Over the course of the last few years, the value of traditional job boards has declined, while LinkedIn is now often thought of as THE place to go to find a job. LinkedIn has made the whole process social and interactive. The larger your network, the more opportunity you will have of seeing that perfect position for which you are hunting. There are numerous ways to use this social networking site to be seen and gain business intelligence. Here are a few key ways you can also use it to find specific jobs for which you can apply.
1. Your Activity / Updates feed. When you first login, click on the "Home" menu choice at the top of the page. This feed will take up the left two-thirds of your window. Here, among other things, you'll find the posts that everyone in your network has made recently.
These updates are constantly changing. Therefore, you'll have to check back with frequency or else you'll miss many of them. Unfortunately, LinkedIn discontinued its signal functionality, which used to allow you to search this feed for items posted within the last two weeks.
For example, the following updates recently appeared close to the top of this author's feed:
"I am working with a firm that is growing over 90 percent next year, need a strong accountant assistant controller 120-130K." A recruiter's email address and phone number followed this.
"XXX is hiring an Executive Director! $30k/yr. Apply by [date]." This was followed by a link to the full position description.
What's also great about this is that when you find something of interest you'll know who posted it, and can contact that person directly to find out more. If he or she happens to work at the company, you can often get a direct in, rather than simply applying online.
TIP: Build a large network of people with your skills and/or who work in industries of interest to you. That way, you will increase the probability of finding a job of interest on your Activity/Updates feed.
2. LinkedIn's own job board. Any company can pay to post a job on LinkedIn, making it now among the largest of job boards. Access the these ads either by selecting "Jobs" on the main menu, or by selecting "Jobs" on the drop down menu for the search function at the top of your home screen.
For example, in the main search bar, you can go broad by simply inputting a job title like "engineer," or you can create a more complex, targeted search by adding multiple terms. For example, you might alternatively search for "project engineer greater Boston area."
By clicking on "Advanced" just to the right of the search bar, you'll be presented with an array of search filtering options, including keywords, company, title and location. In addition, you can limit the search to any combination of first, second or third degree connections plus everyone else, the date the job was posted, job function, industry and experience level.
The different levels of paid LinkedIn accounts provide various other premium search filters, such as one for salary.
Don't search on job titles, because the nature and level of responsibilities of the same-titled position will vary by company. For example, a vice president of human resources at a Fortune 500 company will differ greatly from a VP of HR at a company with 150 employees. And the opposite is also true: The same role will also be given different titles at various companies. At one place you might be a software engineer, but you might have similar responsibilities and compensation as a software architect or programmer at other companies.
While you may have a pretty good idea of the nature of the job you're searching, it is wise to begin with a broad search, then gradually narrow your criterion until you get to a manageable number of results.
When you're viewing any search result, you'll see how many people have applied to the same ad and who in your network works at the company. It is always a good idea to network yourself into companies through your connections before applying directly.
With premium accounts, you'll also get a variety of other insights, including: a graph of the number of applications over time, the anticipated salary range, seniority, top skills and more.
3. Job postings within groups. You can be a member of up to 50 groups at any one time, and when you're within any of them you'll see menus for discussions, promotions, jobs, members and search. You might think that the jobs listed here are the same as the "Jobs" on the higher level, but this is not so.
This menu will reveal both job discussions and jobs. These can be posted by anyone in the group for free, and these jobs likely won't show up in the general job board unless they have been posted there also.
Don't limit yourself to just viewing the jobs within groups, because often the job discussions will also provide valuable information and links to position openings that are not widely known about.
Internal and external recruiters advertise positions they seek to fill in industry, job type, skill or location-based groups to produce a small, highly targeted and quality pool of candidates. The response to ads within groups is such that they can often take the time to carefully review each applicant's profile and qualifications.
TIP: Once you have optimized your profile, join many groups and look within each of them on a regular basis for positions that may be a good fit for you. Be sure to include groups within your industry, your skill sets, colleges you've attended and general location-based groups.
Bear in mind, LinkedIn is constantly changing. When it rolls out new features or formats it does so gradually to the overall network over a period of weeks. What you see on your screen may differ from one time to the next. And at the same moment, you may see things differently than someone else.
Arnie Fertig is the head coach of JOBHUNTERCOACH.COM, where he utilizes his extensive background in HR Staffing and as owner of a recruiting company to help midcareer job-hunters land their next job. Arnie provides one-to-one coaching services to individuals throughout the U.S. in all aspects of the job hunt, including: resume writing, personal branding, utilizing social media, enhancing networking skills, preparing for interviews, and negotiating compensation.
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