Four job search basics: LinkedIn, targeting employers and support systems


I got an email yesterday from a Minnesota man who wrote: “I followed all of your advice but I have not gotten any job interviews. Do you have any other suggestions?”

I took a quick look at his LinkedIn profile and found that he hasn’t followed all of the advice I gave him.

He hasn’t followed any of it, as a matter of fact.

And yet he wants more ideas from me.

So, here’s my advice to him and anyone struggling to find a job: to get hired in this economy, you must execute the basics in your job search.

Here are four of them. How many are you doing?

Upload a picture to your LinkedIn profile

These days, having a profile on is as essential as an email address on your resume was 5 years ago. It proves that you’re up-to-date on technology. It’s free. And there’s no excuse for not getting it done.

But you have to do it right. For your profile to be considered complete, you must upload a picture of yourself.

Employers and recruiters expect to see a professional photo on your LinkedIn profile. Fail to include one and you have failed to execute the basics, which makes you less employable.

Get LinkedIn recommendations

A recommendation is simply a testimonial on your LinkedIn profile, written by someone who knows your work. And it’s another basic that too many people neglect.

I recently counseled a technical manager who couldn’t get one person to recommend him on LinkedIn after six months of trying. Either he wasn’t really trying or had never done anything worth recommending. Either way, it’s no surprise that he’s still unemployed.

EggTip: The best way to get recommendations is to give them, because LinkedIn prompts anyone you recommend to give one to you in return. Plan on giving at least three recommendations for every one you seek.

Pick one target job or 3 specific skills

The vast majority of job seekers I talk to have no clear idea what they want to do. This is a tragedy. Because, as Yogi Berra once said,

“If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll probably end up somewhere else.” If you don’t know the job you seek, or at least the 3 skills you want to use on the job, how can you expect to find work quickly? You don’t know where you’re going.

I think most people resist saying “yes” to one target job because it forces them to say “no” to all others. And people want to keep their options open. But this is a trap.

The job market is like a supermarket. You can go into it hungry, without a list, but you’ll likely waste time and money, only to emerge with something you don’t really want.

Prepare ahead of time. Know the job you want and the 10-20 employers you want to work for.

Create a support system

Job hunting is hard enough in a strong economy. Why go it alone now?

Try to find one person you can talk to at least once a week, to brainstorm ideas with.

Even better, find two or more people and form a job-search support group. Meet weekly for coffee in a pleasant location to share what’s working and what’s not.

This has all sorts of benefits:

  • By creating a “board of directors” for your search, you can tap the power of other people’s brains and networks to solve your problems.
  • By helping other people, you’ll forget your own troubles, exercise your intellect, and feel better.
  • By leaving the house to meet others, you’ll change your environment and avoid falling into a rut, like not shaving for three days straight.
  • By having to explain your progress each week, you’ll hold yourself accountable and be motivated to get things done.

There’s a reason why every single Fortune 500 company has a board of directors: it produces results. So, put this idea to work in your job search.

So, these are the basics of an effective job search today.

Heard some of these before? Don’t think, “I know that.” Ask yourself: “How well am I doing that?”

Then get going. And get hired.

Kevin Donlin is Creator of Since 1996, he has provided job-search help to more than 20,000 people. Author of 3 books, Kevin has been interviewed by The New York Times, Fox News, CBS Radio and others. His latest product, The Simple Job Search System, is available at

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by, a leading site for [American] college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.