I recently ran the InMaps facility on LinkedIn to see what my network looks like. Not surprisingly, the big blue section is comprised of people associated with job seekers (coaches, recruiters and job seekers). I really started building my LinkedIn connections when I became active in Southlake Focus, a networking group for job seeking professionals. These people tend to have many more LinkedIn contacts and to be more interconnected than the general population. Southlake Focus attendees tend to connect with other Southlake Focus attendees. With no fewer than 200 people in attendance each week, and as many as 400, the group is fairly large. Therefore, a large, dense blue bubble.
The other major section, the red area on the right, are the people associated with FireWire. I was the industry marketing person for FireWire for 15 years. Those are the people I tended to network with prior to Southlake Focus.
The scattered green section at the bottom are social media contacts, many I met through Southlake Focus but most of them are scattered across multiple companies in the DFW area and some are thought leaders from all over. Makes sense that the group would not be as dense.
And finally, the violet cluster at the top right are my contacts from the 14 years I worked a Texas Instruments. I left TI in June of 2001. LinkedIn was not launched until May of 2003. My TI contacts are not very numerous nor densely connected.
You can see where you have put most of your LinkedIn effort by studying the InMap graphic.
As an entrepreneur, I am using LinkedIn to make contacts which do not fall into any of these categories. That can be a challenge. I first learned how to overcome this challenge as a job seeker. I was a bit shocked to learn that Kimberly-Clark would not consider me for an international marketing job despite my 17 years of global marketing and business development experience. I had one honest recruiter tell me that I was not in the running because I lacked “CPG” experience. That stands for “Consumer Packaged Goods”. In layman’s terms, that is all the stuff you see on store shelves. I sold semiconductors, not Klennex. I had zero experience in anything that interested them.
I had to learn to find the “back doors” into companies like Kimberly-Clark through LinkedIn. I have gone on to maximize this knowledge as an entrepreneur. What I have learned should interest job seekers who are trying to leave an industry that is in decline. You are going to have a hard time making that jump. You are going to need to find a buddy inside. There is no silver bullet. You are going to have to work, but a few minutes each day will pay off.
We will cover this over the next few posts.
Good Luck and Godspeed.
Business Development Director