Using LinkedIn for Job Searches–What’s the Problem?

Recently, I’ve heard people voice concern that LI has become too much of a network of job seekers.

Given the economic environment this isn’t particularly surprising. LinkedIn’s multi-functionality enables the satisfied, disenchanted and unemployed to build their professional network, grow their business and identifies new opportunities.

What is more noticeable is the extent to which people have become more brazen in announcing their plight in group postings or status updates. Indeed, certain groups can be cluttered with requests for work.

In an inappropriate forum or stated in desperation, constant postings and requests to “hire me” diminish the purpose and value of LinkedIn. They also can damage personal credibility.

How you reach out to your connections makes the difference between successful interactions and social networking failure.

Too often, people ask for help without attempting to develop a relationship. If you are seeking a job and nothing more—no connection beyond that—your use of LinkedIn will likely fail. It’s a matter of evaluating your social capital, being careful to avoid the “what’s in it for me” approach.

That’s not to say a direct approach is bad. But help yourself by asking for advice from your sources—not just a job. If they don’t have one, they won’t speak to you because they don’t think they can help. And in this economy, there may not be many jobs posted.

If, however, you ask for guidance or want to bounce around some ideas regarding your career direction, you flatter them in seeking their input (assuming, of course, it’s genuine), and you may be surprised to get offers to connect you with others who might get you that next job.

Finally, there are several terrific job boards on LI—great places to post desired opportunities and skills, as well as seek the advice from others. Some of these can be found at the top of the home page (“Jobs”) as well as on group pages, many of which have a tab for jobs.

So go ahead and use LinkedIn to build your professional network and prepare for your future, regardless of where you are in your career.

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