These are strange and exciting times for job-seekers; “exciting” in that scary, overwhelming way that could confuse or defeat even the most diligent soul.

Job-Search-Skills-Workshop

The wildcard for the seeker (and the hiring community) is LinkedIn. Now up to 20M+ users, there are levels of competence that create lines of demarcation in maximizing the potential of LinkedIn, but in its simplest form it is still the most powerful networking tool in business today. I’m no guru, I’m just someone who uses “LI” (yep, we’re at the point of our relationship where nicknames are appropriate) every day, and still raise my eyebrows at certain trends (facts? nuggets? tips? I dunno) that could easily be rectified.

  • Your LI profile IS your resume ~ If you don’t know this already, now you know. Complete your profile just as you would your resume, seasoned with a personality- this ain’t Facebook (thank God), but it’s social.
  • Hone your chops! ~ If you’re job seeking and lucky enough to be gainfully employed, you need to ramp up your efforts to network before you’re unemployed. It’s no big secret – people with crappy LinkedIn profiles are usually fat & sassy at their current position. If that’s your situation, kudos to you, and good luck with all that, but trying to learn about LinkedIn after the fact is pretty hard. Learn NOW.
  • USE it!10-1-10-1 (I just made that up.) “Endorse” the skills for 10 people. Ask for one recommendation. Send 10 “Connect” requests. Send one InMail request. Every – single -day. Now!…..seriously man, go do it now! If you use LinkedIn and don’t have at least 100 connections, either give it up or get busy. If you can’t think of 100 people with whom to connect, that’s another life lesson staring you in the face.
  • Learn to ask ~ This is purely my opinion, but I wouldn’t recommend joining job-seeker groups; I’m speaking of the “live” or virtual variety. It sounds very Draconian, but these aren’t the people that are going to hire you. Use connections/groups to find local people in positions of authority and ask for an interview. That requires the ability to send InMail; you need that ability. Informational interviews are good karma ~ if you’re in the position to give these meetings, do so. If you need these meetings, learn to ask.

Granted, this takes a little effort. But you’ll find the short & long-term benefits to be much more beneficial to you than the wormhole known as on-line resume submission. There’s no guarantees in any method, but take the opportunity to build your personal offering at the same time you are seeking another opportunity.

Now quit reading blogs and go update your profile ~ and send me a LinkedIn request when you’re over 100.

John “Whit” Whitaker is Founder of the HR Hardball™ Straight talk, no-nonsense approach to workplace issues. 

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