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Savvy job seekers can use the site to gain all kinds of job search advantages: knowledge on the kinds of people the company hires, the name of the hiring manager for a specific job (and if they are lucky, an electronic mail address) and even the final “in,” a personal connection at a company of interest.

Used right, LinkedIn can be a job seeker’s golden ticket.

But, for every job seeker that expertly navigates the world wide web networking scene, there’s plenty of others who fumble their way through it, often over- or underestimating the role the site ought to play in their job search.

“LinkedIn is a valuable device, but sometimes when people search for a job they can confuse activity with productivity,” says Tony Beshara, president of Dallas-based placement firm Babich and Associates, and author of the book “Unbeatable Résumés,” for which he surveyed over one,000 people on their LinkedIn use. “No matter what activity you are doing, whether it is writing your resume or browsing profiles on LinkedIn, if that activity is not actually getting you an interview, it is not as productive as something that would get you an interview.”

If your online networking has been less than productive (read: if it has not actually lead to a connection or interview with an employer of interest), then you might need to revamp your LinkedIn strategy. These guidelines will help make positive the time you spend on the site is most effective.

When reaching out to your contacts:

·  Don’t be shy

The whole point on LinkedIn is to connect with people, so if you are hesitant to reach out to a co-worker you haven’t spoken to in some time, don’t be. She is on the site for the same reason you are — to network with people — so he probably expects the occasional introduction request.

“Interestingly , everybody that is on LinkedIn expects the same thing out of everybody else,” Beshara says. “[The thought is] ‘What I do for you today, you’ll do for me tomorrow.’ People are much more open to responding to you because they know that someone else is going to do the same thing for them, or that you will do the same thing for them the next time.”

·  Don’t be needy

“Make it known early in the method that you are not expecting your networking connections to do the hard work for you,” says Diane Crompton, author of the books “Seven Days to Online Networking” and “Find a Job through Social Networking.” “In other words, in the event you require them to introduce you to a contact at their employer, say something like ‘I’m not expecting you to endorse me for this position or intervene on my behalf.’ This will take the emotional burden off of them ought to they feel much possession in your job search method.”

When you do find anyone in your network who has a connection or works for a company you’d like an introduction to, your approach will play a large part in the person’s response.

If your networking contact is new, or anyone you don’t know well, it is important to make it know that you will be the most active part of the equation, Crompton says. For example, “Ask in the event you can use your contact’s name as a door opener to get the conversation going together with your desired finish recipient. By doing this you have taken them off the hot stool in terms of their involvement,” he says.

·  Take it off line

InMail, LinkedIn’s messaging function, is great for making preliminary contact with anyone. But one time that is completed, move the conversation to e mail or a phone call. Not everyone checks their LinkedIn profile consistently, so communicating this way is often ineffective and slow.

If you are browsing your connections and find out that anyone you know much works at a company or has a connection of interest, you may even skip the InMail message altogether.

For example, says Beshara, “Once you find someone you know an organization, call them up and say ‘Hey Mary this is Tony, I understand you work with Leroy, and I’d like to get a hold of him. Are you able to tell me a tiny bit about him, or what is going on at your organization?’ That kind of thing.”

When making introduction requests:

·  Let your contact know it is coming

In case you plan on asking a contact for an introduction and have the person’s e mail address, send them a “heads up” to let them know it is coming. Doing so will help you gauge the person’s reception to your request, Crompton says. “[Plus], not everybody is active on LinkedIn everyday and this will be positive that your message doesn’t sit in their LinkedIn Inbox for a long time period,” he says.

·  Make a nice first impression

Something that not all job seekers recognize before they send introduction requests: “When using the ‘Request an Introduction’ function on LinkedIn, you’ll require to generate messages to your ‘bridge’ (middle) contact as well as to the finish recipient,” Crompton points out. “Keep in mind that both people get both messages, so if you are on a casual name basis with the introducer you’ll still require to keep the communication more formal and professional, knowing that your finish recipient will also get the message you sent along to the middle connection.”

When researching companies

·  Find the hiring manager

If you are interested in a specific job, try finding the hiring manager on LinkedIn. Job descriptions will often include the title of the person the job will document to.

If the position reports to the director of promotion, pull up the company page, and see in case you can find the person with this title. In case you do find the hiring manager, “it’s absolutely OK to reach out to him or her directly,” Beshara says. If the person’s e mail address is not listed, you can often find the company’s e mail format online (for example, FirstName.LastName@companyX.com), and you can plug his or her name in to this format.

·  Look at who they hire

Browsing company profiles and taking a look at the company’s page on the site won’t only give you a better idea of whether or not you are the type of person the company usually hires, but will also clue you in about potential alumni connections you may have missed.

“You can look at worker profiles and find out what kinds of people the company has hired historicallyin the past, what companies employees come from, in case you went to school with any of them , etc.,” Beshara says.

In case you discover a common bond between you and anyone you’d like to reach out to, “Use the transparency of LinkedIn to evaluate the best approach for communicating along with your finish recipient,” Crompton suggests. “Customizing your message by using these commonalities will build rapport and make your preliminary approach that much more ‘warm.'”

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