If you follow my blog, you’ll know I write a lot about data analysis, Microsoft Excel, and other related topics. It’s my goal to catalog everything I’ve learned as an analyst over the past few years to help those looking to move into a data-driven position.
If you’ve got chops and nobody knows, do you really have them?
It’s crucial to display yourself favorably while searching for jobs. And LinkedIn is the way to communicate your value as an analyst. LinkedIn is as important to professional networking as Excel is to business analysis. I’m saying this out of experience: I was ultimately hired twice by connecting on LinkedIn.
Wouldn’t it be great if companies had a Common Application similar to colleges? Instead of searching for individual jobs and applying to each company separately, it would be great to have them all in one place. This service exists with LinkedIn. Almost all analyst jobs are posted there. Even better, most of those jobs’ hiring managers are on there as well. Here is an overview of how to find an analyst job using LinkedIn.
First, go to LinkedIn Jobs at https://www.linkedin.com/job/ . Thousands of jobs in every industry are posted here. We will optimize our search to find Excel-related analyst jobs, as this is the primary tool for many analyst jobs.
Use “Analyst Excel” as your search criteria. This will ensure that jobs with the “analyst” job title AND “Excel” in the job description appear high in the ranks. Not all analyst jobs are Excel jobs — especially those in IT departments. This will help you identify the jobs that primarily use Excel.
You will get thousands of hits, so I would suggest narrowing it down by location. Choose your home ZIP code or an area where you would consider relocating. This location criteria box is on the left-hand side of the results.
One more filter: if you scroll down the page you will see an “Experience Level” box. I recommend applying “Entry Level.” This will be the best fit for people looking for a first or second job.
These filters improve the chances of finding the most relevant entry-level analyst jobs.
Read the job descriptions and get a sense of the size and industry of the employer. If you think the job matches your interests and skills, go ahead and apply. Many LinkedIn job postings will let you apply right through LinkedIn.
Nice Search… But Don’t Stop There
In my writing I emphathize taking marginal stepts to make output exceptional. Here are some small steps with big payoffs.
Do not make the mistake of firing off applications with no follow-through. You do NOT want your application going into the black hole of the resume pile.
When you send an application out through the normal applicant tracking system, assume that no one is going to look at it. After It doesn’t have anyone’s name on it. Think of that annoying “Dear Valued Customer” letter. By sending a resume without an intended recipient, you are essentially sending junk mail to employers. Avoid that by addressing your application directly to the hiring manager. Finding the hiring manager’s name can be done on LinkedIn.
Find the hiring manager
If you applied to a financial analyst position at Company X, for example, search on LinkedIn for a “finance manager” at that company and location. You will likely see “Finance Manager at Company X” in your search results. This is probably your person, especially at a small company.
But larger companies may have several finance managers. Look at your job description to help narrow your search. Maybe the job description lists a lot of compliance or forecasting roles. Add those keywords to your search and see if you get fewer results. Some job descriptions may even list the job title of whom the position reports to.
Also use your existing network to find the hiring manager. Maybe some alumni from your school work at this company, or you know someone from an area professionals group. Ask around and see if you can identify the hiring manager.
This is a lot of work, but you will receive a much better payoff than shooting dozens of resumes into the ether.
Once you have narrowed the hiring manager’s identity to one or two people on LinkedIn, call the company’s main switchboard and ask for them. (I wouldn’t recommend sending them a message through LinkedIn or the mail because you still aren’t sure if you have the right person.)
Try calling before 9 or after 4 to so you can speak with him at a less busy time. If he doesn’t answer, leave a voicemail, but follow up in a couple of days. Tell them that you applied for X job, you believe he is the hiring manager, and you wanted to make sure he got your resume. If it is not the hiring manager, ask if he can refer you to the hiring manager.
This takes initiative. Don’t worry about interrupting the manager’s busy schedule. Show that once you’re on board, the manager’s schedule will be less busy.
LinkedIn is a Relationship Tool, Not a Canvassing Tool
This doesn’t relate for just analysts. When I searched for my job I shotgunned invitations to recruiters at every company in town I could think of. Firing off random invitations felt productive but was a casino game, with the odds heavily against me. Only once I contacted specific recruiters, hiring managers, and analysts did I succeed.
There is a reason LinkedIn discourages connecting with people you don’t really know. It is not used best as a numbers game but as a platform to nurture relationships with other professionals.
Good luck, future analyst!