By Randy Wooden
As a job hunter, you need to explore multiple avenues when looking for employment. These include traditional methods, such as networking, online job boards, staffing firms, newspapers, etc.
During the past 10 to 15 years, employers have largely shifted recruiting dollars to Web-based venues. Although websites come and go in terms of popularity, if I had to suggest one for job seekers, it would be LinkedIn.
I like to tell people LinkedIn is Facebook for business people. Although no site is perfect, LinkedIn offers numerous benefits.
Unlike traditional job boards that only display openings, LinkedIn allows you to network with people relevant to your goals and to view openings. It allows you to post what amounts to your résumé without necessarily admitting to the world you're looking for a job. So it's somewhat safe if you're employed and concerned your boss will see you on there.
Just be smart about it. Don't put "seeking new opportunity" on your profile. Employers and recruiters will find you by searching keywords and location and then contact you privately. If you're looking, don't allow people to see the groups you've joined. Membership in numerous job-seeking LinkedIn groups gives your game away.
Speaking of groups, consider joining ones that match with these four main areas: your desired industry, job function, location and alma mater. Once you've joined these groups, become active in their discussions. Be seen as a resource to others. This helps you establish familiarity and credibility without coming across as a desperate job hunter as so many others seem to do.
LinkedIn wants you to treat the site as if it's your personal Rolodex. Don't do that. Instead, look to connect and engage with people who, like you, are what's called "open networkers." In other words, they don't limit their connections to only those professionals whom they know well.
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