Networking for a Job or a Career Change via LinkedIn

It is never too late, or too early, to start networkingA solid network will help you advance your career.

I sure wish I had listened to these words as I walked down the road of life. Yet the hard truth, I was too lazy and really did not see the advantage. Networking was always something I would do later.

My early days begin when we were using “printed” phone books to look up numbers and had boxes stuffed with business cards.

My recommendation, don’t follow the path I walked.

In the business world, networking is now much easier today and it is required.

For clarity, we are limiting the content of this article to looking for a job or a change in your career. Wiki has a decent article on an overview of  “Business Networking” and it is worth a quick read if you are interested.

We’ve already advised not to use the “Spray and Pray” approach to finding companies . Use the 2nd option of actively seeking out companies around your sweet-spot and you will have a solid short list to pursue. The next step, “if” you have a business network set up and in full swing, go jump on LinkedIn.

Many folks ask me, “Why LinkedIn, there are other social sites I use?” The answer lies in the 120+ million business user profiles already on line. In addition to the extended search capabilities built into the free tools.

Let’s presume you have a geographic preference of where you want to live.

Would it help if you could locate contacts within a geographical search of the area you are interested in living.  And you could also see  who within your existing contacts is connected to a person in one of your chosen companies? If the answer is yes. The best tool available today which can perform this type of a search is LinkedIn.

“As with many things in life, the devil is in the details.”

You will need a network setup and running to use LinkedIn effectively.

If you don’t have an account setup and growing your network, it is never too late, or too early to begin.

If you already know what type of a job you want and have already defined your sweet-spot. You can easily create a short list of companies and/or industries to pursue. (Industries are part of the advanced search function.)

As an example of the advanced search let’s test these attributes on my profile:

  • Keywords of Sales and Marketing.
  • VP in the current or past titles, (Connect as high as you can.)
  • Any where in the US, (I had no preference coming out of school.)
  • Industries of cosmetic, beverage or chemical, (part of my sweet-spot)

These attributes generate 171 contacts I can reach out to via my network.

If you recall, I am not the best at networking. Yet here are over 171 people and numerous companies for me to consider. They are within my sweet-spot, in a career path I’ve chosen and are at a level of VP or higher.

The search capabilities will provide you a list of companies and potential individuals to do further research on. Once the search is performed, drill in and refine based on other attributes. Such as specific company names, size of company, and/or geographic location. This will provide you with a list of contacts to pursue. Job Seekers: Help in finding your dream job .

Over 80% of all jobs are filled via some sort of a referral from an inside source.

It is this one fact alone which should jog you into action even if networking is a dirty word. If it was me, I would not want to work for the other 20% who “have to advertise” to find employees.

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