I have always been an active user of LinkedIn. My primary usage of LinkedIn is focused on Sales and BD research. In the area of lead generation and/or sales targeting, LinkedIn does a great job. However, this year I became involved in helping some good friends and colleagues with their personal job hunts. This exercise reintroduced me to the "job-hunting" aspect of LinkedIn. I was not impressed. My original impression was that LinkedIn would really open up the number of job opportunities and accelerate their transition to a new role. It didn't.
But what it did do is reinforce several core beliefs I have regarding managing your career (especially during a job hunt). Those beliefs are as follows:
1. Managing and building your personal network is critical. You need to treat this as a priority in your career.
2. Its not about just "meeting people". Networking doesn't work if you are just collecting business cards. Your actual "work" speaks volumes. It is the pairing of your work ethic with maintaining relationships with your industry colleagues that creates a winning formula. You work hard for your customers -> you build strong relationships -> you create a powerful network.
3. Keep asking yourself what do you want to do? What is your preferred role?If I'm not liking my current role, what is it that I really want to do? The answer to these questions is very powerful. For you, it will provide focus. For your network, it will make it very easy for them to determine how they can help you. Here is what doesn't work -> "What type of role are you looking for?" Answer: I don't know. This is a dead end and wastes everyones time. So, keep refining this answer and you will get much better results.
4. You don't have a job, you have a career. This is a mindset. It is a mindset that will guide your actions, help you make better decisions, and finally, it will attract other companies to you. This is another critical belief.
So, with that said, what have I learned so far from this exercise:
1. LinkedIn is a good tool to see what is out there, do some research on salaries, but it really doesn't address the two core needs: Creating high quality matches between job seeker & employer. Nor does it really allow you take advantage of your "connections" to offer you assistance in your job hunt.
2. Usage of the personal network has been great. The leads, the discussions, the informational interviews, the non-advertised roles, have been instrumental. What drove these results were the narrowing in on the exact role we were looking for. In addition, these results did not come from contacting 1,000s of people. We actually contacted a handful. But these "handful" of people helped amplify our search and led us to more high quality matches and leads.
3. I also tried an experiment during this process. I leveraged Twitter, fb, and LinkedIn to post a note that I knew of solid BD/Sales folks that were available and looking for new opps. This actually had a solid return. I received DMs back asking to learn more info etc etc. It was a very simple exercise. I had no expectations. However, I did find it ironic that I had to "share a post" on LinkedIn to finally get a good response.
Final thought on this whole process. There is a ton of opportunity out there! Seriously. But guess what -- you wont really find it advertised anywhere. Employers are not racing to post a new job on LinkedIn so they can review 1000s of resumes. They are waiting for you to leverage your network --> so that one of your industry colleagues will make a call to a friend --> and that friend will call you for a job that is not posted, not fully structured, not 100% thought out, but has your name on it.