Many companies use LinkedIn to recruit employees. One reason many use it is because it is a keyword dense database with thousands of people. It is easy to look up employment history, skill sets, and connections. Many companies also use your LinkedIn connections for reference checking.
If you take a few minutes to do a search of your own you will find a lot of connections from your current and past employers, customers, vendors. You can also find contacts from your volunteering organizations and schools. Every contact you make on LinkedIn has the potential to expand your career or help you get that next job. These contacts are also a good source for references.
Get out there and ask people you know to write references on your LinkedIn profile. You want references from co-workers, clients, vendors and direct reports. If you can get recommendations from your supervisor or the company president even better. Potential employers like to see references from people you have worked with, good references can carry a lot of weight. If you do not know someone, don’t ask them for a reference and never ask family for a reference, they are automatically biased. It is also nice if you reciprocate and write references for them.
Use the job search feature on LinkedIn. They have thousands of job listings which you can search using keywords, title, company, and location. The main advantage to using the LinkedIn job search is that it will tell you if you have any connections associated with that company. If you have a connection then you have an edge which you can use. Have that person write a recommendation and deliver a copy of your application directly to the hiring manager. Don’t bypass the standard application process, as some companies have strict hiring procedures they need to follow, but having your acquaintance stop in and briefly mention how great you would be for the job is a step in the right direction.
Take a few minutes to update your status to let your contacts know how your job search is going. You can also send personal messages to a few of them to ask if they know of any job openings. LinkedIn is a valuable tool that can be used to expand your horizons.