In 2014 I am vowing to predominately use LinkedIn as my main recruiting tool. Over the last few years I have been using it more often, and getting better results. LinkedIn is a powerful tool for a recruiter and I think it is the best social media site for your professional life.
When people seek my advice for how to maximize their job search, one of the first things I recommend is that they have a good profile on LinkedIn. Then I encourage them to connect with their colleagues. The next step is to connect up with professionals they have interacted with in the past, say that friendly wine industry recruiter they've run into in the past (and to make it that much easier, here's that link right here: www.linkedin.com/in/winetalent/ )
So if my resolution is to use LinkedIn first, how can I find the best people and connect with them quickly. We recruiters are good at searching for people, and LinkedIn has great search capabilities. When I find someone on the site that looks promising, my first instinct is to ask them to connect on LinkedIn. Of course I have to have some sort of connection to this person or LinkedIn won't let me send the invitation. LinkedIn asks if I have worked with this person previously, have done business with them or am friends with them. When I am contacting this person for the first time, those qualifiers don't apply. But there is one avenue that frequently has top notch people who I can quickly connect with, and that is through LinkedIn GROUPS.
LinkedIn Groups is a feature that allows fellow members in the same industry or with mutual interests to share content, post and look at jobs, make contacts and network within the group. Some of the groups are private and you can only join with the approval of the host while other groups are open to all.
When you are building your profile it is easy to put a lot of effort into your career profile. Yes, make sure you have your education and important accomplishments. But don't stop there. Join some groups. Groups on LinkedIn can be company specific--if you've worked for Diageo or ABInBev or a host of other companies they have groups you can be involved with. Give your alma mater a little love and join that group. Are you active with a business group such as CANVAS or ASEV? Link up to the group. Some popular groups of my connections are Wine & Spirits, Wine Business Network and Wine & Spirits Job Opportunities.
When I am conducting a search, I will often limit my search to people within certain groups. I have found that fellow group members are easy to communicate with and responsive. While they may not be interested in the project I am recruiting on, they often turn me onto someone else they know who may be a good prospect. Being engaged within the group also can lead you to new information and professional contacts.
The jobs section of the various LinkedIn groups has been a bit hit and miss for me. Some groups allow job posting while others have more stringent rules. I do like being involved with the various groups, and I wouldn't want to tread on the toes of the members by broadcasting content they don't want. Maybe my next resolution will be to maximize the job posting abilities within groups. Maybe.
So, wine industry professional, go out there and be a groupie. By being a groupie in the right group you might just get a call about a great job I am working on!