Career & Job Advice from Joyce Lain Kennedy

A positive attitude goes a long way in getting hired

LinkedIn is your extended professional network on steroids. Take non-techie me, for example.

Hundreds of people in my professional network are recorded on paper products. But, with LinkedIn's shot of digital growth hormone, those hundreds of contacts climb to tens of thousands. It's a multiplying process.

Each of my LinkedIn network connections potentially builds a bridge for me to their network connections, and then their connections do the same -- like the ripples that form after a pebble is tossed into water.

Powerful? Yes.

LinkedIn says it now counts a worldwide membership of about 38 million -- half of whom are in the United States -- and that one new member signs up for the site every second.

This online professional network has always been a place to exchange professional presentations, not a gathering spot where friends show themselves kicking back or living large on vacation.

You can make the same important job search moves on LinkedIn that you can do with your address book, but faster and with more dramatic flair. You can reach out to infinitely more people who can hire you or tell you about unpublished open positions that relatively few competitors discover. (By contrast, job boards tell you about published open positions that zillions of competitors discover.)

LinkedIn's upgraded version allows you to move freely about the site and costs about $25 per month. But its entry-level membership is free and provides a good opportunity to validate your willingness to use social networking for job search.

Just make sure your profile is filled out and that you're connected to at least 25 people on the site.

Here's a starter tune-up on ways to get creative on LinkedIn and find opportunities in the hidden job market.


Although a number of recruiters have left the business in this difficult economy, more than a half-million headhunters -- both external and internal recruiters -- are LinkedIn members.

Snag their attention with the following tips.

Flesh out your online profile to include detailed summaries of your work experience, competencies and skills.

Be sure to quantify, or at least explain, the value you added to each employer.

Example: "Grew customer base by 90 percent, generated more than $2 million in revenue, led sales team of 12."

Include in your profile the industry-specific terminology (keywords) for which recruiters may be searching

Example: Don't merely describe yourself as a banker, but include specific terms such as money manager, private banker, financial advisor or investment expert.

Join LinkedIn groups associated with your career function

Members of these groups can help you network and identify open positions.

LinkedIn members are encouraged to ask questions, including those related to company research, industry trends and building new professional relationships

Answer questions that you're able to answer as a way of demonstrating your expertise. Appreciative comments by LinkedIn members boost your status since you can earn a reputation for providing "best answers" in different categories.

Use LinkedIn applications such as SlideShare and Google presentations to add another dimension to your profile through a visual representation of your work portfolio or career accomplishments.


What can you do when a company of interest doesn't list an open job? Review these sleuthing suggestions:

Do a search for your dream employers' LinkedIn company profiles to beef up your familiarity with target firms. When the "New Hires" section on the company's page shows activity, assume the company is hiring.

Check out the "Popular Profiles" section on company profile pages for names to contact; these profiles often belong to the company's human resources personnel.

Review information on a company profile showing the career path for employees. Employee histories of where they formerly worked provide names of other target employers in areas of your interest.


If you're like me, you'll need to spend a few hours eyeballing LinkedIn to navigate its nooks and crannies. Consider it time well spent. Perhaps you hadn't thought about it, but this is the first deep recession where you have a tool like LinkedIn, allowing you to put your professional network on steroids.