I was laid off on January 16th of this year from my position as an instructional designer for an e-learning company. One of the first people I contacted was a recruiter I had worked with in the past. In my discussion with her, she suggested I set up a LinkedIn profile, and attempt to obtain (and give) at least three recommendations. Prior to this, I didn't know anything about LinkedIn (although I had received a few invitations to join... which I promptly ignored) and thought that social networking was something for the teeny bopper crowd.
After being laid off I spent the first week or so researching everything I could about LinkedIn, including reading web pages and blogs, watching instructional videos, and attending webinars that focused on using Linkedin as a job-hunting tool. After this crash course, I enthusiastically went to work on strengthening both my personal brand and my profile. I concentrated on building a strong network that was both centered in my industry and included several recruiters. I also made sure to add a few very carefully selected open networkers from my local area. Before I knew it, my first-level connections numbered more than 25... then 50... then 100! I continued to learn as I went and soon became fairly skilled at the ins (no pun intended) and outs of LinkedIn.
Fast forward to the end of January -- I originally applied to my current position January 30th. I assume my resume then sat in a pile (or most likely an e-mail inbox) for two months. In the beginning of March, a young lady that I trained as a new-hire several years ago invited me to join her network. I had managed to impress her enough with my facilitation skills back then; and she still thought highly of my abilities. She read my profile, saw that I was looking for work, and was nice enough to contact a girlfriend of hers who is a trainer (and now a teammate of mine at my new company). Her friend then referred me to her manager. and encouraged the manager to review my resume. I was contacted for a phone interview.
Fast forward again to the end of March –- the next step in the interview process was a panel interview that consisted of the entire training team. As it turned out, one of the trainers on the panel used to work with one of my LinkedIn contacts (in fact, he was one of the people that provided a LinkedIn recommendation for me). She saw his name on my profile, called him, and asked about me. He also was nice enough to provide a glowing recommendation. (I found all this out after I was hired.)
So if not for LinkedIn, I probably would not have received the opportunity to interview for my current position. The initial recommendation resulted in my resume being pulled from the pile of other resumes and the follow-up recommendation served to confirm the decision to hire me - and all within a period in which the US job market is said to be in the big white porcelain bowl!
In my situation, it was really a case of social marketing and who you know or more precisely, "who you know in common." LinkedIn not only served as a tool that allowed these relationships to be easily seen but also facilitated the opportunities, conversations, and actions that eventually led to my return to the working world.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
If you're wondering how LinkedIn is useful to job seekers, check out this success story by Robert Goldasich.