Optimizing LinkedIn in Your Job Search – Part III of III

Visit individual LinkedIn Company Profiles to read and learn about companies in which you have an interest. Quickly see if you have any connections at the company, recent hires, open jobs, related companies, and company statistics.

Go to target company profiles to first of all “follow” the company, and then read on to research corporate structure, culture and plans. Is this a more hierarchical or more flat structure? Is this a company that is acquiring or being acquired? Is it growing or shrinking? Is it adopting modern technology and practices? Bottom line, is this an employer that would potentially provide the employment you need and seek at this phase of your life?

Read through the automated list of connections to make note of who works there or are otherwise associated. You can tactfully inquire of these connections their role in the company, where they see coming growth or change, and how best they recommend you tackle the job search into their employer. Ask connections to introduce you to their connections that can get you closer to your answers. Network your way into the space most attractive to you.

Prior to an interview, use LinkedIn to research hiring managers and interviewers to better understand their current roles and professional history. The more you know about their position as it relates to the one at hand, the more you can decipher how the interview will go. A direct report manager will ask different questions than a department head or HR. You may even discover their likes, interests and hobbies. Always professional and never too personal, a well-timed leveraging of this information may build rapport, show you’ve done your homework, and demonstrate your sincere interest in working for their employer.

LinkedIn is a goldmine of information if you just take the time to uncover it. The more you read, the more you know and the more you can make the site work for you.

Join Groups

If you have followed this series, you have by now set up your account, built your profile, started to grow your network, reached out to your contacts, begun researching potential employers, and now it’s time to join some groups. From your home page, click on the Work icon in the top right corner, and then Groups. Scroll down the list of groups you are already a member of (if any) and click on Search other trusted communities that share and support your goals at the bottom of the page. Now in the Groups section, you can specify your search by typing simple parameters in the search box at the top.

LinkedIn will allow you to join many groups for free, so you can be more or less selective depending on your parameters. Look at who you are, what you do and where you live. The purpose of these groups is to network online, and it has to tie back to where you are. The chatter from a group on the other side of the country might be interesting and relevant to your work, but if you are actively looking for work in your city you will likely want to narrow your group chatter to your geographic area.

Joining groups will expand your network, keep you informed on what’s happening, and show your expertise by allowing you to engage in online conversations and answer questions that arise. Keep in mind that you want to join groups that have recent activity, or you risk wasting your time in a group that doesn’t have regular interaction. Group rules can change from one to another, and some administrators impose certain restrictions. That’s their prerogative, and it’s your job to operate in line with their rules. Just like visiting a group or association in person, you learn the group’s behavior and if you’d like to be an active member, you do your best to comply. If a group is closed, simply ask to join and your invitation will be reviewed by the manager in hopefully a reasonable amount of time.

This sums up our LinkedIn series. We hope you have enjoyed it.