Three ways to leverage your professional network while job hunting

January 29, 2009

The nation wakes up to another week of  job losses with nearly 75,000 job cuts announced this Monday and over 500,000 job losses predicted for the month of January. In an interview with Stacy Delo of Market Watch, DJ Patil, Chief Scientist and Sr. Director - Product Analytics at LinkedIn, outlines three different ways job seekers can enhance their chances of finding the right job in this economy.

Here are three ways to position yourself better to find that dream job:

1. Find suitable opportunities and similar connections:

LinkedIn has always been about finding the right professional connections who can either offer you business input or career advice. One of the easiest ways to identify those peers is to stumble upon "People You May Know" - a feature that can be found on the top right hand corner of your LinkedIn homepage.

Find "People You May Know" on LinkedIn

LinkedIn can be used as a professional data mining tool, one that's particularly valuable during the interview process. Search for peers with similar profiles, find people at companies you're interviewing at and more.

Check out LinkedIn's Advanced Search

2. Build out your network before you need it:

DJ also reiterated an oft-repeated theme of building your network before you need it. As Jeremiah Owyang, Sr. Analyst at Forrester, spelled out in a recent post:

Unfortunately, networking doesn’t work this way, relationships take time, getting to know folks requires patience, and people are generally cautious –if not fearful– of Johnny come lately that is asking, rather than giving. Some people change their status message on their LinkedIn profile, saying they are now looking for jobs, and I question if it’s too late.

A professional networking site like LinkedIn eases you through the relationship building exercise through a slew of tools, chief of which is a webmail importer application that allows you to effortlessly bring online many of your real world contacts. Updating your status message on LinkedIn during your job hunt, will now be far more effective given the robust professional network you've built over time.

Build out your LinkedIn network using the WebMail Importer

3. Build out a robust profile that's in sync with your capabilities:

The last piece of the puzzle that'll set you up for success in your job hunt is being found when hiring managers or recruiters are looking for talent such as yourself. The starting point is building an exhaustive LinkedIn profile that accurately reflects your professional qualifications.

Edit your LinkedIn Profile now

Feel free to share with us any other LinkedIn tips that have proved successful to you in your job hunt, right here in the comments section.