Once you’ve determined which companies you’re targeting for your job search, you’ll need to research each one for various information:
- Services and/or products
- Market and customers
- Company leaders
- Hiring managers
- Industry trends
- Recent history of successes and failures
- Job openings
You’ll need this information for your own due diligence (is this a healthy company that’s going to be a mutual good fit?), and to identify each companies’ current challenges that you’re uniquely qualified to help them overcome.
Among the myriad of places to conduct your research (Hoovers, Glassdoor, job boards, company websites, etc.), don’t overlook the LinkedIn Company pages. Chances are, your target companies will be there.
An important resource for company research, you’ll also find on these pages a good number of the employees working at your target companies.
Along with researching employees’ LinkedIn profiles for information about the companies, you should be expanding your job search network to include some of these employees.
They are the people who can potentially get you in the door.
Look for employees – at any professional level – that you already know. Send them an invitation to connect. Hopefully, they will accept.
Also look for employees who are one or two professional levels above you. They may be hiring decision makers. These are exactly the people you want to connect with because they have some authority. Whether or not you know them, find a reason that will compel them to want to connect with you.
If you know any of these employees already, inviting them to connect will be easy, and they’ll be likely to accept.
But most of these people will probably be strangers. What’s the best way to reach out to them?
Your invitations to them should gently stress the value you offer them and their company, thereby giving your invitation some clout. More in my post, How to Connect on LinkedIn with People You Don’t Know . . . and Get Action.
And why will they even want to connect with you, and potentially help you reach your career goals?
One reason is that many companies offer employees at all levels monetary incentives when they’ve recommended candidates who are hired. So it’s in their best interest to pass your name and resume along to hiring decision makers.
Hiring decision makers that receive a recommendation for you feel they already know you. This positions you as a “known commodity”, above the sea of job hunters who are unknown to them.