LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com) is an excellent resource for job seekers.
We have seen in a separate article how to create your own online brand using the LinkedIn profile:
However, as important as building and maintaining your presence on LinkedIn is, equally critical is using the tool to proactively reach out to others that can help you reach your employment objectives.
The search facility of LinkedIn is very robust, and combined with the large quantity of registered members, enables most people to identify quality new connections, and then introduce themselves. The fields available for narrowing down your people search include:
- Location – I always choose Located in Israel
Sometimes you need to go through a trial and error process to find the correct combination of the above fields that provide you with the most targeted results. Your search matches will be in the format of a short summary, including name of the person, job title/sector, current/previous position, and how they are “related” to you. The last part, how you are related, is important if you decide that you want to introduce yourself.
If you and the person of interest share at least one LinkedIn group, or are connected directly, then you can send a message to them in LinkedIn. However, if your relationship is via a connection of a connection, then in order to contact the person you need to either ask your direct connection for the relevant details or try to search on the Internet. In order to understand if a person meets your profile, you can always click on their name, which then displays their full details.
Once you have found people that you wish you start conversations with, as long as you share a group with them (or are directly connected), you can write to them immediately. I have used LinkedIn literally hundreds of times to search for people that match my profile of interest, either for myself or on behalf of others.
When I find people that are suitable, I then send them a short message of introduction, doing my best to begin a meaningful relationship. I estimate that between one third and one half of the people that I send short introductions to are agreeable to beginning a conversation. Here is a sample of a “pitch” message that I send:
I am a software engineer, and recently made aliyah. A search on LinkedIn led me to you. I am trying to learn more about this industry in Israel. Would you be agreeable to answering some questions that I have?
Notice that there is nothing about a job/CV, simply a professional to professional introduction. Since you are sending this to professionals in the same sector rather than H/R people, there is much more of a chance that you will get a positive response. As with all networking efforts, each activity will have its own unpredictable dynamics, and your objective as a job seeker is to maximize your opportunities by starting the process with as many relevant people as possible.
LinkedIn can be an extremely powerful resource to aid in your employment search. Using it proactively, to search out and contact relevant people, is an excellent way to increase your network and learn about more job opportunities.