LinkedIn Job Searching Strategies

When you're looking for a job, there are many potential ways you can include LinkedIn as part of your overall job search, beyond the direct task of searching jobs database listings and e-mailing a job request to your immediate network.

A job search should be considered as a time commitment, even with the power of LinkedIn. Some of these strategies apply to working or unemployed people and might not instantly result in multiple offers.

Leverage your connections

One of the biggest benefits of LinkedIn is being able to answer the question, “Who do my contacts know?” It's important to think of LinkedIn as not only the sum of your first-degree connections, but also as your extended network of second- and third-degree network members that your colleagues can help connect you with for information, referrals, and hopefully, a new career.

Therefore, keep these second- and third-degree network members in mind so you can best leverage your connections to achieve progress. Consider these points when you're working on your job search using LinkedIn:

  • Change the Sort option to Relationships instead of Relevance. When searching for the right contacts (such as recruiters, headhunters, or company or job specialists), be sure to change the Sort option (on the top right of the screen) from Relevance to another option based on Relationships, or degrees of connections. This allows you to see which members of your extended network should be at the top of your list.

  • Ask for referrals whenever possible. Exchange information first and then work your way up to request a referral.

  • Get your friends involved. Let your immediate network know about your goals so they can recommend the right people for you to talk to — and hopefully, they'll generate the right introductions for you as well.

Find people with the same or similar job

If you're looking for a specific job, one way to approach your job search is to ask this question: “Who out there could possibly know more about the job I’m interested in than those folks doing that job right now?” The answer to that question is “no one.” This means one source of help should be people with the same (or very similar) job title or responsibilities.

Although these people might not have hiring authority, they can help give you the right perspective, share the right insider tips about what the job truly entails, and let you know what skills or background the hiring manager considered when they were hired.

Because these people are already employed and not your direct competition, they're more likely to offer help and advice. They have practical knowledge of what it takes to do that job and what qualities will best help someone succeed in that position. When you're ready to implement this strategy, keep these points in mind:

  • Perform an advanced search for people with a similar job title as the one you're applying for. Put the job title in either the keywords section or the title section.

  • Narrow and clarify your search by industry. For example, Project Manager of Software Development is much different than Project Manager for the Construction industry. Pick multiple industries if they are similar enough.

  • When you find someone who has the job title you'd like to have, see whether she's interested in meeting for an informational interview (or if she's outside your geographic area, having a phone conversation). Asking outright for a job lead will most likely not result in anything positive.

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