If you are thinking about reinventing yourself, or if you are looking for a better opportunity in your current field…or if you are on the verge of giving up looking, you need to join a group that is more than ready to help you.
If you are depending on your Facebook friends exclusively to network and get job leads, you are using the wrong site. I am always amazed at how few people REALLY use this powerful social tool for work.
LinkedIn is the most career-oriented social net in the country. It has local sub-groups and they hold mixers and get-togethers on a fairly regular basis. You can look at company profiles and discover “connections” you may not know you had inside these companies. Colleagues and friends can write recommendations on your behalf. You can post your resume and do all of the things a “job search” site promises, with actual results. You can link your Twitter feed to your Linked profile too.
Here’s the best part about LinkedIn; you have opportunities to meet legends and leaders- in an environment they feel comfortable meeting you in.
Say you have long admired Laura, the CEO of Widget, Inc. They are in your town, and they do some amazing things. You have heard about the culture and it impresses you. You can reach out to the company in three ways:
1) Email the CEO by sending a message to Laura@widget.com (or any number of derivatives) and hope it makes it to her inbox. Not recommended- it feels a bit like stalking.
2) Apply for a position by posting your resume on the company HR site. Not efficient; computers read your words before humans do. A few missing keywords and you are pfft.
3) Or you can send Ms. Laura the CEO an invitation to connect on LinkedIn. You little note can say something like “I love what you are doing on the West Cost with your widgets. Looking to follow your progress and successes…”
If Laura is an engaged manager, she will very likely accept your invite. Your next moves are slow and steady. You do not bomb Laura with “I need a job please” messages. That’s the easiest way to get unconnected.
Occasional VERY BRIEF check-ins, with relevant information about the industry is perfectly acceptable.
You are developing connections with people who are in a position to help you. This transactional friendship needs to be carefully nurtured; you have an agenda, yes- but you are also a professional, and your respect of your connection’s time and intelligence are paramount to maintaining that connection.
You would be amazed at who says “yes” to invitations to connect. CEO’s or VP’s of Business Development are merely people, after all- people just like you.
Here’s a resolution you should keep- Join LinkedIn, and visit the site every single day. You have learned from Facebook the power of connection. LinkedIn is the community that will actually do you some good.