.com/blog.
Neal Schaffer is a recognized social networking guru helping companies and individuals embrace social media for personal and business applications. More information on his company can be found at www.windmillnetworking.com.