Oops, I Need a Job. Soon. What Do I Do?
Maybe you just had that extremely awkward conversation with your boss about why they’re letting you go. Or you quit. Possibly you just graduated, or you’re getting back into the job market after a long sabbatical. Or you’re moving someplace far away and need to get a job in a new city. Or for some reason they kicked your ass out the corporate door and you’re career is toast.
For any of those reasons, you are now suddenly looking for a job. You’re probably getting advice about:
- Updating your résumé
- Signing up for unemployment and your state’s All-in-One Job Center
- Interview techniques
- And a bunch of other stuff you really don’t want to do.
And everybody is saying, “What! You don’t have a LinkedIn account? You better sign up now.”
And you’re thinking, “Huh? What’s LinkedIn for?”
Don’t feel bad. OK, you’ve managed to ignore LinkedIn so far. You could continue to ignore it, but you don’t want to make your job hunt any harder than it needs to be, right?
But ask yourself, “What’s my plan for successfully finding a job?” If it doesn’t include any social media other than Facebook then you need to rethink it.
LinkedIn, for most people in the biz world, is the easiest way to create a centralized online PR, job hunting, career building, networking, employer research site on the web. It can be your centralized job hunting / career web hub.
Sure, if you are a successful performing artist, a member of a good union (with a hiring hall), a programming wizard, a hedge fund investor, or a billionaire (with your own PR department), there may be alternatives to LinkedIn. But for most job hunters, business owners, marketers, human resource professionals, and people in “bidness” of any sort, you should join LinkedIn sooner rather than later.
The Job Hunting Reality Check
Keep your expections reality-based. Can LinkedIn help you find a job? Yes. Will it guarantee you a job? No. No site will do that.
The job hunting formula is Hard Work + Serendipity + Plain Good Luck + Good Timing + Persistence. But, you can help build your own good luck, too.
There is No Job Search Fairy
Sorry, there is no job search fairy to wave its wand and find you a job. LinkedIn won’t get you a job. Facebook won’t get you a job. Twitter won’t get you a job. Your state employment service won’t get you a job.
YOU have to get yourself a job. That’s Capitalism (and it also holds true in other -isms.) You have to sail your own job-hunt ship. You may crash on a few rocks before you find your ideal job, but you are the Captain (and that has a few perks and advantages, too.)
What LinkedIn does is provide a few tools you can use to find people, to find job listings, to network, to learn from others, to research employers, connect with hiring managers and recruiters, and to advertise yourself.
Advertise? But I’m Not in Sales!
Wait, did you say you’re not in sales? Baloney. If you are job hunting then you are in sales. You are the product. Nobody can market you as well as you can. LinkedIn is your online job hunting marketing center.
Why? Because LinkedIn is the largest, international online career center for professionals. (433 million and counting.) Executives hang out there. Hiring managers hang out there. HR professionals look for workers there. Salespeople sell to professionals there. People who are looking for work set up shop on LinkedIn and that’s why HR pros who are looking for candidates are there.
Also, LinkedIn profiles are searchable via Google, Bing and other search engines. That means hiring pros and other people can find your LinkedIn profile with a simple search, even if they’re not on LinkedIn. This has value and makes your LinkedIn profile a better way to market your job skills.
You Convinced Me. How Do I Sign-up on LinkedIn?
This is easy:
- Go to www.linkedIn.com.
- Enter your first name (your real one, not a stage name or nom de plume)
- Enter your last name (ditto)
- Enter an email address (a personal email, not your company email)
- Create a password (a good one)
That’s it! You will have to confirm that email address by clicking a link that LinkedIn emails to you. You can set up a separate job hunting email address later (there are several reasons to do that, but later…).
But LinkedIn says that my email address is taken. Huh?
Don’t panic. First, make sure you spelled your email correctly.
If that is, indeed, your email address, what that probably means is, sometime in the fuzzy past, you signed up for LinkedIn and forgot about it. If that happens to you, simply sign in as an existing LinkedIn member (not as a new member) with the same email address. Click on the Forgot password? link. LinkedIn will send a password reset link to the registered email address. You click on it and create a new password. Then log on with the old email address and the new password. Easy Peasy.
You now have a LinkedIn account. Congratulations. That wasn’t so bad, was it?
OK! I’m In. Now What?
Look around and explore the menus. Don’t worry, you can’t break anything. Of particular importance right now is the Profile / Edit Profile menu.
LinkedIn will prompt you to start filling out your profile. This is good. We’ll have a few suggestions to help later.
Don’t try to do everything in one day. Take some time.
Where Do I Get Help?
At any moment, you can always go to Google, Bing or YouTube and search for info on any particular feature on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn has a pretty good Help Center, too. Look at your LinkedIn menu bar. On the far right you will see an icon (a miniature of your own photo if you uploaded one). Hover your mouse (or tap) it to open the menu and access the Help Center.
What Do I Do First on LinkedIn to Find a Job?
First, get a minimal profile up and running. Most of the info you need to provide on your profile is similar to what’s already on your résumé. You just don’t want to make it as boring as a résumé.
You can write using first person on your profile. Use I instead of the abstract He or She or the royal We. (Deposed monarchs on LinkedIn probably should get used to first person singular, too.) You can add success stories. Always remember that you are writing to people, not a computer.
Check that all the dates, job titles and your name is the same on LinkedIn and on your résumé. Inconsistencies can raise red flags to potential employers.
Once you have the beginnings of a professional-looking profile, you will want to:
- Build your network
- Research your job hunting competition
- Join a few groups
- Get some LinkedIn recommendations
- Get LinkedIn endorsements
- Look at LinkedIn jobs
- Search for potential employers
- Search for hiring managers at those potential employers
- Learn how to network on LinkedIn
- Find people who help others find jobs on LinkedIn (and elsewhere)
We’ll tell you how to do those things. Lots of others have blogged about these steps, too. Use Google or Bing or LinkedIn Help.
There’s more! Check out Part 2 of this article.
And check out our other Frugal Guidance 2 posts on LinkedIn. And follow this series as it develops.
Emergency Sign is by the author, Andrew Brandt. Original photo is a detail of the facade of St. Clare’s Hospital in Dover, NJ. Image altered using Photoshop and Topaz Labs plugins.
Photo of Modern First Aid Kit is courtesy of “hywards” and FreeDigitalPhotos.net. Final image refined with Topaz Labs Texture Effects.