Three LinkedIn Tips I Used to Get a Job (at Viget)
Saad Ahmed, Former Senior Digital Strategist
I spend most of my time on LinkedIn -- more so than Twitter or Facebook. So, during my job search, I went to LinkedIn first. Here are some tips from my job search about how I got to know Viget and how I used that information to get my foot in the door. If you are unemployed or looking to change jobs, I hope you can use these tips to set yourself apart from other candidates and overcome that initial hurdle -- getting noticed by hiring personnel.
- I read recommendations. LinkedIn allows colleagues, clients, and peers to recommend one another. Generally speaking, these recommendations are publicly viewable. Recommendations are a great starting point to figure out if the core values listed on a corporate website align with what clients, colleagues, and business partners are writing about the company. A quick skim through a few of the recommendations for Viget employees revealed that the people here are well-respected; clients are elated with the work produced; stakeholders love the amount of detail in project deliverables; and companies would overwhelmingly recommend Viget to other businesses. It can't get any better than that. The recommendations were consistent with what I expected (and hoped) after reading the "About Us" page on viget.com. The recommendations gave me confidence that this is a place that sticks to its core values -- a rarity these days.
- I asked for an introduction. Once I figured out that Viget was a place that met my criteria (and ideals), I asked my former colleague to make an introduction to someone he knew at Viget. LinkedIn is built for this purpose and I wasn't shy in making it known that I was a great fit for the job. I clicked the "Get introduced through a connection" button; selected, "Job Inquiry" in the drop down menu; and chose my former colleague to make the connection. A few hours later his contact at Viget asked me to send my resume and cover letter directly to HR. Simple, easy, and effective. At that point, I felt confident that my resume would actually be read by a real person instead of screened out by a computer. Introductions for the win! The only word of advice I have is to use this feature strategically, sparingly, and only when you feel you are the right fit for the position and the company. Your colleague or referral is putting his or her reputation on the line. If you don't meet the minimum job requirements, I would definitely rethink asking for an into for that specific job.
- I talked to a former employee. Once I made contact with Viget, I used LinkedIn to find someone who used to work at the company (and, incidentally, held a position that was similar to what I was applying for) to talk to about the role. Just as companies will run background and reference checks on candidates, I used LinkedIn in a similar way. I didn't want to get dirt on the company; I wanted to better understand the culture and the job I was applying for. Talking to a former employee can be revealing and I was lucky to find someone who was willing to talk openly and provide insight that I was later able to reference in the interview. Not only did I get an insider's perspective on general company culture, I was also able to get a first hand account of the role I was applying for, the challenges that I would face, and the rewards of success at Viget. After the conversation, I was even more comfortable with the prospect of working at Viget and was glad I prepared so thoroughly.
At the end of it all, the key to a successful job search is preparation and research. Make sure you know why you are applying to a particular company, make sure the job description fits your capabilities, and use the appropriate tools at your disposal to get in front of decision makers. Getting an interview can be an intimidating hurdle, but these few steps can help you get noticed. Feel free to ask questions or post comments and I will clarify to the best of my ability.