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What You and the 18,000 Ex- Hostess Employees Should Know About Linkedin

Most often the stuff I publish online is about online advertising. Advertising on Linkedin is something that I am very familiar with, but today I am going to talk about Linkedin in another light.

Linkedin is a very valuable tool. It is like a virtual swiss army knife for anyone trying to survive in this economy. I think about the 18,000 people that lost their jobs when Hostess closed its doors now looking for jobs. Hopefully they read this and learn about this incredible, multi-tool that they have at their disposal.

In college I applied twice to get a job at the same company. Both times I did not get the job. I’m a little embarrassed to say that. I never even got a chance to interview. I always asked myself why I couldn’t get a job at a place where they frequently hung a sign that said, “now hiring.” Years later, after getting my degree and some experience, I had a chance to speak with the head of recruiting of that same company. I asked him what could have been the reason that I didn’t get the job. His response, “who was the employee that referred you?” No one referred me. I gave him a blank stare and he said,

“We always put the resumes that don’t have a referral from an employee of ours at the bottom of the stack. Usually we find people to hire that already know someone at the company and we never even look at the rest of the applicants.”

It’s all about who you know, isn’t it? I was mad at myself. I actually knew a few people that worked there and didn’t even bother to let them know I was applying.

Now that I have had the chance to interview at least 100 applicants, I have learned just how valuable it is to interview people that know someone you know. People can learn and say all the right things on their resume and woo you into thinking they are the best fit for the job, but their acquaintances give the real story. In an interview, you see someone for 15 minutes. Their acquaintance has seen them interact with other people and do different things for months, if not years.
“I trust what others tell me about someone more than I trust what they tell me about themselves in an interview.”

So I think I have made my point that getting a job is a lot easier when you are connected to people that know you and can vouch for you.

Now let’s get to the point of how many ways Linkedin can be used like a virtual Swiss army knife when going on a job hunt:

Online resume

  • Make sure that your Linkedin page is just as polished up as your resume.
  • Be sure that it doesn’t have any “holes.” Give your entire career history.
  • Be honest. Avoid the temptation of embellishing, or changing your title.
  • Put up a professional picture of yourself. It used to be that you didn’t include your picture on your resume. I think that is still the case, but on Linkedin, it is a must, so make sure your profile picture shows you dressed to impress.

Messaging platform

  • You can email within Linkedin to all of your connections. Message people that work at places where you might be interested in working. Message people you are connected with that are in the industry or position you want to be in and ask them for advice.
  • Rule of thumb: be personal and real in your messages.
  • Don’t talk to a complete stranger like you have known them forever. It will creep them out, just like it would if you walked up to them in the grocery store and did the same thing. Introduce yourself. Explain why you are reaching out to them and why you feel they should be interested.
  • Don’t send a message you are copying and pasting to everyone. Your lack of sincerity and will shine through. It is okay to copy and paste a message, but YOU MUST personalize it.
  • Treat the messaging platform like real life.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You will be surprise how willing people are to lend a hand. They have been in your shoes looking for work and they will empathize.

Groups

  • Join groups that interest you. If you are into the auto industry, join the groups where the auto people are.
  • You can’t just message anyone on Linkedin, without proving that you have some connection to them, but you can message and invite to connect with anyone that is in the same group as you.
  • Get involved. Don’t treat Linkedin like a place you go just when you are looking for work. When you have a job, participating in the groups shows your passion for the group topic.
  • Message me (on Linkedin of course) if you want to hear how I was able to connect with the head engineer of Ford when I was trying to license a product to them.

Group Discussions

  • This is where you can really show off what you know! Answer questions. Give advice.
  • Top contributors in groups show up on the right hand side of the page. The more your profile shows up on people’s screen the better, especially if it is because you have all the right answers to the questions being asked, and good insights to the discussions going on in the Group.
  • Don’t start a discussion asking for a job. This shows desperation.
  • Start a discussion asking people how to have success when interviewing for x-position. This shows that you are looking for inspiration.
  • Message me if you want to know how I picked up an extra $30,000 in revenue through a Linkedin discussion.

Connections

  • This is the main blade of the Swiss army knife.
  • Here’s who you should connect with:
  • Coworkers – past and present
  • Employers – past and present
  • Neighbors
  • Friends and professors from college
  • Church friends
  • Family friends
  • Other Linkedin members that are in your same group(s)
  • Conference speakers
  • Family – You have no idea the connections that Uncle Bob has
  • People you talk to about work – This could be at conferences, at meet-ups, associations, clubs, on Twitter, seat neighbor on the airplane, etc.
  • Twitter followers and Facebook friends
  • Just because someone is in a different industry than you, or because they are retired, or you don’t think they can help you get a job, still connect. Linkedin is all about connecting. Your friend that is a dentist, may have a brother that is hiring for the construction job that would be perfect for you.
  • Connect in person when possible with the people you connect with.
  • This takes the relationship to a new level.
  • NEVER send an invite to connect on Linkedin with just the default message of “I’d like to add you to my professional network on Linkedin.”
  • The least you can do is add their name to the top of the message.
  • I recommend that you explain how you found them on Linkedin and the reasons why you think it would be beneficial for both parties to connect on Linkedin.

Recommendations

  • If your peers are willing to say nice things about you, that says something.
  • If your boss, or cilents, say something nice about you, that says a lot!
  • If someone gives a specific example of how your expertise impressed them/helped them/made their life easier, that is GOLDEN.
  • Do you want recommendations? Give recommendations to other people that you know have nice things they can say about you. They will return the favor.
  • You can ask for recommendations. Be very cautious here, and only do this on rare occasions. Don’t ask someone who doesn’t know you, or the work you do very well, to give you a review.
  • Don’t worry. If someone gives you a negative review as a recommendation, or if a goofy friend says something stupid, you can simply keep those recommendations private so the whole world can’t see.

Endorsements

  • These are a great way to show other people that you believe in them and the work they do.
  • Your face shows up in their email saying that you endorsed them. They will think happy thoughts, and might call and thank you. If they do, you will get a chance to tell them what you are up to.
  • Give and get. If you give endorsements, you will most likely get endorsements.
  • The man with the most endorsements doesn’t win, but it helps. Endorsements are new, and a dime a dozen, but if I am choosing between two guys, and one has 3 endorsements, and the other has 50, it may sway my decision.

Rolodex

  • People used to keep cases of business cards. I keep all of the ones I get too. I couldn’t tell you where they are, but if I dug around I am sure I could find them. My point is, nowadays, you don’t need business cards, you need an email address where you can share a link to each other’s Linkedin page.
  • Linkedin helps you keep track of everyone you have been in contact with at some time in the past.
  • You can reach out to someone you haven’t talked to in years. They may not remember your name, but thank heavens for the profile pic! They are a lot less likely to forget your face.
Stuart Draper is the guy that founded Get Found First, a PPC management agency. Stu has been doing online marketing since 2007 and has taught Online Marketing as an adjunct professor at Brigham Young University- Idaho

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