LinkedIn boasts a whopping 645 million (and counting!) professionals across the globe. Think about that astronomical number for a beat. If you took one short minute to connect with erryone on LinkedIn – it would take you 1,227 years to click-clack your way through.
So why on a platform literally teeming with the world’s professionals, do so many people struggle with growing their network — and more critically — in leveraging it to unlock job and career opportunities?
This week, Career Craft talks to five pros who know your network is your net worth — and offer tips for putting LinkedIn to work to land your next great career opportunity. Here’s their advice:
Clear and Current
Here are three suggestions on how to leverage your network as you seek to land your ideal job:
- Give your LinkedIn profile a critical review to ensure you’re really showcasing the skills and expertise you want to be hired for. Scan your updates in this review too as those skills should relate to the role you’re seeking, not the career you’ve left behind.
- Be clear and specific on what type of role you’re seeking, plus, be willing to share the information with anyone who asks “what are you up to?” as your next career opportunity could as easily come from your hairdresser as that former work colleague you’re connected to on LinkedIn.
- Apply your skills in a new context (i.e. mentoring for a startup accelerator/incubator or entrepreneurial organization if you’ve always worked in a corporate environment) as a way to expand your career search horizons.
An alumnus recently said that if you don’t tap into your college’s network, then you’re discounting your degree by 25%. So, what can you do? Research shows that jobs are found through 2nd degree connections. As a 1st degree connection, your alumni network can open a lot of doors. Go to your school’s LinkedIn page and click “Alumni.” Sort people by region, company, industry, etc. Mention your school when sending a personalized note and see the power of your degree at work.
Some of what makes LinkedIn the most powerful networking tool is the ability to search and filter your connections’ connections to identify who in your network knows who you want to know.
While that may seem like a mouthful, it is the most powerful data for job seekers that we have available to us today. For example, if you know that you want to work at ABC Company, you can search that company on LinkedIn, click through the employee list and identify, first, who in the company do you already know that can help you out, or who in your network knows someone at that company.
If you know someone that works there, reach out and have a conversation with them. If they are open, ask that they submit your resume directly to HR, this is a win/win. Chances are because you were referred internally, your resume will go to the top of the pile, and if you are hired, they will often get a cash reward.
The simple truth is the vast majority of people don’t grow their LinkedIn networks with focus. For job seekers, this is critically important, and it all comes down to one thing: working your target employer list.
In a search, you should grow your LinkedIn network with current/former employees of your target employers. These are the organizations that offer the kind of culture of which you want to be part and have people who do what you do. Identify potential hiring managers and develop the relationships with people already connected with them.
But remember networking is about giving to give, offering value for equivalent value. People know when you have an ulterior motive. It’s a real conversation killer.
All the Feels
LinkedIn is a platform to share ideas, open thoughtful professional discussions, and provides direct access to professionals in complementary industries. No one cares what you do, but how you made them feel. Engage with others posts intentionally, not passively. Your goal is to ask for an introduction call to give value, learn more about their subject matter expertise, which could open the door up for a helpful resource or introduction.
Looking to make work work for you in your second act? Send your career challenges and questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org.