Monday, April 9, 2012

I’m on LinkedIn – Now what? Part 3

This blog was written by Brittany Moore, CU-Boulder senior pursuing a double degree in business marketing and broadcast news.

Part 3:  Find your passion and nail that Interview!
Are you having trouble figuring out what you want to do professionally? LinkedIn is an excellent tool to help you figure out where your interest lies.  Through the Advanced Search tool you can use keywords to search industries, jobs, employers, and interests.

Another way to learn about an industry is by joining groups. Groups have a variety of discussions by professionals that can provide knowledge about their industry. LinkedIn provides a great platform for communicating with professionals. Many of the group members are willing to aid each other in answering questions and facilitating informational interviews, so don’t be afraid to ask for assistance.

Career Explorer
One of my favorite applications on LinkedIn is the Career Explorer beta program.  This program is more or less your personal, virtual career advisor.  You can find the program under the “More” tab by clicking “Skills”.  Career Explorer allows you to build a projected career path for each industry you are interested in.  You can build your path up from entry-level positions to more advanced jobs.  For each job you choose, Career Explorer shows you age distribution, geographic distribution, salary expectations, etc.  The program provides a wealth of knowledge that might be hard to find elsewhere. 

Nailing that Interview!
The key to success in the job application process, especially during the interview stage, is knowledge about the company and job you’re applying for. Employers want to know specifically why you are choosing their company to work for over others. LinkedIn is one of the best places to find company information in order to impress employers.  The site includes general company information, current events/news, mission statements, and competitors.

In addition, one of the most useful parts of LinkedIn is that it shows you how you’re directly connected to a company.  The website separates your connections by first contacts and second contacts, which is someone you don’t know directly, but through one of your other contacts.  You can use this information to network with employers and even gain introductions that will benefit your job search.  Additionally, the different company websites also list their employees, including recently hired employees. This information is useful because it allows you to see what qualifications the company looks for in their employees.