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LinkedIn to What? by Randy Kim
As many job hunters, especially those fresh out of college, spend countless hours on Indeed.com, and other employment websites, they are facing even stiffer competition as they are battling as many as 200 applicants for the same position. HR coordinators spend countless hours sifting through faceless resumes, and narrowing down a long list of potential candidates. As a seasoned veteran job-hunter, I often find myself hearing the words of “It’s not about what you can do, it’s about who you know” if you want to land a meaningful job. So how does one go about making those important connections?
LinkedIn, a social media site, provides this platform for networkers alike in all areas of interest. Unlike Facebook, LinkedIn is geared towards the “professional version of you” not the version of “you at 2 am in such and such bar.” It is where you can create your own resume, career objective, keep in contact with your professional colleagues as well as meet new ones. What you are uncomfortable about sharing with your colleagues through Facebook, LinkedIn provides that perfect medium where everything stays fairly business, and nothing more.
The difficulties of building a network are knowing where to start and how to introduce yourself to a potentially meaningful contact. Though there are millions of professional contacts to choose from, LinkedIn, however, restricts you from being able to access most of those contacts unless you know their personal email address, get introduced from a mutual connection, be in the same LinkedIn group, or have worked together. Instead, you do have the option for paying a monthly/yearly fee to get access to those contacts.
However, you can use different methods by joining in LinkedIn groups with personal and/or career-oriented interests. This is where you will find many posts relating to interview preparations for a specific career sector, current trends with your field, etc. This is where you will find opportunities to meet with colleagues who are either in the same boat as you, or who are hiring managers, or people that are influential in the field that you’re interested in. These groups are not only useful for gaining meaningful contacts, but more importantly, it keeps you aware of what’s going on with your field, and on the lookout for different organizations and companies that you weren’t aware about.
Beyond your profile, you can also search for job openings, write personal recommendations for your colleagues or be given one by your colleagues. These days, when you are applying for a job, certain companies are allowing job hunters to use their LinkedIn profile as part of their application. Companies and organizations have also used LinkedIn to research their candidates.
Though social networking can wear out even the most hardened of users, but if you as a job hunter can invest in building your LinkedIn profile, then you will not only gain knowledge and current technological/philosophical trends in your field, but you will gain potential contacts that can help lead you to a more, improved career path.
Also, check out this useful link which gives you further information on how to network effectively through LinkedIn. Food for thought: http://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/2012/04/10/how-to-network-effectively-on-linkedin/