9 Lives for Women Blog

A Simple Formula for Networking on Linkedin | March 26th, 2013

Tired of hearing about networking? Wish you could just push a button and get a job? That would be nice, but the reality is that you can never get enough networking tips. It’s the way you actually will find a job.

Linkedin is your online networking vehicle–and any job seeker who does not have a robust profile is lost at sea. Put the time in to make sure that you have a strong headline that will propel you to the top of recruiter searches, a compelling summary that tells your career story and highlights your skills and strengths, and a detailed timeline of your experience that shows how well your career progressed.

Stop thinking you will find a job from online job boards or the recruiting firm down the street. As Evelyn Rusli reported in the Wall Street Journal on February 7th, Linkedin is siphoning dollars from recruiters at a rapid clip. Except for very senior-level or specialized jobs, most companies are no longer willing to pay recruiters placement fees. Instead, recruiters are buying Linkedin’s premium subscription accounts, ads and recruitment services–and the sales of Linkedin’s “talent solutions” business rose a whopping 90%.

Reluctant networkers often say that they have run out of networking contacts–a situation that is virtually impossible on Linkedin. There are 202 million users–and an additional two people join every second. When you use Linkedin thoroughly and strategically, you can find a way to connect to at least one influential person at any company on your job search target list.

That’s amazing, but I know the size of Linkedin can be perceived as both a blessing and a curse. Millions of potential contacts, but who should you invite to connect?  The answer to that question is very well articulated in an article I read by Dr. Marla Gottschalk, an industrial/organizational psychologist and workplace strategist. In this article she advises networkers to use the “70-20-10” rule, which I briefly summarize here:

  1. THE FIRST 70%. Choose potential contacts who work within your direct core area or have a similar role. Then choose a few contacts within organizations that are slightly different than yours in terms of customers, size or possibly geographical location.
  2. THE RELATED 20%. Target contacts working in areas related to or “adjacent” to your core area. Look for individuals who would support roles similar to yours, or in roles that would intersect or collaborate with yours.
  3. THE OUTRAGEOUS OUTLIERS (THE FINAL 10%). Reach out to those engaged in work that simply interests you. Through these connections you might be able to “cross-pollinate” and apply their expertise in some way to your work life or your job search.

This is a great system, and I encourage you to read Marla’s full article to get more color on how to make it work. The bottom line is that networking through Linkedin does work–it leads to actual jobs. Just recently I heard about a very senior executive who got a $2,000 an hour consulting job and a recent college grad who got job #2 and almost tripled his salary–both from being visible and active on Linkedin. —KAS

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