Monday, September 12, 2011

Hunting LIONs

From my post a few days ago, I hope you can see that I am filtering a lot of my job search efforts through LinkedIn. It's a good way to tell how big a company is, how likely they are to value social media and most importantly if I know anyone there. But I get frustrated that mostly I only know people at the University of Pittsburgh.

I'm sure I've mentioned that I am working on expanding my LinkedIn network (f you read the blog, please connect with me!). Finding old classmates, old professors and old coworkers actually isn't that many people. I'm still surprised by how many people aren't on LinkedIn. If you are thinking about looking for a job, you should be on it, and if you know anyone looking for a job, you should be too. If you only ever use it to set up a profile, it makes a great place to showcase professional accomplishments. But if you can find relevant people to connect with- or more likely, help people you know across your network connect with eachother, then it can be very powerful.

In my job hunt these days, I am often trying to find LinkedIn to see who is in charge of hiring at these smaller biotechs. This can be really hard, given the small scope of my network. I read somewhere that a reasonable network size of 150 will greatly increase your chances of being connected to companies you want to target. I'm not just in this for the numbers, but it does help to know that, uh... my network is objectively small.

A couple things about networking on LinkedIn. I am a member of the OpenLink community, which means that anyone in any of the groups I am in is welcome to connect with me. Remember when I joined 25 groups with thousands of members each? Yeah, that was why. It helps, often recruiters are OpenLink because they also want to expand their network quickly, so this makes it easy to connect with relevant folks.

And then there is this whole other class of citizen- the LinkedIn Open Networkers, or LIONs. They often put this in their headline, and it means that if you request a connection, they will connect with you. These people have thousands of connections, so having a couple biotech LIONs in your network should vastly expand the people and profiles you have in your own network. Yes, I am totally taking advantage of that. I have a very low probability of further connecting with most of these people, but I assume these people don't send birthday cards out for each of their 10,000 network connections either. But having just a couple of these people in my network makes me visible to all those other people as well, so I think it is worth finding a few biotech LIONs.

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