LinkedIn: Your Career’s Best Friend

Good morning and welcome to my WordPress blog. So far this month (September) I have not posted much content and for that I apologize. I will be reposting the six blog pieces I wrote (in a business format) for my previous employer that cover topics relating to my field of work and how I view my chosen profession. The blog posts have my quirky flavor of course but I try to remain on topic and support my views with my considerable years of experience.

As I have noted in my blog, on Facebook, on Twitter and on both of my podcasts, I have held three separate jobs this calendar year of 2017. The first change was for the promise of a better financial opportunity and work/life flexibility that did not fully come to fruition. The second change was more about revisiting a past opportunity missed and trying to put myself in a better place mentally in order to earn my living and support my family.

As I sit here today, mid-September, I reflect back on some of the things that have transpired. Beginning in late January I started receiving a steady stream of profile views and contact requests on LinkedIn. This activity was resulting from my efforts over the previous six months. Over those six months, I had sent many manual emails to headhunters and other people in my network of former co-workers and previous managers as I tried to transition from my tenuous position at Elsevier. In the contact emails I sent to these individuals, I had a short blurb about looking for a new opportunity and in my email signature I included a link to my LinkedIn profile.

Why was I trying to leave a job that I had held for nearly six years? Well in early 2014 the company swept the majority of the collections team out to sea by outsourcing the department functions to Manila as a cost-cutting move. On the Oracle team, only I and my boss survived the ‘cuts’. Over the course of the following twenty-four months, I heard whispers that the remaining workload would be shifted to Manila or consolidated some other way, making the St Louis staff obsolete. Feeling like the sand in the hourglass was nearly gone; I connected with a previous contact from Sara Lee and found a new employer. After a few months at the new employer, the honeymoon period was over. But the team was fun, the pay was adequate and the workload was steady so I finished out 2016 with the new company. As a mini-epilogue here, my suspicions were confirmed when I found out that Elsevier hired a former associate of mine to back-fill the position I vacated…only to eliminate that position months later.

Once the calendar flipped over to 2017, I was diligent in keeping my primary (business) social media presence updated: I was not actively pursuing an alternate employer but mostly I wanted to update my profile from my Elsevier tenure to the new employer. This minor tweak of my profile led to inquiries from numerous recruiters/employers and requests for me to interview for open positions. Most of these requests and offers I diverted to other people in my network who I knew were actively trying to find employment opportunities. One very persuasive recruiter through LinkedIn found me in late January; she sold me on her employment opening and the vast opportunity that could be. From there I signed on the non-dotted line and moved on. Unfortunately I had to leave my fun team at Laird for the prospect of greener pastures. During the first few months at the new place I was still getting 1-2 inquiries per week for similar positions. As before, I re-routed those opportunities to my network of people. Now the calendar got to be late June, right around my birthday time and things with the new company turned very sour. At the urging of the Human Resources director, I tried to work through the difficulties but the situation lingered and eventually deteriorated further over the following weeks. Luckily, I had been building my LinkedIn profile and adding content (see my reposts of the blog content I provided for the new employer’s blog page) so the next steps were fairly painless. In late July, I decided that I would try to stay below the radar with my employer and try to find a ‘better’ situation. Following the same formula as I had over the last year or so, I updated my resume and kept refreshing my LinkedIn profile. Just as before, the potential employer activity and inquires started to increase. Within three weeks I had seven or eight interviews (some were phone interviews). By the end of that three week period, I had an opportunity to re-interview for a position that I was actually offered and accepted back in Q4 of 2014. The position offer was never officially extended due to contract and staffing issues for this company. Now this same company was across the table from me and at the end of the interview, the interviewer offered me the position on the spot (pending required background check).

Obviously this winding and backtracking journey was made possible by my own due diligence. It proves that not everything is accomplished overnight but by understanding what had worked previously and doing a little something each day towards my goal, things could work out. At the nexus of my employment search was LinkedIn. It is a fantastic tool and it’s free. To all my friends, colleagues and countrymen (or countrywomen) I implore each of you to leverage the LinkedIn website. It’s like Facebook for potential employers. Yes it has some bells and whistles and yes the task may seem daunting but trust me it’s worth it. Just update a little every day. Do a section. Post something that makes you sound intelligent or profound (or post a quote from someone smart or profound). Know what you ultimately are striving for and in your profile be sure to use keywords that will get you noticed. If you are good at MS Excel spreadsheets, note that. If you can operate a model PL-1340 Metal Lathe – mention it! This is your ad space for yourself, a potential employer is waiting to be sold on you as an asset and your key words may tip them in your direction.

OK so that was my endorsement of the job networking site LinkedIn. It works, give it a try.

Have a great Monday.



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