I recently interviewed Jason Alba, author of “I’m on LinkedIn, Now What” for a special Job Seeker’s section of my book,“LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day.” Jason is one of my mentors, and as usual, incredibly generous with his time and information. He is truly one of the first LinkedIn Experts and the most knowledgeable person I know when it comes to LinkedIn for job seekers.
Jason Alba’s Bio:
Jason’s new career as a LinkedIn aficionado started sometime in 2006. Prior to that he was an IT manager and General Manager of a small IT company, finding it to be a very important learning experience…until he was laid off in January 2006.
He started his first job search then and found the job search experience to … suck.
He wrote I’m on LinkedIn — Now What??? in September 2007. This book has sold thousands of copies and has been a significant factor in Jason becoming a “professional speaker.” He co-authored I’m on Facebook — Now What??? which came out early 2008 and helped unbrand Jason as just a LinkedIn or job search expert, and more of a social media/network guy. Of course he still speaks to job search and networking groups, to unemployed or employed people. He also speaks to associations, universities, marketing groups or clubs, etc. He spends a lot of time writing (He has 4 blogs that he keeps updated.)
Viveka: What are some “Best Practices” for job seekers on LinkedIn?
Jason: The most important thing a job seeker needs to do is get serious about their profile on LinkedIn. Too many people do the bare minimum on their profile and that can hurt rather than help you on LinkedIn.
Viveka: Why does a job seeker want to spend some time optimizing their profile?
Jason: When a job seeker gets found in a LinkedIn search, or someone happens upon their resume, or finds them on Google, we want them to be impressed with the job seeker’s profile – we want them “sucked in” and engaged. A well-optimized profile has a better chance of attracting a recruiter, employer or hiring manager:
For 21 Steps to Create a Better LinkedIn Profile Click here: http://linkedintobusiness.com/linkedin-tips-tricks
Viveka: How can job seekers use LinkedIn more effectively?
Jason: Job seekers need to be proactive about what they are doing. They are either searching or they are stagnant. Too many job seekers create a profile and then sit there and do nothing. Use LinkedIn’s Advanced Search feature and go find people they should be prospecting
There‘s a mentality with many job seekers that to find a job all they have to do is apply, apply, apply to job boards and then wait for the phone to ring. But that doesn’t work anymore. Job seekers need to get out of their comfort zone and proactively look for the right connections. They need to figure how to move from reactive to proactive!
Viveka: So what should job seekers do?
Jason: Start by using the advanced search to find the right connections. Take a few minutes to make a list of company executives, HR professionals, recruiters, Influencers in your industry, potential mentors – and then reach out and contact them!
Job seekers have to start developing relationships. The job board puts you back into comfort zone mentality. Don’t rely on LinkedIn’s job board, apply for a job and wait. Use it to find who works at a company you are interested. How are you connected to the person who posted the job? You might as well reach out to them, what else do you have to lose?
Viveka: I assume you suggest reaching out and connecting to people they don’t know on LinkedIn. How should Job seekers reach out?
Jason: One way of reaching a lot of people – without connecting to a lot of people - is through a LinkedIn group.
To communicate with an individual, find out where they are comfortable. Are they active on Twitter? Then maybe the job seeker should reach out to them on Twitter.
When reaching out, ask your new contact where they would like to have the conversation – through email or through phone. Ask them where they are most receptive to the conversation. If you can send a connection a direct message on LinkedIn, then that is your best bet.
I also like Introductions a lot, getting your message and branding in front of multiple people. However, if it’s a time sensitive message, be aware Introductions can take a long time.
Invitations will work, but your first conversations shouldn’t be an invitation. Relationship should come first whether you connect with them or not.