Thursday, February 12, 2009

How to Use LinkedIn Company Profiles For Job Hunt, Networking

C.G. Lynch of CIO magazine was researching an article on using Linkedin Company Profiles in job search. I've highlighted my comments in bold:

As the recession turns workers of all industries into job seekers, many users of LinkedIn, the social network for professionals, have begun examining the service's free company profiles to see who recently joined (or left) organizations, prepare for interviews and learn about what skills particular employers value in prospective candidates.

Since LinkedIn Company Profiles launched nearly a year ago, more than 160,000 companies have established a profile page. If you're job hunting in today's struggling economy, LinkedIn company profiles can help you learn about companies on your short list in greater depth, according to career experts who have analyzed the service. Another bonus: a careful examination of LinkedIn contacts who have recently joined (or worked at) a company can help you determine if the organization would be a good fit, as you compare your own qualifications against the candidates hired.

After using the service and talking with experts, we've constructed a quick primer on LinkedIn company profiles and how you can start utilizing this resource right away for job hunting or networking.

How to Access LinkedIn Company Profiles

1. Log into your LinkedIn account.

2. Click on the "Companies" tab, located on the top (center) of your LinkedIn homepage, just to the right of the popular "Answers" tab.

3. Once the companies page loads, type in a company name (such as "GE" or "Microsoft") into the search bar. In the search results, beside the company you want, you might see a number inside a parenthesis, such as (41), which would indicate that 41 jobs are available at that company.

4. Once you're on the company page, look over to the right column for a "jobs" section to see if any positions are available.

Interested in a company? Learn who you are connected to there.

One of the most helpful features of the LinkedIn company pages: they list your LinkedIn contacts (known on the service as "Connections") who work at a particular company. This list will include your first degree connections (your immediate contacts on LinkedIn), as well as second degree (friends of friends) and third-degree (friends of friends of friends) connections.

"It really can help you network your way in," says Jason Alba, CEO of, a career management firm, and author of the book I'm On LinkedIn — Now What?. "Even if someone is just two connections away, it puts that information right at your finger tips, and you can act on it by connecting with them directly and asking questions about the company."

Look at the comings, goings, movers and shakers

A company website wouldn't exactly want to broadcast the names of everyone who just joined or left the organization. But luckily for LinkedIn company profiles, users will keep you informed.

"The real value of LinkedIn is that it's a self-updating database," says Phil Rosenberg, president of reCareered (a career consultancy). "You can see who is coming in, and it might help you figure out what the company is looking for [in candidates]." As Rosenberg notes, a LinkedIn company profile displays a list of new hires at the company (and links to those new hires' public profiles). This information is purely user-driven, as (presumably) employees who take a job at a company will update their profile information to reflect that change. That user profile information will communicate that information to LinkedIn company profiles. "By looking at their background, it can give you some hints and clues as to potentially what the company's new strategies are," Rosenberg says. "It also shows how the company is trying to deal with its specific business problems." LinkedIn also shows changes and promotions that have occurred at the company internally. This could be something as trivial as a minor title change, but culd also be serious promotions or moves between departments. The past employees section doesn't provide a ready-made timeline for when employees left the company. In order to piece that information together, you have to click on users' profiles and see what information exists on their public profiles. There's an upside to this feature, however: many of the people listed in the "past employees" section could be in your connections (1st, 2nd or 3rd). "You can use that information to understand lots of things," Rosenberg says. "You can reach out to them to help you understand what the culture is, or maybe who you will be interviewing with if you score an interview. It's an excellent way to learn behind-the-scenes personality issues, so you can make a good impression."

Go to school on your company of choice

LinkedIn company profiles have another convenient feature: key company statistics gathered by Standard and Poor's Capital IQ. Down the right side of the company profile, look for a list of vital data such as revenue, headquarters (and key geographic locations), approximate company size (in employees) and primary competitors. The latter category may spur new ideas for job opportunities as well.

This data component shows that LinkedIn has interest in making company profiles a competing product to services such as Hoover's, experts say. In fact, when you you consider the other social components (mentioned above) of LinkedIn company profiles, it might provide even greater user value than Hoover's.

"I think that LinkedIn companies could make Hoover's obsolete eventually," Alba says. "If you're a job seeker preparing for that interview, they're giving you a significant amount of information on LinkedIn that you now don't even need to search Google for."

Executives exploring Career Change: For a free 30 minute resume consultation, or career advice for executives, email your resume confidentially to reCareered (, and we'll schedule a time to talk.

Staff, Managers, Entrepreneurs, and career changers outside the US: Send your resume to to enroll in a free group teleseminar "Accelerate Your Job Search - tools you can use".

Sunday, February 1, 2009 Data Breach Threatens Job Search Sites' Effectiveness

I was interviewed by CIO magazine about a security breach at Monster, leaving candidate information vulnerable. I've also included additional comments I made abut this situation below. My quotes and comments are in bold:

Last Friday, disclosed that its database was hacked, and that members' names, usernames, passwords, e-mail addresses, phone numbers and demographic data were compromised in the data breach. The job search site, which boasts over 75 million accounts for job seekers, hasn't disclosed the number of users whose personal information was stolen.

This isn't the first time's database has suffered a break-in: The Maynard, Mass.-based online job board experienced a previous hack in August 2007, which impacted 46,000 job seekers and 1.3 million records, according to Computerworld.

This newest data breach comes days after re-launched with a new user interface and new career management tools for job seekers on January 12.

The breach raises the question of whether security breaches like those that have taken place at will make job seekers more gun-shy about sharing their work histories and contact information online, and whether their reluctance to share information will dilute the effectiveness of those sites.

Phil Rosenberg, a career coach, doesn't think the most recent data breach will change most job seekers' behavior on job search sites.

"If we weren't in a bad recession with a really tough job market, I think it might," he says. "At the end of the day, people want to eat and work."

The job seekers who may opt to remove information (such as phone numbers, personal e-mail addresses or mailing addresses) from their job search profiles are more likely to be the passive ones, says Rosenberg, because they have less skin in the job search game.

Employed executives looking for new jobs may also think twice about what they post on job search sites such as Execunet and The Ladders for fear that their employers might find out they're looking for something new through a breach, he says.

If passive job seekers, who are arguably more appealing than unemployed job seekers, begin to limit the employment and contact information they share on job search sites, and if hiring managers and recruiters can't reach them as easily as a result, the effectiveness of job boards may be reduced. user Chuck Rudisill, a VP of sales for outsourcing services provider NDS, says he's considering limiting the information he shares on the site.

Rudisill uses about three times per week to prospect sales leads: He uses it to see which companies are hiring technical talent and to see which technical skills are in demand. He also has a personal account which he says he checks maybe once a month.

Rudisill hadn't known about's data breach until contacted him for an interview, even though he had surfed the site on Monday—three days after posted a small security alert about the breach on its home page. Rudisill says he didn't see the alert because it's only on the home page. (He enters the site through a bookmarked page, not the home page.)

He also expressed surprise that didn't notify individual account users of the breach. noted on an FAQ page that it decided not to inform users individually of the breach because it didn't want to risk that "those e-mails would be used as a template for phishing e-mails targeting" its users.

Rudisill, who is on the Do Not Call List, is concerned that his phone number and e-mail address might get "into the wrong hands"—e.g. telemarketers or spammers. So far, he hasn't noticed any "unusual activity" activity on his cell phone or an uptick in spam since last Friday, but, he says, "I'm not sure how long that's going to last."

The sales exec planned to go back to his profile on to see what information he had in his account. He said he might remove his phone number and e-mail address from his profile and that he'd be looking to for information and recommendations on what to do and how to minimize his exposure. (For information on how to protect your identity in a job search, see the CIO Job Search blog.)Blogger: reCareered - Create Post

"Am I concerned about the downside of not having my contact information on the site, and people not being able to reach out to me, or [am I concerned about] the loss of privacy," he asked himself rhetorically. "That's something I'll have to decide over the next few weeks."

Countless other job seekers will no doubt be asking themselves the same question.
And my comment to the article:

Monster's security breach creates a dilemma for career changers. Should you give personal info so employers can contact you, even if it subjects you to spam and telemarketing?

As annoying as spam and telemarketing calls are, finding work is usually worth the annoyance.

When recruiters and company HR reps search for talent, they can easily find lots of resumes that meet their specific needs...even more during tough times, like today. Given two equally skilled candidates, which candidate do you think a recruiter will call first...a candidate who makes their information available and easy to access, or one who makes contact more difficult?

A recruiter's job and a HR rep's job is to find candidates who meet minimum qualifications as fast as possible. They are positions that are managed to be efficient above all else.

The candidate who makes contact easy and transparent wins....every time.

Are you willing to deal with some annoying spam and some telemarketing calls to increase your chances in a more competitive job market?

Phil Rosenberg
President, reCareered


Executives exploring Career Change: For a free 30 minute resume consultation, or career advice for executives, email your resume confidentially to reCareered (, and we'll schedule a time to talk.

Staff, Managers, Entrepreneurs, and career changers outside the US: Send your resume to to enroll in a free group teleseminar "Accelerate Your Job Search - tools you can use".