Whoa. It actually worked. I got a new job through LinkedIn.
Now, I’m positive that I’m not the only one who has seen such visible and tangible success by using this online tool/social networking platform, nor do I believe what’s happened is rare… it’s just that I, personally, haven’t heard of any real examples myself (but you might have).
In any case, the quick and dirty is that after being completely frustrated with attempting to get in contact with the people-who-matter in a particular business about a particular job, I decided to hop on LinkedIn, use my valuable InMails (all of them) and contact directly.
The end result is that my investment was not wasted. The company had just been recently acquired by an infinitely-larger corporate business and was in the middle of a grossly-chaotic integration process. As a result, my traditional resume submission was lost in the shuffle and fell into the veritable “black hole” that every one is familiar with.
Using LinkedIn enabled me to engage with the right people, begin the conversation, and at the same time prove that I was the right person for the job (it was a social media gig… and what better way to prove that you walk-the-walk than by using a social technology?!)
And it worked. But, there is, of course, more to the story.
Here are some of the additional things and some not-so-unique-nor-innovative techniques/tips that I used to get the most bang for my buck (literally) out of LI:
- Purchase a Business Account: I’m a little hesitant to suggest this because I’m 100% certain that you can get a new job without one. Also, I haven’t been 100% satisfied with the supposed “pluses” of being a Business Account holder. But, it does have one particular function that was absolutely instrumental for me: InMails.
- InMail FTW: The Personal Account lets you accept InMail only. I find this feature pretty much useless unless you’re the prima-dona-golden-candidate-who-is-obviously-going-to-be-the-next-zuckerberg and recruiters are killing themselves to hire you.For most of us, we’re decently experienced professionals with a decent LinkedIn profile and unless the above extreme is true, we won’t be getting valuable InMail notices in our inbox daily (btw, InMails are in limited supply, Buiness = 3/month and Business Plus = 10/month, so, you can’t and don’t want to waste them unnecessarily. Check here for a comparison.)So the only way InMail has any value (in my limited opinion) is if you can actually send them.And send them I did. I have 3 a month, so I horde and treasure each and every one of them. It’s a crazy psychological battle as you sit in front of your computer having typed, crafted, and sweat-out an absolutely brilliant and beautiful InMail to someone and thinking to yourself “Sheesh… I’ve only got 2 more if I send this… for the rest of the month… is this person really worth my preciously-limited InMail…? … !@#$!@#!!!”My advice: Be strategic and wise about them. Use them when absolutely necessary. Send them to strategic people in the org who “touch” the job you’re after. Use them to “earn” brownie points if possible. Use them when you’re trying to tail a lead or job that you would absolutely die if you didn’t get it (I’m being extreme here, but you get the point).In my case, I used all 3 on the same day, to employees (2 top-level execs and an HR Dir) in the same company, all mentioning the same job. It was calculated, risky, and if it didn’t work, I would have had to wait an agonizing 30 more days to get another 3.
- Recommendations: One of the biggest things that set people apart on LinkedIn (and certainly show depth of use and level of personal importance to a user) is whether they have Recommendations. Whenever I’m sending out my resume or engaging with any potential employer, I always mention my LinkedIn profile AND Recommendations (in fact, if you don’t have a LinkedIn profile link in your resume… WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?).When I sent my InMails, I made a specific call-out for them to review some of the comments and feedback that I had received from colleagues and professionals in my current job. This gives them more incentive to take a look and respond. It also gives you massive credibility.And if you don’t have any…? Get on it. The first time I sent a mass email out to my colleagues asking for Recommendations I was admittedly nervous. But the result was priceless.
- Profile Completeness: How many of us have been annoyed by the less-than 100% complete profile announcement? That’s because you know in your heart of hearts that you should just DO IT. You’ll be very thankful that you did. I’m been personally complemented and had recruiters mention to me that they appreciated the thoroughness of my profile… it’s literally a digital CV, so treat it with respect… and then promote it hard.
- Engage: Participate in some Q/A… be a producer of content instead of just a consumer. And if you can concentrate on just one topic of interest, go hard at it. Become an Expert. Having one of these “Expertise” in your profile is big bucks.And, it’s a great conversation starter and you should certainly use it in your communication and even interviews. For example, imagine how cool it would sound (and it does sound cool… I’ve done it) if you were able to say something like:”Well, in regards to ______________ I’m a publicly recognized expert and thought-leader in the field, according to the LI community at large and have been able to provide valuable advice to… … …”Yeah. That’s tight.
- Don’t Give Up: Best advice ever received (thanks Dad). LinkedIn isn’t the end-all-be-all source for networking and job ops… yet. But it can be a great start and certainly a strong point in your search for your new gig. Use LinkedIn to the fullest (especially if you’re giving them some of your green) and make it work for you. Be patient, and don’t throw in the towel.
Again, as I mentioned before, these aren’t innovative or new ideas, but proven techniques I’ve used to get the most out of LI, with an obviously wonderful result.
Good luck to you all and would love to hear other stories of success!