If you've been in the hunt for a job in the past five years, then you've likely heard how important networking is to landing your next position. That's because getting your foot in the door usually means having an "in" at the company. Studies show that 89 percent of career builders actively networked while seeking a new role. When it comes to finding a job, I tell my clients, "Your network is your net worth." Today, LinkedIn made changes to their platform making that statement even more accurate.
Alumni + connections = more chances to get noticed.
When you check out job descriptions on LinkedIn, they now have the added benefit of showing you:
A) any alumni from your school who work there.
B) any connections from your network who work there.
Why is this valuable? With a click of your mouse, you can review the profiles of these individuals and reach out to them to learn more about the company. If done right, you can even inquire if they can provide some guidance on the best way to stand out when you apply.
Why should you bother?
Even if you don't know the person that well (i.e., didn't know them in school, or have fallen out of touch with the old connection, etc.), it's still worth reaching out. Why? Companies know their single best resource for recruiting talent is referrals via their employees. As a result, many companies offer incentives in the form of referral fees to existing employees who pass along names of qualified candidates. Thus, you could help this person earn some extra cash should you get hired.
Premium LinkedIn members get bigger bonus.
LinkedIn also announced today their premium members will have access to additional insights that nonpaying members won't see. For example, when premium members open their homepage, they will see recommended jobs for which LinkedIn's data signals they'd rank among the top 50 percent of applicants, based on the role and the experience and skills listed on their profile.
In summary, now boasting over 433 million users, LinkedIn has given us all more reasons to find and connect with professionals in our industry, skill set, and alumni circles.