If you're a job seeker in the business world, and you don't have an online profile on the professional networking site LinkedIn, make it a top priority to create one.
In an article called "How LinkedIn will fire up your career," Fortune magazine recently called LinkedIn "the only social site that really matters" if you're serious about managing your career. And that was before LinkedIn launched its new "Company Follow" feature, which can give you an insider's view of what's happening at the companies you'd like to work for.
There were already plenty of good reasons to use LinkedIn in your job search, but Company Follow is one more big one. According to the LinkedIn blog, this feature lets you:
- Be in the loop on key developments at the companies you're following,
- See who has recently joined, left, or been promoted within the company, and
- Stay informed of business opportunities, job openings, and more.
We've all heard the expression, it's not what you know, it's who you know. The problem is, most of us don't really know all that many people. But LinkedIn can show you who your friends and business associates know. It's one of those exponential math things that can quickly boggle the mind of a right-brained type like me. But even I can grasp that connecting to my business contacts in LinkedIn also connects me to their business contacts—and that's waaaaaayyyy more people than I'd ever know on my own.
Company Follow gives job seekers another powerful information source. You can keep up with the companies you'd like to work for (assuming they have a LinkedIn page—as all 500 of the Fortune 500 companies do), and even keep an eye on their competitors.
Think about it: If your dream job is, say, a senior marketing position for Staples, and you're following Staples' company page on LinkedIn, you'll easily be able to see who's who among current employees, new hires, or former employees, as well as any recent promotions or changes. It might provide the heads up you need to anticipate an appropriate opening and get your resume and cover letter into the right hands (and you can find out whose hands are the right ones on... you guessed it... LinkedIn) before the hordes start applying from the job boards!
If you're not sure how to make the most our of your LinkedIn account, check out Jason Alba's DVD, LinkedIn for Job Seekers. (In case you're wondering, Pongo's not affiliated with or paid by either LinkedIn or Jason Alba. We're just trying to keep you up to date on job search best practices.)
Have you been using LinkedIn or other online networking sites for your job search? What do you think about it? Do you have any tips or hints for others? Share your thoughts by posting a comment below!
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