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<p>Get Linkedin:</p> <p>Strategy Guide for Accounting &amp; Finance Professionals</p> <p>Jonathan Milligan Executive Recruiter Player Financial Resources www.jonathanmilligan.com</p> <p> 2009 CPA Career Coach http://www.CPACareerCoach.com</p> <p>Table of Contents</p> <p>Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Build an Online Network Why You Should Consider LinkedIn Linkedin Step #1: Optimize Your Profile! Linkedin Step #2: Grow Your Network Fast Linkedin Step #3: Value Your MICs (Most Important Connectors) Linkedin Step #4: Develop a Game Plan Linkedin Step #5: Track Your Progress Conclusion</p> <p>page 4 page 13 page 17 page 18 page 26 page 28 page 30 page 31</p> <p> 2009 CPA Career Coach http://www.CPACareerCoach.com</p> <p>If you haven't looked for a job lately, you might have a rude awakening. Job search is not like it used to be. I have had the fortunate opportunity of being an Executive Recruiter for accounting &amp; finance professionals for the last seven years. Even in that time frame things have changed a great deal. When I started in the recruiting profession, looking for jobs in the local newspaper even for mid to high-level positions was a common practice. Today, it has almost become extinct. Now more than ever you need to know how to leverage the internet in your favor. Most people do not have a plan when it comes to a job search. They do things at random hoping that random activity will get them closer to a job. So, they go to Monster, Careerbuilder, HotJobs everyday and look and see if there is anything new. If nothing is new, they think, "Well, must not be any jobs out there." When in reality, there is a hidden job market outside the big job boards. For example, I would say that on average 3040% of the positions our firm works on is exclusive. Meaning, the company was not actively advertising and they were using other methods to conduct the search. Not only that, but there is a hidden job market on the social networking sites. Of course, recruiters are using social networking to find solid matches, but employers are using it too. Here is an example taken right from the LinkedIn blog:</p> <p> 2009 CPA Career Coach http://www.CPACareerCoach.com</p> <p>Amanda Sundt I found my new job through participating in an industry group on the professional networking site LinkedIn. The CEO saw my resume and sent me a note as I mentioned before saying he had heads up about the layoffs at my former employer and wondered if I was interested in the open position at his firm. Once Amanda found her new job she recounts her aha moment, how it made her a believer in professional networking and the importance of building your network before you need it. I will continue to be active on LinkedIn, and will accept and extend invitations to networking lunches and other events because I have realized that you cannot turn your network on and off depending on your job status. At the end of day, we all really work for one employerourselves. So it is essential to make time to maintain and grow your network to prepare for whatever may lie ahead. At the end of the day, I realize that I had to pursue all channels available to me to find my next opportunity. And after this experience, I am determined that I will continue to invest time and effort in growing my network and assisting those who need help finding their next opportunity.</p> <p>Which leads me to my next point...</p> <p> 2009 CPA Career Coach http://www.CPACareerCoach.com</p> <p>Why it is Critical That You Build an Online Network</p> <p>I am going to list for you what I believe to be the best reasons as to why you should consider building an online network. Now, keep in mind, you do not have to be in an active job search mode to benefit from growing a network. As you will see there are many reasons why an online network can benefit you and your career. Here are a few of the top reasons: 1. You should dig your well before you are thirsty. Simply put, develop a support structure before you need it. The professionals that get this concept have their careers on the fast track. They understand that you do not get where you are going without the knowledge, insight, perspective, and help from others. By always building your network, you allow yourself the opportunity to make deep connections outside your company. This support structure can assist you in finding your next ideal position. Here is a scary statistic and probably the number one reason for building a network: experts now say that the average professional is making a job change every 3.5 years! Some of these are by choice and others are a result of the times we live in where companies are downsizing and restructuring for growth on a regular basis. Remember this: those who are on the fast track in their career understand the importance of being connected to a solid network of professionals that can help get them where they are going. 2009 CPA Career Coach http://www.CPACareerCoach.com</p> <p>2. You can be known as an expert in your field. Developing an online network will also give you the opportunity to be noticed and recognized for what you specialize in. More specifically, LinkedIn gives you opportunity to showcase your knowledge and establish yourself as an expert in various niche fields. More on that a little bit later. But remember this; people are searching for professionals who have a certain expertise. For example, gone are the days of people relying on a general practitioner (doctor) to do all the work. The Doctors that are making the money are specialized and known as experts in a particular field. What do you know and have learned in your head that the average person may not and you can impart guidance, knowledge and wisdom on?</p> <p>3. You can be aware of what is going on outside your cubicle. When you are able to review the questions, activities, and comments of others in your network it really gives you a good sense of what is going on out there in the big world of career and commerce. This can help you with better understanding what the big picture is and allow you to stay ahead of the curve in your career. It is good for you to every once in awhile give yourself permission to rise above the runway level of your daily tasks and take a look at your career from a 20,000 Foot view. In other words, what is going on outside my cubicle/office? 2009 CPA Career Coach http://www.CPACareerCoach.com</p> <p>This reason alone is why many workplace professionals spend $1000s of dollars every year to attend conferences and meetings in their industry and while those are important, having an online network can help you keep a pulse on a daily basis.</p> <p>4. You can be a resource for others, which will return tenfold Like Zig Ziglar always says, You will have everything in life you want, if you just help enough other people get what they want. Even in the recruiting industry I have seen this un-fold in my life time and time again. If I take a few moments and help give someone insight on their resume; dispense interviewing tips; or help them understand a companys culture for an interview they got on their own, it always returns to me in someway and benefits me down the road. Im not saying that you should always have a hidden agenda when helping others, but what I am saying is that when you show sincerity you get sincerity back. One of the top networked professionals on Linkedin is a 28year old MBA Finance student named Steve Burda. He has over 43,000+ 1st level connections. He uses his network to help others find new clients, find jobs, etc.</p> <p>He is not in active search mode but I guarantee you one thing. If he ever is, he has plenty of people ready to help all because he chose to get involved with others and be a giver. 2009 CPA Career Coach http://www.CPACareerCoach.com</p> <p>5. You can stay on top of the latest trends On online networks, such as LinkedIn, there is a ton of information being shared on a regular basis. Just spending 10-15 minutes a week browsing through the various discussions in your niche group will give you a good sense of what the latest trends are in your industry. This valuable knowledge alone will make you appear to be the expert with your company and/or your competitors. In essence, Linkedin can be a great learning tool for your career. You can become the go-to person at your company because you are staying up to date on the latest information in your profession or industry.</p> <p>6. You can have your ideal job find you This is one of the most powerful reasons for having a profile online. By showcasing your background and expertise, you allow opportunities to find you. This is much different then posting your resume on one of the major job boards. When you post your resume online, you tell everyone (including your boss) that you are somewhat unhappy and want to make a move. On LinkedIn this is much different then posting your resume on a job board somewhere. Everyone post their experience and build their profile online for all to view. Once you have done that you allow others (recruiters and hiring managers) to do a keyword search and identify you as a possible good fit. 2009 CPA Career Coach http://www.CPACareerCoach.com</p> <p>Now you can control privacy settings and choose the level as to which you want your information out there. For example on LinkedIn, your name can be hidden unless someone is in your network. If someone outside your network thinks they have the ideal position for you, they can send you what is called Inmail. Users on LinkedIn are limited to the number of Inmail they can use so getting one is viewed as very important in the eyes of the receiver because it costs money. The best opportunities come when you are not really looking. Have you heard someone say that before? It is true! Why not make it easier to let the best opportunities find you? I actually just used this technique to identify a candidate in Pensacola, Florida. Our client asked us to work on a position for a business unit of theirs. We previously did not have an established network in that region. However, after doing a keyword search using my network on Linkedin I identified a candidate who was connected to someone I knew well. The candidate had just been laid off just weeks earlier and was looking for an opportunity. After, a few interviews the job was offered to him. Now think about this for a moment, if he had not joined Linkedin, he would have not heard about this opportunity. I cannot stress this point enough; get your career information online for others to see!</p> <p>7. You can stay in touch with former colleagues. 2009 CPA Career Coach http://www.CPACareerCoach.com</p> <p>This concept is very powerful. As you get further and further into your career, you have more colleagues that know what you have to offer and they are spread out among the marketplace. Keeping in contact with them can be a major effort. However, when you develop a network on a social networking site you make it easier to stay in touch with them and them with you! Next time that CFO position comes available, you may just cross their mind and they will throw your name in the ring of possible candidates. All this for just keeping a marketing presence online! One professional shared a powerful story with me about this concept. He used LinkedIn to locate some old colleagues of his. There was one in particular that he sent an invite to in order to join his network. The next day his old friend immediately sent him an email stating that he had an extra ticket to an NFL playoff game and wanted to know if was interested in going. So, he went to the game, met some people AND landed a new account with the new company (they were in need of someone with his expertise). How about that for catching up with an old colleague!</p> <p>8. You can build instant rapport.</p> <p> 2009 CPA Career Coach http://www.CPACareerCoach.com</p> <p>By growing your network online, it will show who you know (only if you choose to make it public) and who you are connected with. This can give you instant credibility if you both know the same person and that person can speak for you. I have had this happen many times on both sides of the coin. I have had people contact me because they saw that I knew a former colleague of theirs and they now wanted me to work with them in their job search. I have also used it as a way to get introduced to people that I wanted to know. Building rapport and credibility is very important if you want to build a network that can benefit you in the days to come.</p> <p>9. You can have a built-in support structure for starting your own business. This is an area that most people do not realize can be a huge benefit for them. Once you have grown your online network, you can use that network to super-charge your own business. Need a solid but affordable web developer? Ask your network! They will recommend solid people with a good reputation and you can develop a short list very quickly. From there you can decide which one would best fit your need and budget. In other words, you take everyone elses hours of research and boil it down to a few really good choices. You can use this tactic over and over again for things like: Finding a good CPA Locating the right Ad Agency 2009 CPA Career Coach http://www.CPACareerCoach.com</p> <p> Identifying a specialized Executive Recruiter Getting answer to business related issues Finding the right type of Lawyer The list goes on and on!</p> <p>10. Having an online network is doing networking on your time Physical networking (i.e. going to events, mingling with people, attending networking socials) can be very timeconsuming. Now, while I believe you should be somewhat involved in all of it to be really successful, your career or personal life may not always afford you the opportunity to physically attend the networking events that you would like. However, networking online is available on your time (and how much time that you have at the moment). Also, online networking gives you such a further reach. As I am writing this, my network grew an additional 1 million professionals by just getting connected to 15 new professionals. Needless to say, these professionals are well-connected. The statistics are amazing! Attending one social event (that would have taken considerably a lot more time and effort) could not give me that type of reach. If the 6 degrees of separation is true, then I am much closer to finding my answers as my network grows. 2009 CPA Career Coach http://www.CPACareerCoach.com</p> <p>Why You Should Consider Using LinkedIn I want to share with you some insights from Guy Kawasaki (blog.guykawasaki.com). These are some great reason for using LinkedIn to build your career. LinkedIn has over thirty-five million members in over 140 industries. Most of them are adults, employed, and not looking to post something on your Wall or date you. Executives from all the Fortune 500 companies are on LinkedIn. Most have disclosed what they do, where they work now, and where theyve worked in the past. Talk about a target-rich environment, and the serv...</p>