LinkedIn Tip: How to Use "Signal" to Job Hunt

LinkedIn's feed of member status updates and Twitter updates deliver big potential benefits for job seekers. Here's how you can use the tool to land a job others may not know about.

Last September, LinkedIn announced Signal, a new product that streams updates and news from your contacts. Similar to Facebook's News Feed and Twitter streams, many use the feature, LinkedIn says, as a method to keep up to date on what their connections are doing and what they're reading online.

One lesser-known utilization of LinkedIn Signal, however, is for job hunting. Signal's comprehensive filters—in addition to a few other features—make it surprisingly easy to find job postings in the city, industry and even company that you want.

Here are step-by-step instructions on how to use this LinkedIn product to narrow your job search, as well as some tips for achieving success.

How to Use LinkedIn Signal to Job Hunt

There are three ways you can find Signal. Select it under "News" from the main toolbar, type www.linkedin.com/signal into your browser or click the magnifying glass next to "Search Updates" found between your status update box and your network updates.

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The page displayed will feature aggregated posts and updates from your LinkedIn connections, as well as their Twitter feeds, if they've linked their accounts. Because Signal pulls in information from Twitter as well as LinkedIn updates, your job hunt will likely return a more comprehensive list of results, and will likely include leads on open positions that you may not find on traditional job boards.

[Want more LinkedIn tips, tricks and analysis? Check out CIO.com's LinkedIn Bible.]

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Notice the first filter on the left side of the page: "Network." The options below will either expand or narrow your search based on whether you want to include items from only your direct connections ("1st Connections"), your connections' connections ("2nd Connections") or everyone on LinkedIn ("3rd + Everyone).

For job search purposes, it's recommended that you include your second connections in your query.

In the search box located on the left side with the filters, type in a query, such as "IT" and "job," and hit enter. In my network of first and second connections, there are over 40,000 posts mentioning "IT" and "job." Note that these are not job posts, rather status updates that include those two words.

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Next, use the filters to home in on the specifics of a job. Under each of the filters, paired with a check-box, are the most-common results in your search query. You can select one or more of these if appropriate, or use the search field under each of them to narrow results to something more specific.

While there are many filters you can choose from—and even more if you have a paid LinkedIn account—there are a few you should focus on:

Time: LinkedIn Signal aggregates posts as far back as two weeks, so many job leads will likely still be fresh. For the latest job leads, filter results by "Last Day."

Industry: One of the easiest ways to cut back on the number of results returned is by selecting the industry in which you want to work. If you're open to working in any industry, select two or more. (In my query, selecting only "Information Technology and Services" cuts results from 40,000 to 3,000).

Location: If you are unwilling to relocate for a new job, select or search for a region closest to where you live.

Using Signal to Job Hunt: The Next Steps

Because LinkedIn Signal culls updates from Twitter and LinkedIn, it can be an excellent way to obtain a lead on a job that may not have been posted yet on traditional job boards. Once you've found one or several positions that interest you, there are a few unique features to LinkedIn that you can utilize.

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Find a common connection. To determine who you know at this company, visit the LinkedIn profile of the person who posted the job. Scroll down about half way and on the right side you'll see a box that details how you're connected.

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If he's a first connection, and depending on how well you know the person, you may send him a message to ask for more information about the position or to let him know you're interested in applying.

If the person who posted the job is a second connection, consider asking for an introduction via the connection you have in common. To do this, scroll to the top of the person's LinkedIn profile and click "Get introduced through a connection." You'll need to fill out a form that includes a message to the connection you have in common as well as a short note to your prospective contact.

[Want more LinkedIn tips, tricks and analysis? Check out CIO.com's LinkedIn Bible.]

How to save your searches. One advantage to using LinkedIn Signal to job hunt is a feature that lets you save searches, complete with the filter's you've already applied.

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At the top of your search results, click "Save this search." Assign a name to it, then click "Save." This search will now appear on the left side, directly under the Signal search box.

This feature is especially useful when you're actively seeking a job with specific qualifications, whether it's a particular location, industry or a job at a specific company. Saving a search will let you revisit new items that pop up in a stream daily, without having to apply the same filters over and over again.

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Kristin Burnham covers consumer technology, social networking and Web 2.0 for CIO.com. Follow Kristin on Twitter @kmburnham. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline and on Facebook. Email Kristin at kburnham@cio.com

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