Saturday, March 13, 2010

How to use LinkedIn to Find a Job – for the recently un-employed

  1. Get the word out. Tell your network that you’re looking for a new position.
  2. Get recommendations. A strong recommendation from your manager highlights your strengths.
  3. Find out where people with your skills are working. Do an advanced search for people in your area who have your skills.
  4. Find out where people at a company came from. LinkedIn “Company Profiles” show the likely career path of employees.
  5. Find out where people from a company go next. LinkedIn’s “Company Profiles” also tell you where people go after leaving.
  6. Check if a company is still hiring. Company pages on LinkedIn include a section that lists people who were recently hired.
  7. Get to the hiring manager. When you view a LinkedIn job, focus on the ones you’re no more than two degrees away from.
  8. Get to the right HR person. Find someone inside the company to walk your resume to the hiring manager or HR department.
  9. Know the secret job requirements. Find a connection at the company with the inside scoop on what really matters for the job.
  10. Find startups to join. Play with LinkedIn’s advanced search using “startup” or “stealth” in the keyword or company field.
  11. Build your network before you need it. A strong network is a good form of job security. Don’t wait until times are tough.

My own advice is


  1. Review your LinkedIn profile and make sure you can use it as your Resume.  Massage it every day for a week.  Ask your spouse and several close contacts to review it and provide feedback.  Tell them to be brutal!
  2. Include a photo (head shot) on your profile and dress for it in a business-like fashion.
  3. Make sure your listed specialties are fresh by “archiving” some of the less current items.  Wrack your brain for that obscure skill and list it; this may be the thing that a Recruiter searches on.
  4. Use the spare time to chase-up old colleagues and ask for a recommendation for past positions.  By all means bribe them with a beer but make sure it’s accurate, employers WILL check.
  5. Participate in the Q&A forums in your areas of expertise.  Both answer & ask questions.
  6. Change the “by-line” on your profile to “currently seeking next position” or something similar.  People will see this against your name in the forums.  In my profile I mention that I donate blood plasma every two weeks (but I’m not currently seeking a job).
  7. Join and be active in all the relevant groups for your specialties (you can join up to 50).  Read the discussions; comment; follow up with the people who asked the question.  If you have some time do the research necessary to knock their socks off.
  8. Use the “Download as a PDF” function while viewing you own profile.  This will give you a document that a Recruitment Consultant can use in their own internal database.  Some Recruiters will want a .doc file, have both available.  I recommend to save a .doc file as a PDF.
  9. Build relationships with the recruiters in your region.  The Advanced Search Tool will allow you to focus in on a geographic area.  Work those contacts.  As unpleasant as it might seem, if your contingency plan is to move interstate and live in your in-law’s basement (ouch), start to build your network in that location too.
  10. Reach out to your contacts, both LinkedIn and not.  Ask for permission to contact them again in 5 or 6 weeks.  They will not often say no, and will be more receptive to a call a month down the track.  Keeping your situation fresh in their mind will increase the likelihood of a spontaneous referral.  Make sure they have your resume (as a .doc & a PDF) as attachments on an email from you in their in-box.
  11. Carry hard-copies of your resume with you at all times.  Also carry it with you on a memory stick.  Horror stories abound about what potential employers have seen on a prospective employee’s memory stick so make sure the resume (again as a .doc & a PDF) is the only thing on it.  Attach the stick to your car-keys; it’s not going to do you much good if you leave it at home.
  12. Work on your blog and make sure the posts are upbeat and career related.  If you don’t have a blog, start it now with one of the free services (this blog is hosted at  I publish under my own domain name for $10 a year, but if I didn’t, the blog hosting would be free).
  13. Link your blog to your LinkedIn profile using the WordPress “application” within LinkedIn (check out my profile to see how it looks).
  14. Review your myspace/facebook pages and remove any links to these pages from your LinkedIn profile if the content is not business appropriate.  For some time now we’ve heard anecdotal stories about people not getting the job because of embarrassing photos on other social networks.
  15. Organize as many interviews as possible with Recruitment Agents.  And the most important thing here is; ask them what they would change about your resume; change it overnight; get it back to them.  It doesn’t matter if you end up with 20 versions, they will see that you are prepared to help them get you a job.  Use Twitter to tell your network when you’re going for an interview.
  16. Find other face-to-face networks to leverage.  I’m not very good at this but I try.  Look at the LinkedIn events in your area and also try
Good Luck. And please provide feedback on this blog post (make a comment below).  I’ll use your suggestions to improve this page so it is more useful to others.

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