Artisan Blog

Maximizing LinkedIn: Job Search

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Maximizing LinkedIn: Job Search



I didn’t sign up with LinkedIn until I was looking for a job. I hadn’t even really heard of it when I was working in the non-profit sector and busy with the many hats I wore there.

I should have signed up earlier.

I’ve written before about one of my career development coaches, Larry Braman of Global Career Consulting and Placement and beloved instructor at the LA Fellows (not to mention reconnected old friend from singing days in New York—that is a story!). Larry not only taught me most of the things I know about LinkedIn, he gave me homework: 100% Profile in about 5 days. From nothing.

When we came back to class with (some of) our profiles (mostly) finished, we broke up into small groups to make lists of how to use various social media platforms for Job Search. Since I was familiar with Twitter and Facebook already, I went to the LinkedIn group, not so much to offer input as to ask, “What is this good for, anyway?”

Luckily, my friend and colleague Jay Bernard was there to give me the scoop.

There are many aspects of being on a job search which make us feel relatively powerless. I mean, hey, bottom line, you’re waiting for someone else to say “Yes!” and you can’t do anything until they do. That mystery hiring manager seems to hold all the cards.

LinkedIn is a place to feel like you are seizing back the power for yourself. And that empowerment will feed your energy in interviews, your decisions about how you spend your job search time and how much effort you really put into finding that perfect role.

Branding

That 100% profile? That’s your brand! It shows what you have done, what you can do, what you want to do and what you love to do, if you’ve gone ahead and told your story.

Research

Make sure you know the name of the hiring manager you are interviewing with before you go and check them out on LinkedIn. You can find out what you have in common and also come up with interesting things to ask based on facts like how long they have been with the company and what roles the have had in the past.

Build Your Credibility

Interacting in Groups can help you show off your expertise. Your Profile will show which Groups you belong to and let a hiring manager see how involved you are in their industry. Take the opportunity to comment and start discussions and show off your expertise.

Fill in Gaps

If you are between roles but volunteering or interning using any of your transferable skills (I hope you are!), LinkedIn now offers a Volunteer category in your Profile to list those activities. This is a great way to cover any possible gap in your employment history. I will be talking about Volunteerism in an upcoming post, so please come back for that.

Introductions

As your list of connections grows, monitor it for connections to your target companies. Get your 1st level connections to introduce you to theirs. If you followed my advice about whom to connect with, they should say yes!

One of the hardest things about the job search process is never knowing which iron in the fire is going to be the one that pays off. The iron in the LinkedIn fire has a lot of potential, if you stir the coals and feed the flames!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative


Maximizing LinkedIn: Groups

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Maximizing LinkedIn: Groups



You’re all set up, your profile is perfect, you’ve found everyone you know in real life that’s on LinkedIn and connected with them.  The next thing you want to do is find some groups to join.

There are different kinds of groups on LinkedIn:

  • Members-only
  • Open

You can join a Members-only group if you are qualified.  A Group Administrator just has to approve your request to join.  Or you can be invited.  One of my groups is just for members of a class that I took last year.  Click on the “Join this Group” button and a Group Administrator will let you know if you can be a member.  Sometimes this takes a little while as the “Admins” are working people just like you who only check LinkedIn once a day or so.  Be patient!

You can join an Open group just by clicking on the “Join this Group” button.  You’re in!

What are Groups good for?

  • Asking questions.  Start a Discussion with an issue or concern you have or ask for advice. 
  • Finding out what people in your industry are talking about in real time.
  • Commenting on Discussions and offering your own expertise.
  • Becoming an influencer in your industry by providing insight and advice to others.
  • Connecting with people you DON’T know personally, but are influencers you would like to interact with.

How do I find a Group to join?

LinkedIn will suggest groups in your Right Sidebar based on the keywords in your Profile.  Check those groups out—some of them will be a good fit, others probably not.

In the Search box at the top right of your page, you can click on different categories: People, Companies, etc.  Click on Groups and search for a keyword you’re interested in.  For purposes of this article, I put in “Creative.” I got over 50 pages of Groups.  Most of those won’t apply to me, so I might refine my search and try “Creative Los Angeles” or “Creative Design” but I still get plenty of Groups to check out.

You can also use the Groups Directory.

You can search for your hobbies, places you volunteer, companies you’re following or interested in, industries you would like to work in but don’t yet, the list goes on and on.  LinkedIn does limit you to 50 groups, so if you get close to your limit and some groups have become more important to your networking you might want to cull.  I’m a member of 25 groups so far.

What happens when I am a member of a Group?

You will need to make some decisions about how you want to be contacted.  You can do all of your communicating on LinkedIn, have every message in the Group sent to your email Inbox or anything in between.  I usually like to have a “Daily Digest” sent to my email in groups I want to follow closely.  That way I get to see the discussions, but I don’t get inundated with emails.  If I were looking for a job, I might want to be notified more often so I could jump on any good opportunities right away.

Because, yes, Groups have job postings.

Your Digest email will have New Discussions, Continuing Discussions, and New Job Listings.  If you’re interested, take a look.

The real benefit of joining Groups is being able to participate and interact with people who are talking about what you want to talk about, whether you know them or not. Be an influencer, be engaged, be interactive.  That’s what Social Media is for!

Next time: Maximizing LinkedIn: Job Seekers

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative


Maximizing LinkedIn: Connections

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Maximizing LinkedIn: Connections



Last week we talked about what to do first when you sign up with LinkedIn.  I hope your profile is 100% complete, even if you are still making changes and reworking your story.

Now it’s time to connect!

LinkedIn is a place to network with people you know from your work life and your personal life. In other words, people from your real life. Only.   

They don’t have to be in your industry or have any professional connection to you.  The just need to be people you really know and whom you would be happy to introduce to someone else you know.

You will hear from people who are looking for high numbers of connections, not high quality connections.  High numbers are useless if they do not represent real relationships.

So for each person you consider adding to your connections, ask yourself:

  • Do I know them in real life?
  • Would I introduce them to other people I know?

That’s it!

Don’t worry about if they’re in your industry, if you’ve worked with them, if you know what they do or even if they are working at all. You never know what connections will end up being important.

I will finish with a story.  Once upon a time I wanted an informational interview with someone who worked in one of my target companies. I asked my coach, “How do I find someone at X company to talk to?”  My coach’s response was, “Check LinkedIn.” 

Two minutes later, a lovely woman sitting two rows behind me had a copy of my resume to hand to her friend that night at a basketball game because her friend worked for my target company and my friend knew I was a safe person to introduce to her.  Two minutes.

Two days later, I was having coffee with her.

Next time: Joining Groups

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative


Maximizing Your LinkedIn Profile: Getting Started

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Maximizing Your LinkedIn Profile: Getting Started



Everybody’s talking about LinkedIn these days. And a lot of them are asking questions.

How many people does it take in your Network to start paying off? 
What’s it really good for?
Did anyone ever get anything out of it?
Who do you connect with? 
Who do you avoid?
Most of all, how can I make LinkedIn work for me?

I will get to all of these questions, but first let’s avoid a few pitfalls. Larry Braman from Global Career Consulting gave me a lot of great advice about getting started with LinkedIn that I would love to pass along!

  1. Get your LinkedIn Profile up to 100% completeness.  Your Profile will take a lot of tweaking, you’re not finished yet, but don’t let it sit there looking unfinished.  The very first people who find you should be able to get an idea of who you are.
  2. Turn off your Activity Broadcasts (temporarily).  While you are doing that tweaking we talked about, you don’t want your connections to see every time you put in a comma.  When you think you’re finished, turn Activity Broadcasts back on, since then it will show when you land a new job, volunteer at a new organization or get a new endorsement!
  3. Enter your Experience manually.  If you let LinkedIn enter the information for you, it will not look the way you want.  Take the time to do this yourself.
  4. When LinkedIn asks if you would like to send invitations to all of your Contacts, say NO.  First of all, you don’t want to send the same generic invitation to everyone.  Second of all, you don’t even want to connect with everyone in your email Contacts (we will get to this later, too).  Third of all, and most important, you can’t ask everyone again later, when you figure out how to do this, without looking like an idiot.

LinkedIn is great for finding people you already know, but you don’t know what they do: other parents from school might work at one of your target companies; people who attend church with you might be looking to hire, you never know. 

Most of all, though, LinkedIn, like your resume, is telling your story. What you do, your job responsibilities, your achievements, your education, what is important to you.  It is a place for people to find things they have in common and ways to help each other.

Next time: What do I do now?

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative



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