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May 2007 Archives

May 2, 2007

Unpredictable benefits of LinkedIn

"Chance favors the prepared mind." - Louis Pasteur

Scott Allen is running a group blogging project on smart ways to use LinkedIn. I'm sure a lot of folks are going to write up the intelligent, organized ways that they've used LinkedIn for their careers and businesses. I'm a fan of all that, but I'm going to tell you about how sheer randomness can play a beneficial role, too. Let's talk about serendipity.

serendipity: discovering something by accident while investigating something quite different (Wiktionary)
One of the more interesting people I've met was looking for someone else at the time. This corporate PR exec—let's call him Bob, since that's not his name—was looking for Steven Gilliatt, a New York advertising heavyweight, and he tried LinkedIn. It turns out that Mr. Gilliatt isn't in LinkedIn, but I am. A few key phrases in my profile related to Bob's current interests, so he followed the link to my blog and read a bit.

Then he sent me a LinkedIn connection request.

Now, I'm not an open networker. I like to have at least a little contact with someone before accepting a link. But considering the VP title and big-name employer, I decided to accept this one, and once we were connected, the obvious next step was to talk.

What I found was a well-informed, well-connected contact with significant areas of professional interest in common. He told me stories about companies and Wikipedia, and he's given me client-side feedback on my big research project. We've had several good conversations since then, too. Obviously, I'm glad I added Bob to my network.

Let's recap the pieces that led to this happy connection:

  1. I'm in LinkedIn. If you want to be discovered, put yourself where people are looking.

  2. My profile describes my interests and activities, so someone who happens across it will have some idea of whether they're interested in what I do. A good profile will help you appear in keyword searches, too.

  3. My LinkedIn profile links to my business blog for more insight into what I'm about professionally.

  4. My use of social media is consistent with the image I want to project. My blogs, comments, profiles and tags don't paint a confusing picture for someone who finds me by unusual methods.

  5. Although I don't generally connect to people I don't know, I considered the potential and accepted Bob's connection.
Plans are great, but chance can be your friend if you're properly prepared.

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May 15, 2007

Target your search

OK, you've heard the conventional wisdom about networking your way to a new job. Still, those online job listings are tempting, and they do lead to the occasional interview. It helps if you go beyong the big, dumping-ground job boards and find the niche sites that target your field.

Today's Wall Street Journal has an article on specialized job sites:

Job seekers who limit their searches to traditional online hotspots may be missing out on the best career opportunities, as more employers are advertising openings on Web sites that cater to specific career fields and geographic locations. They say these so-called niche sites attract better-matching candidates than sites that list positions in a wide range of career fields and ZIP codes.

The article also offers some ideas on how to find a good job site:

  • Visit trade groups online.
  • Peruse job-board lists.
  • Use search engines.
  • Refine your search:
    • Compare special features.
    • Take a test drive.
    • Critique the quality.
    • Consult with others.
You might also find helpful sites through blogs that cover your job specialty, industry or region. Some blogs even have their own job boards. And when you do find a promising site, look for an RSS feed so you don't have to go back to the web site every day / week / whatever.

The big boards have that signal-to-noise problem, for candidates and employers. Too many irrelevant (or worse) job listings and too many applications turn the big boards into a time sink with poor results. Targeted sites might be just the fix.

About May 2007

This page contains all entries posted to The Net-Savvy Jobseeker in May 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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