Today’s blog post has been contributed by Breanne Cooley, the editor of my upcoming book “Windmill Networking: Understanding, Leveraging & Maximizing LinkedIn.”
“How’s the job search going?” “Network, network, network!” “Hang in there!”
Those are the words every frustrated job seeker hears over and over from their friends and family. In fact, those were the words I kept hearing for these past few months during my own job search in San Francisco. Though the support is, of course, much appreciated, I couldn’t help but think to myself:
“How the heck do I ‘network’ when everyone else is busy with their own lives, working their 9-5 jobs?”
I had become fed up with Monster.com, Craigslist, Hotjobs (you name it, I had a user account); I just couldn’t handle sending in one more cover letter and resume to the bottomless pit of 1,000 resumes that would never be viewed.
Luckily, I happened to be in the process of editing Neal Schaffer’s soon-to-be-released book, entitled The Windmill Networking Approach to Understanding, Leveraging & Maximizing LinkedIn – An Unofficial, Step-by-Step Guide to Creating & Implementing Your LinkedIn Brand – Social Networking in a Web 2.0 World. Being a member of Gen Y, I had heard that I should be on LinkedIn. I figured having a login, a password, and a few sentences about me were enough. Beyond that, I didn’t know how else to use the site.
Well ladies and gentleman, Neal Schaffer, the guy with over 16,000 LinkedIn connections, knows the site like the back of his hand!
As I began to read what Neal had to say about the term he coined, Windmill Networking, I realized I could use my LinkedIn profiles in ways I had never even considered. What seemed to be a window simply displaying my employment history suddenly morphed into one of the best job search and networking tools I had ever come across. In Neal’s book, he takes you on an in depth tour of LinkedIn. He understands the struggles many professionals—professionals of all ages and walks of life—are facing during these tough economic times. He has chosen to share his knowledge of LinkedIn to “pay it forward”, as you will read in his book.
As soon as I came across “Chapter 9: Jobs and Companies”, my job search took on a whole new approach. Using all of the tips Neal mentions in this chapter—in combination with the philosophy of Windmill Networking he explains in the rest of the book—I simply took his advice regarding how I could use LinkedIn to market myself to top companies. Neal’s insightful and friendly coaching led me to take the following steps to leverage LinkedIn as a Windmill Networking tool:
- Reconsidered my LinkedIn Group strategy
- Reached out proactively to my network by Windmill Networking
- Began to look beyond the surface of people’s profiles to find common interests
- Started to include the URL of my LinkedIn profile as a permanent part of my email signature
- Stepped outside of my social networking comfort zone and stuck my neck out!
Now, let’s be honest—people tend to exaggerate success stories for dramatic effect. From someone who understands the trials and tribulations of the dreaded job search, I kid you not when I say this: 4 days later I had what seemed to be the most promising interview of my entire professional career.
So how does the story end? Well, I am now finishing up the first week of my dream job as a Web Content Editor. Never have I felt so connected to a position and to a company in my entire life. I highly recommend picking up his book when it comes out on Amazon.com (tentatively scheduled for late August publication). It may be the missing link between you and your dream job—it was for me!
Breanne Cooley is an accomplished Editor, Copywriter and Marketing Consultant who has worked in a wide variety of industries throughout the United States and Europe. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in English and American Literature & Language from Harvard University. Breanne currently works as a Web Content Editor for QuinStreet in Foster City, CA. Connect with Breanne at http://www.linkedin.com/in/brecooley