Monday May 28, 2012
LinkedIn for Job Seekers: Advice from Jason Alba!
I recently interviewed Jason Alba, author of 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.)
Jason considers his main role to be CEO of JibberJobber.com (which we will discuss below) and hi THIRD edition of LinkedIn for Job Seekers DVD ships out next week. It's 2 hours of how-to, essentially watching over Jason's shoulder. Details here: http://www.jibberjobber.com/blog/2012/05/10/linkedin-for-job-seekers-dvd-third-edition/
Here’s a potion of my interview with Jason Alba:
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.
Viveka: Earlier you mentioned you like Introduction because it allows a job seeker to get their message and Brand in front of others. What do you mean by Branding when it comes to Job Seekers?
Jason: I define Personal Branding simply as how others perceive you. With LinkedIn, job seekers can develop their personal brand – how they want to be perceived. For instance, when I think of my brand, I want people to think of me as a Subject Matter Expert, Thought Leader (or both.)
One of the biggest problems job seekers have with personal branding on LinkedIn is that they often misbrand themselves. They pigeon hole themselves. When you are creating your brand on LinkedIn, make sure people perceive you correctly.
Read about branding yourself on LinkedIn here: http://linkedintobusiness.com/clarity-and-branding-know-your-keywords/
Viveka: How can people go about branding themselves?
Jason: One strategy job seekers can implement to position themselves, is to ask a question every week that helps people understand what their interests are. Questions subtly assert your interests. For instance, the job seeker could write something like this in Answers: “I’m preparing a presentation on_____ for_____ What are three things you think I should include? Their network will begin to see the job seeker’s interests and their perception might shift to include all the job seekers interests – their branding – not just the fact that they are looking for a job.
See my article on Answers here: http://linkedintobusiness.com/tools-and-strategies-for-being-a-better-resource-and-creating-thought-leadership/
Viveka: You mentioned earlier connecting to people in groups. What do you mean?
Jason: Once a job seeker is a group member, they become “one of them.” So they should join groups in their areas of interest. Again, this helps in creating a more holistic impression, a better brand.
There is something powerful about starting a relationship with someone who didn't know you previously, and then they get to know you, as you want to be known, not as your experience has cubby-holed you previously.
A job seeker can start a discussion and leave comments in up to 50 (although I recommend about 45) groups in industries that interest them.
Viveka: That seems like a lot.
Jason: If this seems work intensive, then compare the time job seekers spend on job boards with the few minutes it takes to build relationships in a group. How powerful are the relationships they are making in the industries that interests them compared to the time they take pouring their resume into the black hole of the job board. This is truly the way to tap into the hidden job market.
See my article on Groups here: http://linkedintobusiness.com/linkedin-groups-how-to-encourage-entice-engage/
Viveka: Are there things that shouldn't be done as a Job Seeker?
Jason: I already mentioned creating a bare bones account and waiting for the phone to ring is a bad idea Also, job seekers shouldn’t spend too little time or too much time on LinkedIn. Don’t forget real life. Go to networking events. Meet people in real life. Call them on the phone.
Viveka: What are some LinkedIn Tools a job seeker should try?
Jason: JibberJobber is an excellent complement to LinkedIn. What job seekers are doing in their jobs search is finding people to network and communicate with and then developing these relationships. JobberJobber is a great tool to track who they are communicating with and what they are saying. JobberJobber is a tracking system that let’s them keep track of all conversation. It's a true PRM – personal relationship manager!
To get JibberJobber go here: www.JibberJobber.com
This is just a portion of my interview with Jason Alba. For the whole chapter you’ll have to buy my book LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day
#LinkedInChat: LinkedIn for Job Seekers
I asked Jason these questions – let’s see what you think!
Q1: What are some Best Practices for job seekers on LinkedIn?
Q2: Why does a job seeker want to spend some time optimizing their profile?
Q3: How can job seekers use LinkedIn more effectively?
Q4: How can job seekers connect with employers on LinkedIn?
Q5: What does branding have to do with job seekers?
Q6: How can job seekers use Groups?
Q7: How can job seekers use Answers?
Q8: What other tools can job seekers use?
Q9: Any last advice for job seekers?
Join us May 29th on the #LinkedInChat at www.tweetchat.com/room/linkedinchat to as your own questions or help us answer the above questions.
Thanks to Charlie Jeffers of HashTracking we have the stats and transcript for tonight's chat! http://beta.hashtracking.com/ht-pro-rpt/cjeffers-linkedinchat-2012-05-29/
Here is some more great advice from Stacy Zapar (the most connected woman on LinkedIn) who I'll be interviewing for the book and for #LinkedInChat. Invaluable advice. In case you didn't know, @StacyZapar ROCKS!!!!