Posting job openings

Job posters have it easy. Just post a message in the jobs-listing area. Well, it isn't exactly that easy. Job postings can be posted to LinkedIn groups for free. This is fantastic in that you can target very specific audiences with each post. Most members will have opted to recieve updates daily or weekly via email (and some paid LinkedIn members will get the post immediately). However, LinkedIn expires these posts after two weeks. Anyone who was emailed the post will still be able to follow the link in their email to the full details, but the post will no longer show up under the Jobs tab for the group.

If you are accepting applications for more than two weeks, you will want to track which groups you've posted to and when so that you can re-post in another two weeks. You'll probably want to keep an eye on group sizes in order to focus your efforts where you'll get the most value. Only post in the smaller groups where you believe that the membership contains a high proportion of potential matches.

LinkedIn requires that you join a group before you post under the job tab for that group. For most individuals, this is not a problem. You are likely already interested in joining the groups which would be of most direct use. However, note that you may only join 40 groups (but additional sub-group memberships are allowed). Recruiters may find that they need to swap out memberships based on the jobs that they're posting. If you're in that position, try to clump the jobs so that you can (for example) post all embedded software jobs in the first half of the 'even' weeks, Microsoft-flavored programming jobs in the second half of the 'even' weeks, project management in the first half of the 'odd' weeks, other programming languages in the second half of the 'odd' weeks. This way you can get the maximum work done while joined to a specific set of groups. A well-organized set of bookmarks can make these switches easier. Another option is to create a few stub accounts at LinkedIn specifically for job posting.

LinkedIn also has a for-pay job posting service which does not involve groups. I have not used that service and so do not have an opinion as to its utility.

Job hunting

Well, you can check out the jobs-listing area of this group. Better still, you can wait for job postings to arrive in your inbox. When you join a group LinkedIn lets you select weekly, daily, or no summary of activity via email. I gather that paid members can opt to have immediate notification. This preference is set on a per-group basis. For those groups of more direct interest to your job hunt, you will probably want more frequent notification than the other groups. You can adjust your preferences in the my settings tab within each group.

When you see a potentially-interesting position posted, find out more. If you have been growing your network in your area of interest, then the odds are good that you'll have a contact within your network. If not, you can follow the job posting's instructions as expeditiously as possible. If you do have contacts within your network, try expanding your network in the direction of those individuals who either do that sort of work themselves, or are hiring for the position. Contact them. Initiate a dialog about the position in order to learn whether this is something you're interested in pursuing further.

You can spin this as a means of learning more to avoid wasting their time if there isn't going to be a good fit. The spin is the truth. While you're asking about the position, you can sell yourself. A few email volleys later and you've completed most of a job interview without actually applying! If you're both still seeing a good fit, then you've got a huge leg up when the actual interview happens.