In the segment I focused most on LinkedIn not only because there are now close to 45 million professionals who are members of that site, but because more and more recruiters and hiring managers are using it to find candidates directly rather than relying on job boards. With the unemployment rate at its highest level in 26 years, a posting on an online job board can inundate a recruiter with hundreds or thousands of resumes, a large percentage of which are likely to be unqualified for the job.
An article in The Wall Street Journal last month, for example, told of a law firm that posted a position and received responses from almost 1,000 people, half of whom did not even have a law degree!
But I also focused on LinkedIn because I feel there are some underutilized features that job seekers can leverage to help them find opportunities that are just starting to bubble up before they’re widely advertised. And by the way, it’s a great tool for entrepreneurs too to help them be proactive in identifying unmet needs and proposing solutions.
One of these features is the Companies page. From the top menu of the home page of LinkedIn, click on the “Companies” option and type in a company name or keyword in the search box. LinkedIn will show you an employee listing, including specifically anyone in your network who works there, used to work there, or is connected to someone who does.
Speaking to a few people within each group can be enormously valuable for getting different perspectives on the potential opportunities within your target companies. For example:
- Current employees are invaluable resources for getting a handle on what is happening at the company now and the direction it’s going. Plus, they can be great allies for helping you get your resume to the right people and putting in a good word for you (if they know you, of
- New promotions and changes may be in the market to hire new positions as they expand their department or replace existing under performers.
- New hires can hint at where there may be growth opportunities within the company. Even if you can’t speak to them directly, you can get a sense if certain divisions have been on a hiring spree and target them first.
- Recent departures might be more open to talking about the challenges the company is having, which leaders might be great to work for and who might be a nightmare (good info to know before you accept a job, right?).
This is incredible market intelligence that would have been near impossible to perform just a few years ago.
To assist you in crafting your outreach emails to these folks, I’d like to point you to two recent posts from my Personal Branding Blog colleagues: Monica O’Brien outlined a terrific sample template for requesting a brief informational interview over the phone, and Chad Leavitt shared great strategies for how to effectively contact recruiters you might find on that employee list.
All the information you need is at your fingertips, now go for it!