How do people find jobs today?  I’ve heard that 85% of jobs are obtained through networking, and recruiters source 80% from .   What?!*&!  I received the first invite to join a few years ago.  Being curious,  I loaded a minimal bio and requested connections from a few of my closest friends.  After stretching to get about five 1st level connections, which linked me to ten or twenty  2nd level connections, I thought it was a kinda cute  program, somewhat like multi-level marketing.  I really didn’t see a need to delve into it since I had a job.  To be fair, I should also add that I didn’t have the time necessary to upkeep another networking site since I was already maintaining MySpace, and Facebook.  Now that I’ve separated from my employer, the need to learn LinkedIn has transitioned from unnecessary to necessary.

My career coach suggested I take their classes on the program –Networking with LinkedIn and Advanced LinkedIn.  After taking the first overview class yesterday, to describe and compare LinkedIn to a multi-level marketing scheme is a major understatement.  I’m totally impressed at the few things that I learned can be done with this powerful database.  At minimum, you can create a bio listing your name, a “professional headline” ( which can be a summary statement of your roles, and competencies), and the industry in which you play, err I mean work.   You can upload a resume and photo, initiate and receive email, filter on all your connections for information on their companies/locations/industries, make announcements to your network, and follow professional and alumni groups.

The most exciting thing that I have learned to date is that you can find a hiring manager of a company, and request an introduction if you have any 1st or 2nd level connections in your network.  Sweeeet!  Bypassing the gatekeeper and HR is the name of the game!  On the far right navigation bar, click on the “advanced” link near the search bar; this brings up the Advanced People Search Screen.  From here you can add appropriate filters, including the title of the person you think may be the hiring manager.  This left us a little stumped in class but we were told to use the title of the person to whom we reported, example “manager.”   The resulting view will bring up a bunch of manager titles.  A name will be listed next to the title if they are in your network, and you’ll have options to request an introduction.  If they aren’t in your network, apparently there is a fee of $10 you can pay to “cold call” email.  I would think this method could possibly be viewed as pestering,  but you can turn off the option to receive these calls in the Settings.

You can also perform a general job search:  From navigation bar at top, select Jobs, then Advanced Search.  Input appropriate filters and the resulting view lists multiple jobs and companies which meet your specified requirements.  Under the company name is a link to “see who at xyz company can help you get this job.”  Click that link and you view the person or people in your network that have an association with that company.  You then again have options to request an introduction through your connection.  Did I say sweet? That is an example of networking at its best.  Of course there are no guarantees that your request will meet the intended person, but your chances of getting an interview through this method I’m sure are better than submitting a resume through  impersonal  job boards. – what a powerful networking and job search tool! Can’t wait to take the Advanced LinkedIn class.  Will report back…

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