COVID-19 has changed the job search landscape.  Unless you are in cyber-security, health, IT infrastructure, distressed investing or corporate turnarounds, you should think seriously about your future. Rely upon the government to save your job? Maybe, but I would not hang my hat on it if I need to feed my mortgage and pay my family (things are upside down!).

I lived through the Great Recession of 07-09; hell, I even helped cause it (I was in the mortgage market).  I do penance every day for my role in part by giving free advice here.

The fallout in 07-09 was inconceivable and ended my career on Wall Street and my supersized ego (some would disagree).  Even though it appears our government will step up with historical support, “Risk Aversion” has entered the picture.  The “not knowing what you don’t know” creates a regression to inertia: delaying decisions, less investment, take the safe road.  If you are a career changer, this is a tough time for you since employers will fall back on the easy hire.  However, you can get around that.

Therefore, I offer part 1 of a 5 part series discussing what you can do today, at home, in your sweats, to advance your career.

Part I: Increase your LinkedIn First Connections

Duh?  Not really.  You don’t want to increase your 1st connections for the sake of it.  You want to increase your 1st connections to get 2nd connections.  1st connections are your direct contacts.  If Bob and I are directly connected on LinkedIn (1st connection), then all of Bob’s 1st connections become my 2nd.  I have almost 15,000 1st connections on LinkedIn.  If you invite me and I accept (and I will), you have now picked up 15,000 2nd connections. If you don’t think one of my 15,000 1st connections can help you land that job or knows someone that can, you simply don’t get “it”.

So why are 2nd connections so important? They are contacts that, by using best practices, can get you a strategic conversation or an informational interview. Strategic conversations give you the opportunity to speak with a professional to lean what you don’t know.  Get the real scoop. Informational interviews give you the chance to find out if the company could use your skill set.  Regardless of strategic or informational (very different conversations), you can get answers to questions such as:

  • Do I have the skillset for that Director position?
  • Will Wall Street accept me coming from telecommunications?
  • What can I expect for compensation?
  • What is happening to ABC company and XYZ industry during/post COVID?
  • Could anyone in your company use my skillset?
  • Am I too old for this industry?
  • What skills gaps do I have, and how do I close them?

Let’s use numbers.  When I invite 100 professionals to connect with me on LinkedIn, using “certain” wording in the invitation note, I will receive at least 20+ acceptances. When I go back to ask for a conversation for me or for my client using “certain” wording, I will get 4-6 conversations.  If you then handle the conversation well (using “certain” wording), you can find a wealth of information. By asking for a referral at the end of the conversations, 4-6 becomes 8-12.  Ask those 8-12 for referrals and you get 16-24.  You can do the math. Eventually, you can connect with the word.  I mean in a good way.

However, don’t invite more than 50 professionals per day or have more than 400 outstanding invitations since the LinkedIn police can suspend you temporarily.

In Parts II-V over the next 4 weeks, I will discuss other tips you can employ including increasing your social media presence, filling in skill gaps through courses, and other key topics.

Stay in your sweats, but get on LinkedIn!


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