Ignoring Your LinkedIn Connections May Be Costing You Your Dream Job

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  • Talking with former staff at a company can be very useful if you’re looking for a new role.
  • Former staff can offer simple and useful insights into a company’s values and culture.

LinkedIn is one of the widely used platforms for finding jobs and offering its users access to the hidden job market. 

If you’re job hunting and finding yourself spending many an hour scrolling through Linkedin in search of a new role,  you may feel as though there’s nothing new you can learn about the platform’s functions. However, there’s a way to maximize your use of the network that many have overlooked — reaching out to former employees of the companies you’re applying to.

While it may not always be comfortable speaking to former employees of a hiring company, it’s certainly worth the effort.

It allows you to seek out those who may have worked in the position you’re applying to and to find out what the firm may be looking for in a candidate. 

It may also allow you to then highlight any relevant skills on your CV. 

Another advantage, according to Redditor, Silver Book, is that former staff can “explain the advantages and disadvantages of working at that company that aren’t detailed in the job offer.” 

This step can be particularly helpful if you’ve made progress in job interviews and you’ve already received an offer (or if you suspect one is on its way). 

While it’s important to find work, rushing into a job could land you in a position that you didn’t want or that makes you unhappy. In other words, it’s best to check first and to be safe than sorry.

Finally, contacting former employees can open up a whole plethora of opportunities in the “hidden” job market. 

Indeed, which specializes in the job market, suggests you should be proactive in reaching out to potential employers asking for a job.

That way, you can create a job offer yourself. Current employees will likely reveal very little to you as they may see you as a potential threat, but former employees will be much more likely to readily tell you about the challenges you’ll face in a  company. If you think your skills can help solve these challenges, then go ahead and knock on the door yourself instead of waiting for the company to post a job opening.

Finding former employees

To find former employees on LinkedIn, just follow the steps below.

  1. Press Enter after selecting LinkedIn’s search bar to access its advanced version.
  2. Click on People.
  3. Select the All filters option
  4. In the side menu that just opened, look for the Company section above.
  5. Click on Add a company and type in the company you are interested in.

How to contact former employees

If you have LinkedIn Premium you can send long messages to people even if they’re not a connection.

If you have a basic account, you can add a short message to the connection request.

The Reddit thread above suggests you’re extra nice and polite to former employees as they are the ones who have the upper hand in choosing whether or not they want to help you. A good formula, recommended by Redditor Jesus_will_return is: “Hi, “X name,” I see you’ve worked at “X company” for “X number” years. I’m currently interviewing for a position in “Department Y.” Could you tell me about your experience at the company? Would you recommend working there?”

If the person gives you a long reply or invites you to have a longer conversation, you can then ask more specific questions about the company. However, it’s important not to press further if the other person doesn’t reply or appears unwilling to go into further detail.

Fears, reflections, and favors

If you’re embarrassed or worried about “cold messaging” strangers, bear in mind that you’re on a job-focused social network and you’re not asking for anything out of the ordinary. and that, if they 

Also, keep in mind that you shouldn’t be afraid to dig deep to learn about a company. If a company doesn’t want to hire you because you’ve done your homework on LinkedIn, then it should possibly be added to the list of places that aren’t worth applying to.

And finally, remember to return the favor. You can do it directly — if a former employee takes the time to help you, keep them in mind if you find future opportunities where they might fit in. 

Or you can do it indirectly — if you receive similar messages in the near future, don’t dismiss them right away; remember you were once in a similar situation.



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