Connect on LinkedIn
LinkedIn should always be your starting point, no matter what part of the job search you’re wrapped up in. But it goes far beyond simply having a LinkedIn profile that impresses employers checking social media. LinkedIn offers the perfect platform for reaching out and connecting with the gatekeepers who hold the key to thousands of job opportunities. You can search by company, title, or any number of factors to find the professionals who can help you land an interview or even a job. Once you locate these gatekeepers, it’s perfectly fine to reach out to them. While it may not be considered appropriate to send a friend request to a stranger on Facebook, LinkedIn is the ideal medium for connecting with professionals who work at your target company without ever meeting them in person.
How do I know? I’ve done it and been successful in landing the job because of this effort. Ask for the connection first, but make sure you’re up front in your intentions. Leave a note with your connection request that states you’d like to talk to the person about working at their company. If possible, reference work they’ve done that’s impressed you. A little flattery — and some online research — goes a long way, and you’ll be more likely to get your foot in the door if you offer up a compliment or two. Once you’ve made the connection, ask questions about the job and about the company. Don’t send your resume until you’re asked, but do feel free to dig into whether the job and the company are the right fit for you. Keep moving the conversation forward until you land that first interview. After that, your job search goes offline and into the real world.