November 23, 2010
How jobseekers can use LinkedIn to find valuable company information
If you're not a heavy LinkedIn user, you might not be aware of the great details the site provides about companies that can help you in your job search. Say you're looking to target a list of employers, or you're researching companies within an industry, or you have an interview coming up. You can use LinkedIn's company feature to get valuable information you need.
To start, go to LinkedIn.com, and visit the Companies tab, where you have a choice to search for either companies or industries. If you have a company in mind, type in the name and hit search. If you have a more general idea of the type of company you might want to work for, click on "More options..." In this section you can narrow your search by location, industry, your network connections to the company, company size and the hiring status of the company.
As an example, I did a keyword search for Microsoft. In my search results, I can see that Microsoft has 3,179 jobs available. When I click on the company profile, I see an overview about the company. This section is usually written by the company itself and is a good section to scan first if you don't know much about the company. Right underneath, there are three tabs: Your Network, New Hires and Employees. I love the flow of this design based on the relationship strategies I teach regarding job searching.
Your Network: The fastest way to get hired at any company is through employee referrals. This section shows who you're already connected to at the company, and to whom you can get introduced via your network.
New Hires: You can use this section to find out who just got a job at this company. If you want to work here, but don't know how to get hired, ask these folks how they did it. Also look at their LinkedIn profiles (resumes) and see what skills or experience they possess for tips on how you might want to position yourself with this company.
Employees: This section is an online directory of all employees with a LinkedIn profile. You can use this information to research people with whom you want to network or set up informational interviews, or to find people you want to get to know and leverage as employee referrals.
On the right hand side, you'll notice how many followers the company has, how you're connected to the company, what news articles the company was mentioned in and other relevant information such as: company type, size, website, industry, year founded, address and current stock information (for publicly traded companies).
In our example above, I'm connected to Microsoft through 106 first-degree connections, and 17,224 second-degree connections. There are 89,190 profiles referencing Microsoft as their employer at the time of this writing. Right underneath the total employees on LinkedIn, there is a great feature called "Check out insightful statistics about Microsoft employees." Click on this section and you'll be amazed with the great intelligence you'll be equipped with during your search.
Jobseekers frequently say to me, "I don't know which companies I might like. How do I target specific companies?" One area I point them to is this employee statistics section. On the right hand side, you'll see an area that reads, "Before Microsoft employees worked at..." and "After Microsoft employees went to..." This information is invaluable for two primary reasons: It can give you ideas on similar companies to target. It will also tell you who you're indirectly networking with.
"Before Microsoft" employees primarily worked at IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Oracle and afterwards they joined Google, Amazon, Cisco Systems and Hewlett-Packard. If you want to increase your chances of finding connections at Microsoft, reach out to your network at any of these "before" and "after" companies, as well.
The other favorite feature I like is "People also viewed." From this section, you can get an idea of other companies people tend to visit after they look at Microsoft, in this case: Google, IBM, HP, Cisco and Apple.
The last feature I like to mention is New Titles and Departures. New Titles are a great avenue to learn about promotions and can be a great flattery tool. Meeting folks who recently departed from the company can help you learn the inside details about the company (culture, teams, managers, salaries, etc.)
My goal is to make sure you're empowered during your job search. I hope you use this information to research companies, target employers and feel more prepared in your next interview.
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
Paul Anderson helps professionals in transition find their desired employment.
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