I was recently having a conversation with a friend of mine who is looking for a job and we were talking about what the point of LinkedIn really is.
I had one. He didn’t.
I’ve put a fair amount of time into setting up my resume on LinkedIn and some effort into providing recommendations for others in the hopes that they’d provide one for me.
I think my LinkedIn profile is pretty good.
I’ll be the first to admit though, I don’t think it’s actually all that useful.
LinkedIn regularly offers me jobs that have nothing to do with theater. Or they are technically in a theater but not a stage management job.
LinkedIn often thinks I want Production Manager jobs as in – work for this factory overseeing production. LinkedIn doesn’t really understand theatre jobs at all.
But I still told my friend he should probably make one. Why?
Because here’s the number one way that I use LinkedIn.
Let’s use my unending obsession with working for Cirque du Soleil someday for example.
When I finally managed an interview over there, I pulled up the name of the lady who would be interviewing me on LinkedIn.
Now, a different friend of mine thinks you should log out and be sneaky when you’re doing background research on people, but in this case, I think the exact opposite. I want her to know I’m researching her and Cirque right before she interviews me and I have no problem with my head showing up as “Mel and 4 others viewed your profile.” As a matter of fact, she might click over and take another look at my resume before interviewing me because of that and my LinkedIn resume has pictures, videos and a more detailed description of my job duties too.
The number two way I use LinkedIn?
And actually, this is the one that often has more success.
I was interviewing for a job this spring and pulled up the guy interviewing me. It turned out we had a few connections in common.
I reached out to the connections to make sure I’d like working with him. It turned out one of my connections was actually a pretty good friend of his – the type to jokingly send him a text message about how his potential stage manager is checking up on him and FYI, she’s great and you should hire her.
Totally got the job. Would not have had a clue that this former light tech I worked with knew the producer at this theater if not for LinkedIn.
This works in a couple of ways – sometimes the connection you reach out to does what that one did and reaches out on your behalf even though you didn’t ask them to. Sometimes you get a crazy rant about how awful the company is and that you should run for the hills (thank you!!). Once in a blue moon, I’ve gotten a “oh, you’re looking for a job? I also know company X, Y and Z are hiring and I can put in a good word with them.”
All of those outcomes make LinkedIn feel totally worth it.
Additionally, reaching out with a:
Long time, no see! How’s it going? I saw you used to work with Jim Smith and I just applied to work for their company? Did you like it there? Hope everything’s been going well!
Is still a way of networking. You just want a little info, no big deal, and it reestablishes a connection that’s likely been lying dormant for a long time. I know I never mind when someone does something similar and I’m happy to chat and catch up for a few minutes about how their life is going in general.