The most underused skill in modern business (including job seeking) is empathy. Without empathy for the customer, companies cannot imagine why their customers hate them and want a new supplier. Without empathy, employers can't fix whatever's causing their high turnover.
Without empathy, the job seeker cannot imagine how employers seek and find the talent they need to run their organizations, so the first step in understanding how to use Linkedin to network your way to an employer is to understand how employers use Linkedin.
Empathy doesn't come naturally to everybody. Some of my readers don't have the "empathy gene" so let me walk you through what an employer wants and how he uses Linkedin to get what he wants. if you've never done so, go to the advanced people search function in Linkedin and look at the fields that are available there. If you do this, it will quickly become obvious why employers use Linkedin and not Facebook to network their way to the candidates they want. In Linkedin an employer can search by location, by education, by job title, by keyword and more. Employers can't do that in Facebook. Don't make the mistake of creating a bare bones Linkedin profile that doesn't contain the keywords, educational facts, job experience and so on that may cause you to come up in an advanced people search.
Let's say the employer is looking for somebody who lives in Charleston, WV, knows some obscure computer programming language and belongs to a certain professional group. He can search for only those candidates by populating the appropriate fields. Candidates who appear in this advanced people search will have a little "2nd" or "3rd" next to their names if they are connected to the searcher through mutual friends or a friend of a friend. Regular readers of this blog know that employers try NOT to hire people to whom they aren't connected by a friend or a friend of a friend.
And, increasingly, hiring managers and HR people are stocking their companies with the kind of people they want to socialize with. It's not accidental that young recruiters try to screen out older job seekers or that recruiters hire people who graduated from their college or belonged to their sorority or share their interest in scuba diving.
After identifying a few candidates with the "right" credentials, the employer can ask your mutual friends about you. If one of those mutual acquaintances says good things about you, you're golden.
For more straight talk on how job seeking REALLY works and how you can network your way to a new job, go to the archive (at right) and read my last 4 posts.
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