By Arnie Fertig
In this article, we'll explore not only the Job Board aspect of LinkedIn, but also three other ways you can find position listings that are hidden in plain sight.
LinkedIn offers many ways to find job postings.
"Jobs," one of LinkedIn's top menu items, provides you multiple ways to access the multitude of ads that employers and recruiters pay LinkedIn to feature, as well as others that the site aggregates from throughout the internet.
Making things real simple, the site leads you through a process whereby you can create your own profile of what job you are seeking based on location, industry, and more. Of course, you can change your profile at will, but however it is set will determine what ads LinkedIn will feed you.
A more focused way of finding applicable positions is to click on "Advanced" to the right of the main search bar at the top of LinkedIn's homepage. Then, on the left menu you can select "Jobs" rather than "People", and filter jobs through Keywords, Company, Title, Location, Country, Company, Industry, and more. Various levels of paid LinkedIn membership will afford you the opportunity to utilize additional filters such as Years of Experience, Function, Company Size and more.
When conducting an advanced search it's a good idea to start with a fairly broad search with a limited number of parameters, and then add or narrow the parameters (i.e. 100 to 50 down to 10 miles from your Zip Code) until you get a reasonable number of positions you can fruitfully examine.
It is also advisable to avoid searching on Title, as the same role will have different titles at different companies. For example, a "software engineer" could in other places be a "computer programmer" or "website developer."
The center of your LinkedIn homepage is devoted to updates. Here, you'll not only see articles that the Pulse feature thinks you might be interested in, but more to the point of this article you'll see the status updates of your connections. Take time to scroll through these updates on a regular basis because LinkedIn has (unfortunately) discontinued the Signal feature that used to allow you to do a customized search of this feed.
Often you'll find recruiters, hiring managers, or HR staffers post something like "Looking to hire XXX" with a link to a description of the role to be filled.
You can join up to 100 LinkedIn Groups at any one time. There are groups based on everything imaginable: college alumni, location, skill set, job function, industry, hobbies, etc. Each LinkedIn group has its own menu structure including: Discussions, Promotions, Jobs, Members and Search. Be careful not to confuse the "Jobs" menu here with the "Jobs" menu discussed above.
The Jobs menu within each group opens to both job discussions and job listings that can only be posted by a member of the group. And, unlike the other jobs, these postings are free, providing an incentive to cash-strapped, cost-conscious recruiters and HR staffers to post here in hopes of casting a smaller net over a discrete but focused candidate pool.
Company pages abound on LinkedIn, and most often they are used for employer branding. That is to say, they create the best possible image of a given company as a desirable place to work. Typically there will be a listing of open jobs at the company, or a link to the company's employment portal on its website where all the open positions are listed. You can find information on companies in the main Interests menu at the top of LinkedIn, or you can do a search for companies.
Now that you've found a job opening, don't apply!
Of course, the easy thing to do is simply apply to multiple jobs in a short period of time by clicking "Apply" numerous times. Yet when you do, you take a wild leap into the uncharted resume black hole. And then you typically will have no way to assure that your resume will actually be read by a decision maker.
Instead, take more time with each great job prospect. Use LinkedIn's features to see who posted the job, and who you might know or be connected to that works in the company. Build those contacts into networking partners.
Most companies have some kind of employee referral bonus program, and it will be a "win-win" for you and your company contact if he/she brings your resume to the attention of the hiring manager or the HR staffer assigned to fill the position. You'll minimize the probability of your resume disappearing into the vapors, and maximize the likelihood that your credentials will be reviewed with care.
Job-Hunt's Social Media and Job Search Expert Arnie Fertig, MPA, works with clients throughout the U.S. who are dedicated to their own career advancement on the nuts and bolts of job hunting. He is the Head Coach at Jobhuntercoach.com, and contributes weekly to the USNews & World Report "On Careers" Blog. Connect with him on LinkedIn, Twitter: @jobhuntercoach, and Google+ or directly: Fertig [at] jobhuntercoach.com.