I need to come clean to you folks. I ran the idea for this post past my son (3rd year student at UC Irvine) late last week. His response was very much the same as I think I’m going to hear from a lot of people – “Why do I need to do LinkedIn? I already have Facebook and Twitter. And I don’t even really understand Twitter!”
Let’s start with my favorite explanation of the differences in social media (I apologize in advance if you are one of my Twitter or Facebook friends – you’ve heard this one before):
- Twitter: You tell people what you are doing. Twitter is all about the moment. There is no timeline of events. You use twitter to let everyone know you are peeing. Like right now.
- Facebook: You tell people what you did. Facebook is all about memorializing and then discussing. You use Facebook to tell everyone that you peed. Then you all sit around and discuss the color of your pee.
But neither of these social media gives you a place to tell everyone how well you do things - where you can brag about your accomplishments – and gather recommendations from those who witnessed and agree with you. Enter LinkedIn – where you can tell the world how well you pee, and your friends can leave recommendation letters corroborating your accomplishment.
Seriously though – LinkedIn is your resource to brag about your past employment accomplishments (more on this over the weekend when we discuss personal branding). Recruiters actually use LinkedIn to find people to fill positions*. More importantly though, LinkedIn is your resource to find people in companies that have access to the hidden job market – that market that we talked about yesterday where a job posting never sees the light of day. So let’s talk about that aspect of LinkedIn for a bit.
Remember yesterday’s little experiment? I asked those who might be interested to connect to me in LinkedIn. Here are the results – 11 people connected to me yesterday. Those 11 people now have access to my 92 other connections. Likewise, I now have access to their total of 1,292 connections. Think about that. 1,292 people I didn’t know about yesterday morning. 1,292 potential job leads. And that’s not counting all of the connections that the other 92 people that I was already connected to. Starting to understand?
Let’s look at using LinkedIn in the big scheme of things. Here’s where the use of a job board is required. I use three job boards – SimplyHired (more of an amalgamation of job boards), 6FigureJobs.com, and The Ladders. I also read the business pages at the OC Register, and scour SocalTech.com. Now – I’m not looking for specific positions – I’m really looking for companies that might be hiring. The companies that are hiring are those that may have dozens of jobs posted (yes – they do exist – look at Delloitte&Touche or IBM Business Services), companies that just landed a major contract, companies that might be moving into Orange County (like Experian did not too long ago), or companies that just had a major cash infusion. This tells me that there is opportunity to be had – positions that might be available or opening soon.
Next, I start using LinkedIn. Say we read about how business is booming at Ingram Micro – a large electronics distributor and channel reseller here in Orange County. Now – I know *no one* at Ingram. If I just send a resume in responding to a posting on SimplyHired, I’ll just be one of a few thousand doing the same. But, maybe one of you can help. The first thing I’m going to do is a company search:
I get the following results:
Just in case you thought I was lying – I really have *0* connections at Ingram. But I do have seven first level connections that know people who work there. And look at the top two! One of my connections is connected to the CEO, another is connected to a Senior Director. I never would have known without LinkedIn. Time to pick up the phone and arrange a couple coffee or lunch appointments! And – who knows what else might come out of those appointments with my connections?
I hope at this point you’re starting to grasp the importance of LinkedIn in a search for a job. The best part of this is if you spend a couple hours a week doing this, you won’t need to wait until you’re out of work to land your next job!
By the way – if you still haven’t done so, please feel free to connect to me on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/glenn-jones/23/4a9/746. If you did connect to me and you perform a search and find that I’m connected to someone who might be able to help you – please please please let me know. I am more than happy to help however I can. That’s what networking is all about!
Tomorrow I’ll talk a little about differentiating yourself – establishing your own personal brand. And then the final post in this series (before getting back to the boring running stuff) will be a real live case study of how I've managed to pull things together and get some activity in the last three weeks. Thanks again for bearing with me through these off-topic posts.
*Note: A good family friend’s daughter actually just landed a job in the Fashion Industry in NYC through her LinkedIn resume. Honest truth!