As the recession turns workers of all industries into job seekers, many users of LinkedIn, the social network for professionals, have begun examining the service's free company profiles to see who recently joined (or left) organizations, prepare for interviews and learn about what skills particular employers value in prospective candidates.
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Since LinkedIn Company Profiles launched nearly a year ago, more than 160,000 companies have established a profile page. If you're job hunting in today's struggling economy, LinkedIn company profiles can help you learn about companies on your short list in greater depth, according to career experts who have analyzed the service. Another bonus: a careful examination of LinkedIn contacts who have recently joined (or worked at) a company can help you determine if the organization would be a good fit, as you compare your own qualifications against the candidates hired.
After using the service and talking with experts, we've constructed a quick primer on LinkedIn company profiles and how you can start utilizing this resource right away for job hunting or networking.
How to Access LinkedIn Company Profiles
3. Once the companies page loads, type in a company name (such as "GE" or "Microsoft") into the search bar. In the search results, beside the company you want, you might see a number inside a parenthesis, such as (41), which would indicate that 41 jobs are available at that company.
4. Once you're on the company page, look over to the right column for a "jobs" section to see if any positions are available.
Interested in a company? Learn who you are connected to there.
One of the most helpful features of the LinkedIn company pages: they list your LinkedIn contacts (known on the service as "Connections") who work at a particular company. This list will include your first degree connections (your immediate contacts on LinkedIn), as well as second degree (friends of friends) and third-degree (friends of friends of friends) connections.
"It really can help you network your way in," says Jason Alba, CEO of Jibberjobber.com, a career management firm, and author of the book I'm On LinkedIn — Now What?. "Even if someone is just two connections away, it puts that information right at your finger tips, and you can act on it by connecting with them directly and asking questions about the company."
Look at the comings, goings, movers and shakers
A company website wouldn't exactly want to broadcast the names of everyone who just joined or left the organization. But luckily for LinkedIn company profiles, users will keep you informed.
"The real value of LinkedIn is that it's a self-updating database," says Phil Rosenberg, president of reCareered (a career consultancy). "You can see who is coming in, and it might help you figure out what the company is looking for [in candidates]."
As Rosenberg notes, a LinkedIn company profile displays a list of new hires at the company (and links to those new hires' public profiles). This information is purely user-driven, as (presumably) employees who take a job at a company will update their profile information to reflect that change. That user profile information will communicate that information to LinkedIn company profiles.
"By looking at their background, it can give you some hints and clues as to potentially what the company's new strategies are," Rosenberg says. "It also shows how the company is trying to deal with its specific business problems."