Let’s say you discovered that Panera was hiring an HR manager and you wanted the gig. You know you're qualified, but you also know they’ve had about 500 applications submitted for the position. You have to come up with a way to stand out. The best answer is to have someone inside the organization recommend you to the hiring decision maker. But, let’s say you know someone who works for Panera. Here is an example of how you can use Linkedin to let your network work for you.

Go to Linkedin’s Company Search and search Panera Bread. As you can see here, it pulls up a company profile which includes all of their employees on Linkedin.

As you browse through each employee, Linkedin will show you how many “shared connections” you have with that employee. If you click on "shared connections," you’ll find out who those connections are. Now, it’s time to get on the phone. Call your connection that knows the Panera employee, ask them how they know the person and whether or not they would be willing to give you are referral and put you in contact with them.This is just one of many ways that you can use Social Technology to leverage your network. What are some ways that you are using Social Technology for your career?
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  • Excellent advice! Job seekers can also use other social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and (yes, it can still be relevant even if you're not a teenager or musician) MySpace.

    Most social networking sites have an advanced search feature where you can search for people by company name. From there you can contact the people you know in common and also connect with them directly.

    Twitter is a particularly useful tool in this area - many otherwise hard-to-contact people will reply to a private direct message (if they also follow you) or a public message - just use the "@" sign before their user name then send a brief message.

    If you're serious about a particular opportunity, it can be useful to connect with people in multiple ways - on FohBoh, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo, and others. Each time the person sees you connecting with them, it's another opportunity for them to view your profile and learn more about you, and a way to stand out without pestering them.

    On that note, it is also crucial to manage your social media profiles - make sure that you don't have photos depicting you in compromising or embarrassing situations or that would reflect badly on you as a prospective employee. Once you're hired, your profiles are also a reflection on the company you work for, so many companies simply won't hire people who would make them look bad. A general rule of thumb is, if you wouldn't want your mother to see it or if you wouldn't want it on the first page of the Wall Street Journal, don't post it on your profile. More and more companies (as many as 80% by some statistics) are doing background checks on prospective employees, and that includes the "poor man's background check" of simply searching for the person's name on Google and seeing what comes up.

    This goes for managing your status updates, too. If you're talking about hating your job, your boss, or "can't wait for the work week to be over," that also makes you look less professional and therefore less "hire-able".

    To take it a step further, you should also actively manage your "friends" on these sites as well. I automatically follow people who follow me on Twitter (to make it easier to manage without spending a ton of time) but I also regularly block people that I don't want to follow me. If you are posting links to photos rated "R" or worse, or pushing your adult sites, I will remove you from my followers and block you from following me again.

    I also use the free service Google Alerts to automatically receive emails whenever Google finds a site anywhere on the web that mentions my name, book title, website and other key words. That way I have a better idea about what's being said about me online and can take proactive steps to manage my online presence.

    To your success,

    David B. Wright
    Author, Get A Job! Your Guide to Making Successful Career Moves
    The Job Search Strategist blog,
  • @tcampos that's the spirit!
    @Ty Awesome!
    @John thank you
    @keith great news! and great job!
  • Excellent, Amanda.
    What's helped me, was I got "complimented" on a Linkedin post I wrote and also on a FohBoh post, so I got in to see some people.
    Waiting on a couple of others, but the connecting and network does work.

    What's interesting was it was something I wasn't totally expecting, and I asked for an appointment on one and got it (appt).
  • Excellent idea Amanda and co. Looking forward to seeing more.
  • Good rundown on how to make those connections work. I, for one, am terrible at figuring out the networking aspects of Linked In and this REALLY opened my eyes. Yes, even more so than a strong cup of coffee.
    Thanks Amanda!
  • Hi Amanda! Great post! Everyone in the community will surely appreciate the information that you shared here, since almost everyone is into social technology nowadays.

    As for me, I'm thinking of using social technology to establish and develop connections (suppliers, owners, managers) that I may need in the future. This way, I would already have a "shared connection" even before I need it.

    Members, what are your thoughts on this?
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