Why & How to
as a key part of your
job search strategy
What is Social Networking
• While the term can mean any interpersonal interaction, it
has come to mean the use of the Internet to connect with
people, anywhere, at any time. There are sites that
emphasize the “social,” & those like LinkedIn that
emphasize “business relationships.”
• Several sites, like LinkedIn, have incorporated a twist on
what used to be called “multi-level” marketing, originally
designed to sell products & earn monetary percentages
of those within your “down chain” network who made
sales. In the social networking context, you are able to
reach the contacts that your first level contacts make, as
well the next level of contacts, 2 generations away from
you. This compounding of numbers can generate a
large network of contacts that you can communicate with
on any subject.
What LinkedIn is not
• It is not another version of Facebook or Myspace
– Without care these sites can do your career search
harm (non-professional behavior indicators – reasons
for screeners to delete you from an application
process) (think sexy or wild party photos)
– Google yourself. If you find something that is
unflattering to your career do whatever you can to
remove it from the web.
• It is not a waste of time
• It is not frivolous
Why use LinkedIn?
• Like career fairs, recruiters, on-line applications,
etc., it’s one more approach to job hunting. In
this economic period, we need to pursue every
• Recruiters use LinkedIn to source candidates.
Wouldn’t you want to be on their radar?
• It enables you to stay in touch with those you
network with in the physical world.
– It helps cement the relationship
Profile of LinkedIn users
• Anderson Analytics study – 2008
– Nearly 60% of users have incomes of $93K or
– People with lots of connections tend to make
more money, according to the study - those
with incomes between $200-$350k were
seven times more likely to have at least 150
connections than lower income users.
(I’m not validating these numbers or assumptions, just sharing them.)
How do you begin LinkedIn?
• Sign on at LinkedIn.com, provide your e-mail address & a
• Create your profile
– Customize to market yourself & present those skills you
want to highlight
– Customize to show the fuller you by connecting to groups
that help a paint a picture of you that you choose
– Customize by establishing links to your own site, notable
items about you on the net, etc.
– Change the last portion of your LinkedIn profile from an
alphanumeric sequence to your name, with a numeric
after it, if necessary, to make it more professional in
• E.g. http://www.LinkedIn.com/in/SteveFreedman007
Use of a photo in your profile
• If you use one, make sure it’s a professional one, not a
party shot. Using a graphic instead accomplishes little.
– It will definitely help the viewer remember you from
networking events or previous LinkedIn mail transmissions.
It’s the equivalent or a real world, tangible (warm & fuzzy)
connection. We help remember each other by our faces.
– Our society is full of biases, sometimes recognized,
sometimes beneath the surface. They can include race, age,
sex, weight, and even attractiveness.
• Ultimately this is a very personal decision you have to
make. On age, you can leave off some old jobs and the
year you graduated college, but other biases are less easy
to work around. Think the issue through and do what feels
right for you. You don’t have to use a photo.
Utilize your LinkedIn profile link
• By clicking on your LinkedIn profile link
anyone can be brought to a slightly
abbreviated version of your LinkedIn
profile, & subsequently click on your full
profile, if they choose.
– Put it on your business card
– Use it on your resume & cover letters
– Use it in your e-mail signature block
Using LinkedIn groups
(Pick your strategy)
• Strategy A – Join groups with a large number of
– This will boost your network quickly.
• Strategy B – Join groups that reflect your
– Presents you as a complete person.
• Strategy C – Join groups that reflect what you
would like viewers to see to mold their
perception of you.
– Presents you as you would like others to see you.
• Be aware of the new LinkedIn limit of 50 groups.
Using LinkedIn groups
• Discussion groups
– Post & answer questions
– Develop recognition among your peers
– Utilize the multitude of opinions available from
around the world to help gain a macro
perspective to local issues.
How can you improve your visibility
• In the “Question” area find your area of
expertise, look for questions that you’re
comfortable with, and answer them with as much
care and generosity of your time as you can.
• Get previous supervisors, peers, &/or
subordinates to “recommend you.” This is
definitely needed to build your profile to 100%.
• The former helps label you an “expert” and the
latter helps substantiate what you say about
yourself, giving third party reviewers more
comfort in accepting what you present.
Recognition as “Expert”
• To become an Expert on LinkedIn you answer
posed questions. If your answers are deemed to
be the best answers by the person who posted
the question, that person designates you as an
Expert. Repeated occurrences leads LinkedIn to
designate you as an Expert.
• Recruiters are able to utilize the “Expert”
designation in their sourcing efforts. This helps
the recruiter become more comfortable in
sending your resume to clients.
What can you do on LinkedIn?
• Search for people who work in the company that
you have targeted and engage them in
conversation – company culture, intro for an
informational interview, leads on company
research to enhance your interview.
• Talk with people who left a company you’re
interested in and try to get the reason they left or
some insider information. Remember, everyone
has different values & hot buttons, what upsets
John may roll off Tom’s back.
What else can you do on LinkedIn?
• Reconnect with people you haven’t seen
in 20 years
• Engage your peers in subject matter
• Find recruiters
• Talk to people in other countries about
cultural differences & similarities
Quality versus Quantity discussion
• Quality – connect only with those you know &
– Pros – Messages you send can be quality enhanced
by having your contacts praise you, along with your
message to a recruiter, potential hiring manager, or
other company contact.
– Cons – It’s slow to develop your network in this
• Quantity – connect with as many people as you
– Pros – Develop your network quickly
– Cons – You have to rely on strangers to pass your
messages along, …. or do you?
• (paid account upgrade alternative)
What is a “LION”
• One acronym, two translations, same meaning
– Leading International Open Networkers
– LinkedIn Open Networkers
• The meaning is clear:
– Individuals who self identify themselves, usually
in their own LinkedIn name “title,” do so to convey
the fact that are willing and eager to accept
invitations. They may still self-police the
incoming requests, but in general their purpose is
to build their network quickly, accepting most
invitations. They want to network aggressively.
A Blended Approach
• Like good scotch, a blend of the quality and
quantity approach can help you achieve the
positive aspects of both approaches.
– Pro – You build a large network in a fraction of the
– Con – You have to “rely on the kindness of strangers”
• You’ll find that 90% of members want to help each
other, either for karma or graciousness
• If your network is large enough, you can attempt
contact with many people in one company,
increasing chances that one will respond to your
request, even if they don’t know you or your
• There is a degree of peril when inviting connections that
you do not know personally.
• On the receiving end of a LinkedIn invitation the recipient
can choose any of the following:
– Accept invitation
– I don’t know (your name)
• If your invitations receive too many “I don’t know (your
name)” responses, LinkedIn may cut off your ability to
acquire new connections. Accordingly, always include
some language in your invitation similar to “… if you are
not interested in connecting with me, please click the
archive button, otherwise I will be penalized and not be
able to connect with great people like you.”
OK. Profile built, network building,
questions answered, recommendations
sought, you finally get to 100% profile build
• Reality check:
– The profile can be built in a day
– Being really aggressive you can build a big network in
about 6 to 8 weeks
– Getting old contacts to recommend you can be slow
– Maintaining your network can take as much time as
growing it, if you choose to. There’s a train of thought
that you need to maintain your network even when
you’re reemployed, because that state of being may
not last as long as it used to last.
Every day LinkedIn activity
• Get Linked with everyone in all of the
organizations to which you belong. Ask
your phone book contacts to join you.
• If one of your organizations has a “group”
on LinkedIn, connect to it and participate
in the discussion area.
Every day LinkedIn activity (cont)
• At EVERY networking event, at the end of your
discussion with a new connection, ask them if they are
on LinkedIn & would they like to connect. If they do:
– Send them a LinkedIn invite & ALWAYS customize
it, referencing where you met them and any details
of your conversation to help them remember you.
– To cement the relationship further, after they accept,
send them a thank you note. In the note, ask them if
they know anyone, in or out of LinkedIn, who might
be able to help you in your job search. By not
asking them for a job directly the request is less
threatening and conveys less pressure.
Business Intelligence on LinkedIn
• Premise: either because you have an
interview or you want to prepare a job
assault on a particular company
– Go to Search “People”
• Type in “company name” or “company name +
– Go to “Companies”
• Search industries
• Get company specific information & information
concerning your contacts who have left or joined
Business Intelligence on LinkedIn
• When you’ve found one or more person who
work(s) or worked for the company that you’ve
targeting, send them LinkedIn mail, either
through your connections, or directly, if you’ve
paid to upgrade your membership.
• As politely as you can, ask about their company
culture, the style of management, the
formality/informality of the organization, or any
other piece of information not available through
internet research. The more research you have
on your target company the better your ultimate
interview is likely to go.
LinkedIn as part of your self
• The career hunt has become more difficult
in this economy. With employees turning
over, on average, about once every 3
years, your mindset has to adjust.
– Networking must be done all the time, not just
when you are “in transition”
– Recruiters are using LinkedIn as a normal
part of their business – shouldn’t you be too?
– If you develop a web site, use LinkedIn to
help drive professionals to it, and promote it.
LinkedIn as part of your self
promotion strategy (cont)
• Use the new LinkedIn side applications
– Amazon book list – helps add a color
commentary of your different interests,
presenting a more well rounded you.
– Google Presentation – post some of your
white paper/Power Point work
– Miscellaneous Apps for sharing and
• LinkedIn is a wonderful tool. This presentation focuses
on its use in a career search. It’s also useful for
establishing warmer cold calls. It’s great for gathering
business intelligence. It’s great to stay connected with
people as you move from job to job, or from state to
state, because people want to maintain their connections
• However, in the case of career search, it is only one tool.
LinkedIn & on-line applications should take no more than
20% of your job search week. The rest should be spent
on meeting recruiters, going to networking events, &
hopefully interviewing, in the physical world. A blended
strategy is the most successful approach.
• Consider doing most of your LinkedIn work after normal
working hours, so it doesn’t interfere with live
Feel free to send me a LinkedIn invite: