Don’t forget LinkedIn for your job search

This article first appeared in Cynopsis Classified Advantage

By Michael Pollock

I am sure you are well established on LinkedIn, but are you using it effectively in your job search? It is just too easy for us to let it sit there passively in the background, but there are some simple and effective ways to extract value.

Start by connecting to as many people as you can think of. Duh! But I am sure there are some you have missed. Don’ t just think of people who might hire you…connect to people you once worked with. Connect to people who worked for you. Connect to people who might know someone who could help you in the future. Look closely at who is connected to your connections; I know you will have several, ” Oh, yes. I had forgotten about her!” moments.

I was working today with a filmmaker who has been specializing in medical topics. He is going to see his dentist in a couple of weeks. This dentist goes to medical conferences and knows lots of people who might need film. What if he was on LinkedIn? What if some of his professional connections wanted film made for their professional associations? What if they worked for pharmaceutical companies? Sounds like a valuable connection for this filmmaker. Who are the equivalents in your field?

Another excellent use: as you look at job ads on Cynopsis Classified Advantage or other boards, note the companies who seem to have good opportunities for you. Then search those companies on LinkedIn  there is a drop down menu on the search field that lets you search for people or for companies. See if anyone from those firms knows anyone that you know. Then email your friend and ask to be introduced. I recommend not using the automated LinkedIn introduction tool  make the request something more personal. So now you can network your way into the hiring company and do your research and make the connections you need to get you in there.

Does your LinkedIn headline clearly indicate your value to a hirer? As with all communications  each piece needs to make the reader want more. Does your summary give a clear expression of what you offer and engagingly differentiate you from all the others? Does your chronology include experience and specifics that support and flesh out your summary? Does your specialty list include all the keywords that recruiters might use in a job search?

As with so many of these online systems there are depths that I never plumb, and I’ m not taking you there. But start with the easy-to-use pieces; get them working together guided by your constant attention and research and insight. It really is an adventure, a voyage of exploration. Keep poking around and you will find valuable connections you never knew you had and see more and more ways to get your carefully constructed message into the right hands.