musings on life

Here, you'll learn about my journey of adulting in the Windy City.

Cheese Please!

I never imagined LinkedIn would end up being my favorite social media platform. There once was a time when I would visit Facebook at least six times a day. Now,'the book' has been replaced by the professional networking site, LinkedIn.

Not sure if the site has become more bearable to look at since the recent make over, or if the reality of me graduating in about six months is starting to sit in, but I need a job. Badly. And I'm looking and applying every. single. day. What can I offer up? A diverse resume and a prayer.

Sometimes when I'm filling out an application for a major PR firm, I have to ask myself, "is this even going anywhere?" Lots of folks are obtaining jobs these days simply because they know the right people--not necessarily because they're the most qualified. Yea, it's unfortunate but it's also real and extremely upsetting. I could miss out on a career-changing opportunity, not because I'm not qualified, but because I don't know the right person. *Deep Sigh* The harsh realities of being a professional.

So everyday I look for a job. I decided back in September that the winter quarter would be my last time doing an unpaid internship. I simply can't live this life anymore. I can't allow myself to be a sucker. It's time to get paid! But how do I make this desire a reality?

Most recruiters and employers have quit traditional methods of searching for a perfect candidate. No longer do they spend all their time going through job portals (that's why I'm staunchly against sites like careerbuilder and monster), but they also search for interesting candidates on social media sites, blogs, and professional networking sites. That's why it's important to make sure your social media profiles are either private or rated G.

LinkedIn is one great way of letting recruiters know about your talents, testimonials, profession, friends, business networks and much more. LinkedIn has over 35 million members in over 200 countries and territories around the world. A new member joins LinkedIn approximately every second, and about half of LinkedIn members are outside the U.S. Executives from all Fortune 500 companies are LinkedIn members and have listed their entire profile including roles, responsibilities, previous experiences, education and their business network details. I've used the site not only to find job opportunities, but to also look up folks I may be interviewing with. Below are a few tips I think are key for anyone searching for a job. If you have anymore tips, please pass them along! Or if you know anyone hiring...

1. Edit Opportunity Preferences: Edit your profile and change your contact settings > Opportunity Preferences. Select Job Inquiries and any other opportunities you prefer.

2. Get Recommendations: More recommendations in your profile means that your profile gets a higher the trust and reliability. Send a request for recommendation to your co-workers, clients or immediate managers. If you are in a management position, it is great to get a feedback on your leadership qualities. Make a practice also to recommend others whom you think deserve. This is another way to get a feedback from them.

3. Find where the Opportunity Is: Search for people in similar job profiles and find out where they work. Search on Google about those companies and find out if there are openings. Not gonna lie, I found my most recent internship through a simple Google search--and the one before that on Twitter.

5. Find out how your colleague got that nice offer: Use nosiness for good! Not many colleagues share all that they know or all that they do to get a job. Search with their names on LinkedIn and find out their background. Where they are employed now, what are their roles and responsibilities and more importantly what are their skill sets.

6. Contact  HR: Did you finally trace out the company which is still hiring? Great! Now, find out who among your network is working there. How are they linked to you? Are they a first degree contact or second or third? Get in touch with them through your friend or a person in your network and pass on your resume. Usually, a resume from a co-worker is paid more attention. Now, I've done this before and unfortunately, it was not a successful attempt. But maybe things will work in your favor.

7. What does your professional headline say about you? Professional does not equate boring. Does your professional headline say exactly what you do—the real essence—or does it say “Manager at ABC Ltd.”? You have 120 characters, so be creative.

8. Leverage the Power of LinkedIn Groups: So how do you network with that executive you have in your sights?  Let’s say her name is...Nahla. First, find out what groups she has joined on LinkedIn and join one of those groups. Add value to her world by starting a discussion on a topic she would be interested in contributing to if possible. What better way to show your knowledge in a given area and raise your profile at the same time? Try to contribute in some way to any discussions that she might be taking part in. In doing this, you are simply putting yourself on her radar, letting her know you exist. Yes, be thirsty but don't be a desperate nag. No one likes that.