Earlier this year, LinkedIn surpassed the 100 million member mark. Are you curious how the site works or why you should use it? Read on to find out how four job-seekers found new opportunities through the popular professional networking site.
Jenson Crawford, Director of Engineering
Three years ago, Jenson Crawford searched LinkedIn's job listings by geography and found a software engineering management position near his home in Southern California. He submitted his resume through the company's website and mentioned that he'd seen the position on LinkedIn. "The hiring manager was able to immediately get on LinkedIn to see my experience and whom I'm connected to," he says.
Turns out, the CEO at the company where he was applying knew another CEO he'd worked with, so they could compare notes on Crawford's work style. "I think that was something that really helped," he adds. That company is reorganizing so Crawford is hoping to find a new position through LinkedIn. "I've been contacted [on LinkedIn by recruiters and hiring managers regarding open positions, in addition to searching job listings for the right fit," he explains. Keeping his profile current and carefully building his network, even when he's not actively job-hunting, have helped make his profile attractive to those recruiters and hiring managers.
The lesson: Don't ignore your LinkedIn network or profile as soon as you land a new job. You never know when you might need those connections in the future, so it's best to keep your network active.
MeLinda A. McCall, Human Capital Consultant
While driving to work one morning in 2007, MeLinda A. McCall heard on the radio that the parent company of a direct competitor was laying people off. At the time, McCall was working as talent acquisition manager for a major beverage brand and needed to hire several more recruiters, so she pulled up some names on LinkedIn and started cold-calling recruiters from the competitor's beverage division. "Initially, when I started chatting with them, I thought they were screening me because I would be their future boss if they came to work for me," she says. "They started asking me questions like 'How big is your current team? How long have you been managing people?'"
One recruiter suggested they meet for coffee, where McCall discovered that the recruiter was not interested in switching companies. Instead, the recruiter explained that her division was hiring Would McCall consider interviewing with them, she wondered. "I switched from trying to recruit to being recruited thanks to LinkedIn," says McCall, who started her new job two months later.
The lesson: Opportunities arise even when you aren't looking, so stay open-minded. As McCall says, "Using LinkedIn can have surprising and unexpected results."
Chris Perry, Brand Manager
While searching for a job in brand management in 2009, Chris Perry checked LinkedIn for current brand managers at his target companies and asked if he could call them to discuss how they broke into the industry. Roughly 80 percent of the people he contacted agreed-with the caveat that they couldn't necessarily forward his resume or recommend him for a job. "I would never ask them for a job, simply ask them to talk about themselves," he adds.
During these informational interviews, Perry shared some of the challenges he faced in his job search and asked if they had any advice. Even though he'd prefaced the conversation that he couldn't promise anything, one of the brand managers offered to pass Perry's resume onto HR, which ultimately led to an interview and a job offer at his current company.
The lesson: By showing an interest in others' careers and soliciting advice from those more senior, Perry placed relationship-building over job-seeking.
Sara Bruhn, Case Manager
After joining her alumni group on LinkedIn earlier this year, recent DePauw University graduate Sara Bruhn posted about the kind of nonprofit job she was looking for, including the name of a human rights organization where she hoped to interview. Several alums who work at the organization or had connections there responded to her post offering to help. "I had one DePauw alum who invited me to her office to get a feel for the organization and meet people," says Bruhn. "She works at a different division of the organization but she gave me some advice and gave me a feel for the organization."
Another alum whom sits on the board of directors for the nonprofit offered to submit her resume to the head of human resources. After two interviews, Bruhn moved to Chicago and started a job as a case manager this fall. She says LinkedIn helped her make connections in the nonprofit field and target people at the organization where she now works. "It didn't feel like I was shooting in the dark," she adds. "It's really easy to target the field you want to work in and see the resumes of people in that field."
The lesson: Don't be shy about asking for help. And as Bruhn's story shows, getting specific about the places you want to work can pay off.