In our previous article, we talked about 4 Unconventional Ways to Score That Next Job: Networking, using the right keywords in your resume, maintaining positive relationships with at least one manager from two recent jobs, and Linkedin.

In this article, we’ll dive deep into how you can really strengthen your position in the arena through LinkedIn, and learn about jobs before you even join the company.


1. Join LinkedIn

It’s as simple as creating a free account on Remember it’s a networking, communications and information-sharing tool, not just another online resume.

Too many users don’t get the most out of it; they simply fill out a profile and stop there. They don’t even add a photo of themselves! Don’t just stop at listing your education and work history—go a little deeper and add details about your skills and the benefits you’ll bring to a future employer. Your ‘friends’ (aka Connections) on LinkedIn can ‘Endorse’ you for those skills.

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I don’t recommend signing up for a Premium account straightaway. I’ll explain why later in this article.


2. Search for people and associates you already know.

“Link to as many friends and business associates as you possibly can, in preparation for that day when it comes time to job-hunt,” writes Richard Bolles, bestselling author of What Colour Is Your Parachute?. “At that time when you find a place you’d like to work at, you perform a search through all of your links.”[1]

LinkedIn’s single search bar lets you find everything from careers to people and companies.

One way to start is to identify the field you want to explore, and the job title you wish to hold. You can also narrow the search to companies (and jobs) in your area.


3. Find companies in the field you want to join.

For instance, if I wanted to enter the bioengineering field and work in (for example) artificial limbs before graduation, I would look up the various manufacturers of those products.

At this stage, ignore whether the company is recruiting or not; in most cases, vacant positions are filled by referred contacts before they ever get posted. Many of the first names you’ll think of are large companies that are very difficult to enter, so don’t hesitate to find smaller players who are more likely to take a chance on job-seekers.

“If there’s a specific company where you’d love to work, follow them through their Company page,” suggests Alison Doyle, writing at finance site The Balance. “You can keep informed of new developments and later use those details in a cover letter.”[2]


4. Find people who hold (or once held) the job title you’re looking for.

These are the best-placed people to tell you what the field is really like, not what the company puts out in those slick publications.

LinkedIn isn’t the only (or sometimes even the best) place to find them. Conventions or roadshows work as well. In either case, building your network and standing out as a potential great hire is key.


5. Google them to find direct contacts.

On LinkedIn, you can find “People who work at” the company you’re interested in: DBS, for example.

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LinkedIn allows you to send any other user an email (called ‘InMail’), but the ability to initiate an email with someone outside your immediate network needs to be unlocked by paying hundreds of dollars for a premium account.

When you know who you’re looking for, you can proceed to search if the person has a published email address online, Google should be able to turn it up; otherwise, your industry contacts might be able to put you in touch.

Don’t just find an email address and call it a day. Thoroughly research that person’s work and employer to see if they’ll be a good fit, and craft intelligent questions to ask. (That is, questions that can’t be answered with a Google search for yourself.)


6. Set up an informational interview.

This new relationship you’ll be starting is the culmination of all your hard work. J D Roth of Get Rich Slowly explains, “By meeting with somebody experienced in the field you’re considering, you can find out more about what the work is really like, about how much it pays, and about the drawbacks.”[3] In other words, you’ll be learning if your potential new employer will be just as excited to have you on the team, and the referral you’ll need to make sure the hiring manager sees your resume.

It’s important not to confuse the informational interview with the job interview itself—in fact, to set one up, you don’t even need the organization to be recruiting in the first place. This isn’t the place to ask for a job either, so don’t—your role is to ask the questions and listen to the answers.

Done right, the conversations you’ll have during the informational interview will save you weeks, months or years chasing the wrong career, or working at the wrong company.

In the final part of this series, I’ll go deeper into how you can set up meaningful, engaging informational interviews that will get you friends, mentors and connections for life—without wasting their time, and regardless of whether you end up working for them or not. Stay tuned!

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[1] Richard N Bolles, “What to Beware of, in Searching for Job Vacancies,” Job Hunter’s Bible, at

[2] Alison Doyle, “How to Use LinkedIn to Job Search,” The Balance, 6 August 2016, at

[1] J D Roth, “What’s an Informational Interview and Why Aren’t You Doing It?” I Will Teach You to Be Rich, 20 March 2008, at