It seems like these days when you ask someone for suggestions on online job-searching tools, they give you a long list, and at the end, they say, "and of course, Linked In." LinkedIn started out in the living room of co-founder Reid Hoffman in the fall of 2002, but just a few years later almost everyone in the professional community had a Linked In account, and the numbers are increasing (see chart below). If you will be searching for a job soon, it is essential to have a LinkedIn account, because many employers and recruiters will check your profile before calling you for an interview. In this blog, I will introduce you to the LinkedIn features that would be particularly useful for job seekers. If you are a beginner at LinkedIn, you can learn the basics at: http://learn.linkedin.com/, and then come right back here to get a glimpse at the more advanced features.
APPLYING FOR JOBS
So what's the LinkedIn buzz about? You set up a profile, you connect with people you know, and then what? How does this help your professional development? One of the features that many users do not know about is LinkedIn's job application site. LinkedIn allows you to search for jobs, and to connect with the hiring managers who posted them. All you need to do is click on "Jobs" on the top menu, and then search jobs according keywords and location. Next, you will have the option of clicking either on a job or on people connected to this job in some way. You might find people in your network who currently works at that company, or who know the hiring manager. Finally, you can either apply to the job online, or request a referral from one of your connections. It is great to know how you can get connected to the hiring manager!
LinkedIn also hosts professional communities (or "Groups") based on common interests and goals. You can either post or answer questions in forums, which are great ways to increase your visibility, and to gain valuable information. First, click on "Groups" on the upper menu. You will then have the option of searching for groups with specific keywords. Once you find groups that you like, you can send a request with your preferences (e.g. whether you want to receive their email digests). If your membership is approved, you can contribute to discussions and even post your own questions. In addition, you will see a list of jobs posted specifically to your group!
One of the coolest features of Linked In is that it hosts a large variety of applications that can help you to become even more connected with your professional groups. Applications include, but are not limited to:
- WORDPRESS & TWEETS :If you have blog, you can now sync your entries with LinkedIn. There is no reason to blog/tweet twice!
- GOOGLE PRESENTATION: Create a presentation about your professional accomplishments, a great way to introduce yourself to recruiters.
- BOX.NET: If you already use this online storage and sharing, you can now develop this application further through Linkedin
- READING LIST BY AMAZON: Curious what others in your network are reading? You can follow them now through LinkedIn!
Putting all this job-searching aside for just a while, get ready for next week's traveling tips specifically for students! Summer is just around the corner, even if you are in graduate school!
Wishing you the best,
Dora Farkas, PhD,
Founder of PhDNet, www.phdnet.org,
BOOKS ABOUT LINKEDIN:
How to Really Use LinkedIn by Jan Vermeiren (2009)
LinkedIn for Dummies by Joel Elad (2008)
I'm on LinkedIn - Now What? by Jason Alba (2009)