Thursday, February 02, 2006

Job Search Tools: LinkedIn

I'm six months into my search for a full time job, and I'm finding some things that are very useful in the hunt. One of these is LinkedIn, the online networking site.

I was invited to join by a few of my fellow students in the SCU MBA program about two years ago, and I didn't do much with it until after I left my last full time position. It's a fascinating graphical display of your network, limited of course by the number of your contacts that have signed up for the service and agreed to connect with you. Depending on how your contacts have configured their accounts, you can then see their list of contacts and search through the extended network that you have created.

There is even a job-specific search function, which I am finding useful as I conduct my primarily Internet-based job search. These days online postings mean that HR departments and hiring managers are inundated with dozens, if not hundreds, of resumes for a single opening. With LinkedIn, you can find a direct route to someone in the company, if not the hiring manager. My offline network resulted in a job interview last week, which came about because a friend who worked at the company in question hand delivered my resume to the right person. So one point for the offline network -- and an anecdote that directly proves that human contact is necessary to get any kind of results.

I've upgraded to a paid level of service so that I have more communication options... the merit of that is still TBD. I'm exploring options around the country at targeted companies, and finding the corporate recruiters through the LinkedIn network may be my ticket in.

Update - some tips: if you have recruiters that you have been talking to, see if you can find them on LinkedIn and connect to their networks. Some of them have 100s of contacts, and it will automatically give you that much larger of a contact base. Another idea is to see if there are any groups represented on LinkedIn with which you might be affiliated -- for example, I am in the Santa Clara University Alumni group.

To Be Continued...

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