Finding a Sales job is never easy. Whether you do all the hard work, sign up for every job site or take the easier approach and keep your LinkedIn account handy for your search.
What is LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is a social networking site for professionals in the business world. It allows people to interact with other professionals in their industry and maintain a profile that contains career-oriented information. Other job databases and networking sites can be expensive or hard to navigate. LinkedIn is free for most and very specific to the business world. This is the place to toot your own horn about your skills, abilities, and career goals.
Why it is so valuable?
As of October 15, 2009, LinkedIn hit a new milestone with over 50 million professionals now a part of this ever-growing database (as reported by the CEO of the company). This large number should get your attention. 80% of employers and recruiters use this database to prospect for new candidates because it is perhaps the easiest and most cost-effective tool employers and recruiters have ever had available to them. There is a strong chance that your next employer, recruiter, client, or business partner is already on LinkedIn. So all you have to do is leverage LinkedIn to begin that relationship.
How does it work?
LinkedIn provides a profile format that the job seeker completes. The profile details past employment, interests, specialty skills and experiences and allows you to include a profile photo. [Tip: Be sure to use a professional (business-appropriate) headshot photo for this, although it doesn't have to taken by a professional photographer.] Your profile can provide an employer or recruiter with a wealth of information before they ever speak to you. You can even reach out to those you have worked with in the past to get a recommendation about the quality of your work that will be displayed on your profile. These testimonials reinforce the details that are listed as well as help build trust about your work ethic-making them one of the most powerful aspects of your LinkedIn profile. One of the most valuable features of LinkedIn is its ability to show these recommendations, which allows hiring managers and human resources as well as recruiters to see if a potential employee is worth hiring. [Tip: You get to choose what recommendations you show on your profile. If the ones you have aren't strong enough or persuasive enough about you as a great employee, don't use them.]
What can it do for me?
LinkedIn is not just a networking site-it's a resource center. Once you have your profile set up you can start checking out the different areas of LinkedIn and learn how you might use them in your job search.
You can use the "Companies" section (top of the page) to find companies in your particular industry, along with an enormous amount of information about them-such as current employees, former employees, market size, location, website address, media age, jobs they have posted on LinkedIn, and stock information. Remember-candidates who get the job offer usually have done more research into the company and the job than other candidates. [Tip: Some candidates contact former employees of a company they are interviewing with to get an "insider" perspective as to what it was like to work there-that's pretty strong research, right?]