Why LinkedIn is High Octane Fuel for Job Searching

August 11, 2009

Kathy Robinson LinkedIn UserKathy Robinson runs TurningPoint Career Consulting, working with mid- to executive-level job seekers who need help marketing their talents, finding interesting opportunities, and getting results in their job search. As a former HR executive, she’s seen the way that LinkedIn has changed the entire process of recruiting, for good. Read more success stories from our users here.

As a career coach, LinkedIn has proven to be a killer app for job seekers whom I counsel, with its immediate access to contacts, groups, events, and thought leaders.

The first thing I ask clients do is optimize their profile, then connect to as many relevant connections as they can, even if they’ve only worked with a former colleague briefly but have a trusted relationship. Other tips? Participate in groups.  Don’t just connect "to" people, but connect "with" people, letting them know what you’re looking for and turning a LinkedIn invitation into a longer conversation.

That’s the approach that worked for one of my clients Christine Midwood, a talented technology program director and product manager. In addition to networking with most of her real world professional connections on LinkedIn, and joining groups, she researched LinkedIn for company information and potential connections before applying for any jobs. She saw a dramatic difference in how many phone interviews or offers she got from traditional online boards (5% response rate) versus online and offline networking (31% response rate). During her search, she made a weekly goal of 3 meetings with her connections, to learn what might be happening in the job market. When she saw a job posting for what is now her current job, she looked up and connected to a former coworker through LinkedIn, who introduced her to the hiring manager. (connect with your former colleagues here)

As Christine found, LinkedIn’s power goes way beyond a profile and some contacts. For example, if you’re interested to know how people broke into a certain field? Look up their backgrounds on their profiles, and find out "how they did it".

I can't imagine the job search process for my clients today without the power of LinkedIn, can you? Share your experience in the comments below.

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