Leveraging LinkedIn in Your Job Search

With graduations on the horizon many are actively engaged in job search. LinkedIn can be your best friend.

It’s probably no surprise that LinkedIn is a great tool for job seekers. After all, unlike other, more social, social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc., LinkedIn is intentionally geared toward the professional sphere. But, chances are that, unless you’re in sales, own a business or are in the market for a new job, you probably aren’t spending a lot of time on LinkedIn. You should be.

While many are undoubtedly already familiar with the benefits LinkedIn can provide in finding and evaluating potential employment opportunities, it’s also a useful tool to see who else might be interested in the job. LinkedIn offers a great opportunity for job seekers to easily identify potential competition, evaluate what the competition has to offer, and position their own skills and capabilities relative to their competitors.

This is exactly the same process that marketers in any industry would follow, and it works just as well when trying to sell yourself to an employer as it does when trying to sell a product or service to a customer. The questions are basically the same:

  • Who’s my target audience? In this case, recruiters, HR professionals and hiring managers
  • Who is my competition? In this case, potentially, other professionals with the same background or credentials
  • How have my competitors positioned themselves? You can glean this information from their LinkedIn profiles.
  • What gaps might there be in the market that I could fill? For example, suppose you’re interested in a position as a technology sales rep. You note that others with profiles within the geographic area you presume the company may be recruiting from, with a sales background, have less hands-on, practical technology experience than you do. That’s a gap and a way you can set yourself apart from your competitors.

So how do you conduct this market research? Simply conduct an advanced people search on LinkedIn. The keywords will focus on the specifics of your search:

  • the type of position you’re looking for
  • the industry
  • the geography

Again, the idea is to identify those who may be competing with you. You’ll then be able to see their profiles and evaluate them in terms of how they compare to you. You might even be able to pick up a few tips. For example, you’ll be able to see the groups your competition is a member of, which may also suggest groups you might want to consider joining. There’s a great deal of competitive intelligence readily available on LinkedIn.

The next time you’re in the market for a job, look beyond simply doing homework on your company or position of choice. Use LinkedIn strategically to learn about your competition.


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