LinkedIn contacts, I would estimate that roughly 10% are actively looking for employment. Of course, many people don’t start working on their LinkedIn network until they need it. (Bad idea)As of this writing we’re at roughly 8.1% unemployment. Sure seems higher, doesn’t it? As I look at my
Beyond that, I estimate another 10% or so are nervous about the immediate future. Most companies are struggling to some extent and marketing cuts are often at the top of the list.
So, if you’re looking (or if you think you might soon be looking) chances are you have your resume ready. Hopefully, you have multiple resumes so that you can send the personal “brochure” that best fits. Maybe you even had them professionally prepared.
Aside from sending said resume(s) off to every single opening that you are mildly interested in (not always the best idea) what else can you do but sit and wait?
Here is a list of ten things you can do that would be far better than sending that resume off to jobs you don’t want or don’t stand a snowball’s chance of getting:
#1 Work on your LinkedIn network. Set a goal for yourself of expanding your network by at least one person a day. Have you sent invitations to all your current and former colleagues? Customers you’ve worked with? How about college roommates? I recently reconnected with two old friends that I haven’t spoken to in fifteen years. Their names just popped into my head one day and I said, “Hey, I wonder if they are on LinkedIn?” (Seriously, that was the first thing that came to mind!)
#2 Ask for references on LinkedIn. Ask the connections that have worked closely with you if they would be willing to write a reference for you on LinkedIn. Offer to do the same for them in return. Recruiters often check LinkedIn before they invite a candidate to interview. These references are crucial.
#3 Establish expert status on LinkedIn. Start answering questions on LinkedIn and eventually you will get enough people voting your answer as “best” to acquire expert status in the category. Candidates with expert status in two or three areas look far better than candidates with a generic LinkedIn presence.
Answering these questions has an added bonus. It makes you think about how you would handle various marketing challenges. These are the same sorts of questions that interviewers may ask. Answering questions on LinkedIn is almost like practicing for an interview.
Just remember that hiring managers can also see your answers to questions if they review your LinkedIn profile. It’s best to answer these questions every bit as carefully as you would a real interview question.
#4 Join a community on LinkedIn and get engaged in the discussion. LinkedIn discussion groups have come a long way in the last year. There is one on almost every conceivable marketing specialty. Joining is not enough, however. You need to actively participate in the discussions. If you can’t find the right group, you might want to consider starting one. (Groups that have nothing to do with your profession don’t count.)
#5 Blogging. If you have a hard time sticking to a regular schedule you might want to skip starting your own blog. A blog that has been neglected for weeks at a time may look worse than not having one at all. It could look like you have a hard time sticking to your projects.
Better yet, add comments to existing blogs. Bloggers really love it when people comment on their posts– personally, I am downright grateful. Just make sure that you clearly read the post that you are commenting on and that your comment is relevant. Again, you should also assume that any comments you make will be seen by future employers. You can sometimes comment anonymously if you have a nasty streak, but an anonymous post does nothing to improve your opportunities. Besides, why would you want to spread your issues to the internet?
#6 Other Forums. Participate in other forums such as Marketing Profs. It offers much of the same networking opportunities as LinkedIn plus some added educational resources. I believe that the depth of your involvement in forums like these counts far more than the number of forums you are involved in.
#7 Expand your network some more. As you expand your involvement in the online marketing community through forums like LinkedIn and MarketingProfs and through blogging, look for opportunities to expand your network on LinkedIn even further.
Personally, I don’t recommend sending an invitation to connect to everyone you see on a forum or every blogger who writes a decent post. The idea is to make a connection with these people by becoming a regular commenter on their blog or by reading their responses to questions on the forums. When you feel you have enough of a connection to invite them into your network on LinkedIn, send them an invitation. Make your invitation more inviting by writing your own personalized invitation instead of using LinkedIn’s standard invitation.
A final word to the wise
You’ll notice that none of these ideas have anything to do with asking anyone for a job. For example, I’m not suggesting that you send a LinkedIn invitation such as “Hi Bob! I’ve really enjoyed your answers on the PR forum on MarketingProfs and I’d really like to work for your company. Any openings?”
What these ideas will do is set you up to present yourself in a much more positive light the next time you send that resume to a post for a job that you really want in a company you really want to work for. Not only will the hiring manager have your carefully prepared resume, they’ll have LinkedIn references to review, responses to questions that help establish your expertise and carefully crafted comments on blog posts showing your deep engagement in your profession.
All the best!
P.S. If you have time, take a look at last week's "Friday Dilemma" and let us know what you would do. I think it is a particularly interesting and timely dilemma for many marketers. And, while I appreciate offline responses, I'd love to see some dialogue online as well!