Having worked in the employment industry for over twenty-five years, I have seen and used every trick there is in looking for work. When I first started helping people look for work –you went door to door and dropped off resumes. Despite being right in the office you will be asked to send your resume by email or apply online and they will refuse to take the resumes!
Then we had it where you contacted the receptionist and tried to break through to the hiring person and their job was to block everyone and protect the hiring person’s privacy at all costs.
Next, we had the voice mail and email vacuum – you left a message and no one ever returns your call and the email you sent with the resume, and cover letter is never acknowledged and you did not know if your resume every made it into the hands of the person hiring.
Today we have the Applicant Tracking System or (ATS) with over 200 different systems and more and more companies either buying them or using third party systems. The applicant tracking system is one more roadblock for the job searcher. The ATS systems are used to screen applicants’ resumes for key skills and then the hiring manager views those resumes that make it through the system.
So how do you break through all these roadblocks?
LinkedIn is the jobseekers dreams come true! If used correctly you can find out who the hiring person is, what their background is, what type of people they currently have on board and can determine where your skills could help them and if your skills are weak where else you could potentially be hired based on where the current staff previously worked. LinkedIn is a massive Rolodex that enables you to connect with people in the organizations and gain a further understanding of what the firm requires.
- The reality is networking is key. People hire people who they know or someone else knows. The majority of people are referred for jobs. If you are new to the city and don’t have a lot of connections -LinkedIn can help you identify people who work at the place you are interested in. I have had clients who have been successful in connecting with the person in the hiring role through LinkedIn and some have been able to connect with the manager in departments that they wanted to work and set up an informational interview.
- In order for LinkedIn to be useful, you ideally need at least 100 people in your network. As soon as I say this, I can immediately hear a number of you saying – I do not know one hundred people-think again. For the young people, it may be the parents of your friends, your professors, your neighbours, your teachers, your classmates or your soccer coach I think you get the idea. For those who have been in the workforce for a number of years, it is a great way to reconnect with people you use to work with. I had one client who connected with an employee they had not connected with in ten years. He connected on LinkedIn with the person who had just started a new company and they had been discussing hiring someone with my client’s exact skills. He was in the biotech industry (which has been a challenging field in BC lately) and from when one job ended and he was hired, it was six weeks! this was in late November and he was working by mid-January. They hired him and the position was never posted.
- On LinkedIn, you can search for people who went to the university you went to and I have found that often people will connect with people that went to the same university as you.
- Join groups on LinkedIn and find out if they have events that you can attend. You will meet others in the industry as often people are aware of positions that are available either within their own company or at another company. Sometimes at these events, you can find out about new positions companies are proposing before they have even posted them and you can get a jump on the job.
LinkedIn is only one piece of the job search puzzle. Having a professional resume, a network and the confidence to reach out and let people know you are working you will be surprised by the response and where help in your job search comes from.
About Dorothy Keenan of FutureWorks
Dorothy is a professional resume writer and career advisor with over 25 years’ experience in helping people find fulfilling work at all levels of the labour market. If you think your LinkedIn profile needs a tune-up or you are unsure how to even start contact Dorothy at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.fwt.bc.ca. Changing your profile can lead to some great opportunities for growth or career change.