Posts Tagged ‘Connections’

5 Strategies for LinkedIn Job Searching

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

LinkedIn has been called the Facebook for professionals… or MySpace (dated reference) with ties. From humble origins, it has grown to become the premier professional networking site, par excellence, throughout the internet, and despite the company’s various attempts to hide its more useful features, especially for job seekers and recruiters, behind pay walls and “premium accounts”, for the most part it is still free and open and certainly one of the best tools a passive or active job seeker has available.

However, as anyone who has been a member for any length of time (and received the countless spam messages from sales and marketing professionals in India) will know, LinkedIn can be used properly and then it can be abused and what goodwill you might have generated may be quickly squandered. Nothing like putting your foot in it when thousands of people are watching. And the more connections you have collected, the more opportunities there are for that grand faux pas that has sunk the career of more than one actor, politician, sports star, and internet thug on Twitter or Facebook.

So how then does one effectively use LinkedIn for a job search without abusing it and without falling into the trap of trying to do “too much”, to the ire of connections and staff admins alike? Here are a few basic tactics to employ that don’t require a premium account or paying for InMails:

Follow a company. You will get updates on who in your network moved where. While it’s interesting to see who the “New Hires” are, more important is where they came from, as these might point toward openings at their old company. Also note what their new positions are to get an idea of a possible career path. And, of course, a company’s “Recent Departures” list also lets you know of openings.

Mine new contacts for even newer ones. Every time someone connects to you, look through his or her list of contacts. View the profiles of those that intrigue you, and reach out to a few of them, citing things like common interests, schools attended, and shared company experience, or even just mention photos they’ve posted… LinkedIn allows people to put up so much content — slide shows, groups, awards, reading lists, articles, blogs, Twitter streams — it’s very easy to find a common reason to connect.

Connect with highly visible people. Search on terms like “speaker,” “author,” “writer,” “coach,” “trainer” “evangelist,” “sales,” “keynote,” “award-winning,” or “expert.” These people are often uber-connectors with thousands of connections. When you find one in your field (or a related one), search for him or her on the Web to find something he or she has written, and send a thoughtful comment or compliment. Make sure it’s sincere. If you get a good response, follow up with an invitation to connect, but don’t pester the person if he or she ignores you. These well-connected types are very busy people. A visit to the person’s Website might reveal an upcoming speaking engagement in your area. Whatever you do, respect an uber-connector’s time. Recruiters are in their own category; they often have connections in the thousands and knowledge of job openings, but they are also overwhelmed. If you contact them, make sure you give them a good reason to link and try to be memorable.

Connect to “interesting” people. Search on an unusual interest of yours to see who else has it. You might get ideas about career direction, or a contact might be able to give you a job lead. Imagine you’re a medical assistant who likes dancing. A search on “flamenco dancer” brought up this title for one person: “Medical Doctor, Wellness Expert, International Speaker, Life Coach, Author & Flamenco Dancer.” You could reach out to say, “Wow, another person in health care who loves flamenco!” It’s a long shot, but life is made up of such coincidences.

Leverage even weak links. I once got an interview by sending a message through LinkedIn to one of my contacts, with whom, truthfully, I was only loosely connected. Not only was she someone I’d never met in real life, but I’d turned her down for an interview! (I got a job offer elsewhere.) A year after our initial connection, I was job searching again, and I noticed she was connected to someone I was targeting. It was gutsy of me to do, but I felt I had nothing to lose, so I contacted her. She forwarded my resume, and I got the interview.

Some people are keen to update their profiles to “Job Seeker” or put something rather desperate sounding in their current title or job description (like “Looking for the Next Great Opportunity!” or “THE Candidate You’ve Been Looking for!”). Always seems a little desperate and likely to attract the wrong sort of attention from recruiters and hiring managers. While it’s always good to be honest about your current job status, no need to wave around being unemployed like dirty underwear.

Get started on LinkedIn BEFORE you are out of work, so you have the resources in place beforehand and it doesn’t look like you’ve joined or become suddenly active only because you’re looking for a job. Then you’re free to use LinkedIn like your online resume for both passive and active opportunities that come up.

Good luck!

5 Tips for Using LinkedIn During Your Job Search | Maureen Nelson via Quint Careers

Some Job Search Advice You’re Taking Too Far

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

As a job searcher, you’re doing everything right. You have your interview answers perfectly scripted out, you tailor each and every resume you send in, and your LinkedIn connections far outnumber your Facebook friends. Every piece of job hunt advice that you’ve ever heard or read, you’ve put into practice.

But that ever-elusive job offer still hasn’t crossed your desk. What gives?

While the job search advice you’re following may be on point, the way you’re using it may not be helping your cause as much as you think. For a lot of tips, there’s a fine line between using it correctly and going a bit overboard (or even in the wrong direction).

Read on for a few great job search tips—and how they may be working against you.

Good Advice: Make Connections on LinkedIn

LinkedIn can be a job searcher’s dream. Through your connections, you may find that you have a link—and an immediate in—to your dream company. So, creating and cultivating new connections is extremely beneficial.

Taking it Too Far

Blindly clicking “connect” on hundreds of profiles and sending the generic invitation might land you a few extra connections, but it won’t get your profile a second glance.

Instead, you should first search for contacts from your email address book. Then invite them—but make it personal. LinkedIn will give you the option of sending a default ‘connect with me, please’ message, but don’t use it—sending a personal note will set you apart right from the start.

Casting a wide net is beneficial, but only if you truly have some sort of link to those target connections. This is where LinkedIn’s “People You Might Know” feature comes in handy—to suggest classmates, colleagues, and former co-workers that you might not have previously thought of.

Good Advice: Explain That You’re the Best Candidate for the Job

Obviously, you want your potential employer to fully understand that you’re a great candidate; that you have all the skills you need to succeed in the position and that you’re the best man or woman for the job. So, it’s important to convey confidence in those abilities at every step in the process, from your cover letter to your interview questions.

Taking it Too Far

Overconfidence can actually be a downfall, as I learned from a hiring manager recently. I was in his office, talking about my writing experience. He asked me if I’m dissatisfied with my writing. “Of course,” I told him. “Sometimes I look back at things I wrote and wonder what in the world I was thinking.”

He chuckled knowingly and explained that he’d just interviewed a young man, fresh out of college, who answered the same question by asserting that he never wrote anything he didn’t like. And for the recruiter, that was actually a bad thing. You see, he wanted someone who not only had a realistic idea of the job (in this situation, that you’d have to write a lot of copy—quickly—and probably wouldn’t have time to make each piece perfect), but also had the desire and capacity to learn and grow. In the end, the somewhat over-confident graduate wasn’t deemed a good fit for the job.

While you shouldn’t discount your abilities (and you should certainly make a convincing case for yourself), there’s a big difference between showing confidence that you can do the job and conveying so much confidence that you end up coming across as arrogant or naïve.

Good Advice: Practice with Mock Interviews

Interviews are tough—and you want to make sure you’re prepared. So, asking a friend to help you run through practice questions is a great way to help you organize your thoughts, learn how to structure standout answers, and prepare yourself for the potentially stressful and awkward environment.

Taking it Too Far
Believe it or not, over-preparing for interviews can actually be detrimental to your chances of landing the job. It’s just as bad (or worse) to over-rehearse than it is to fly entirely by the seat of your pants.

When you have too many memorized answers packed in your brain, you’re more likely to spend the interview trying to remember each scripted answer, rather than engaging in the conversation. The back-and-forth will seem unnatural and forced, and you’ll likely come across as insincere.

Instead, spend the majority of your prep time thinking over your career experience to date, jotting down a few bullet points about specifics you want to hit on. Think about what you’re most proud of, what you struggled with, what you learned from the struggles, where you developed management skills, how you got to be so good at problem solving, and so on. When you’re confident with the specifics of your story, you’ll have a much easier time drawing from your experiences and articulating your worth, no matter what you’re asked.

Good Advice: Use the Job Description to Tailor Your Cover Letter and Resume

When a hiring manager reads your application, you want him or her to immediately recognize how your background and experience make you the perfect candidate for the job. So, use the job description as a guide to fill your resume and cover letter with the right skills and experiences.

Taking it Too Far

Pulling keywords from the job listing and slapping them on your application materials probably won’t have the effect you’re going for. When you include every phrase from the job description, including generic staples like “hard worker,” “fast learner,” and “excellent communicator,” you’ll take up a lot of valuable space—but you won’t actually convey to the recruiter that you’re any of those things.

Instead, pull skill- and experience-based qualities from the job description (e.g., “hands-on experience with Google Analytics” or “experience with Object Relational Mapping frameworks”), and then show how (by using your past accomplishments and responsibilities) you meet those requirements.

Then, in the interview phase, you’ll have more opportunities to showcase those soft skills (like having a thirst for knowledge or being a quick learner) by telling anecdotes of how you’ve displayed those qualities in your past jobs.

As you can see, good job search tips can turn into bad advice pretty quickly. But by taking a step back and reevaluating your approach, you can get back on track in no time.