Wanted Canadian ops chief for LinkedIn

If you’ve been putting it off, this might be the perfect time to update your LinkedIn profile. The world’s hottest professional social networking site is expanding its Canadian operations and is in the market for a country manager to build the company’s sales and marketing organization here.

Get cracking on that LinkedIn profile.

The expansion coincides with the Mountain View, Calif. based firm’s recent announcement that its Canadian membership base has broken the two million mark. The site, which has more than 60 million members globally, also has more than 20,000 LinkedIn Groups related to Canada.

“We’re planning some pretty aggressive moves in Canada,” Arvind Rajan, vice-president for LinkedIn’s international operations told ITBusiness.ca.

“We will be opening an office in Toronto soon and are currently in search of a country manager.”

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Job one for LinkedIn’s head honcho in Canada will be to build the company’s sales and marketing team. “We’re still evaluating the position but we will definitely need people with expertise in enterprise sales, marketing, and brand advertising,” Rajan said.

LinkedIn’s Canadian operations will start small and likely involve 40 to 50 personnel during the initial phase, he said.

The LinkedIn executive said people interested in the opportunities should start checking out the site’s Jobs section in the next few weeks.

LinkedIn profiling

Rajan has one piece of advice for would be applicants: “Work on that profile now.”

<img src=http://www.itbusiness.ca/images/articles/Mar31/Arvind.jpg

Arvind Rajan,vice president for LinkedIn’s international operations

Nowadays, he said, employers typically conduct an online search on candidates to learn more about the person and support the process of determining a “right fit.”

“When someone does a Google search on you, your LinkedIn profile shows right up on the top page. That’s why what they find there had better be good,” Rajan said.

A Toronto-based head hunter agrees.

“In recent years, LinkedIn has become an indispensible tool for talent search firms looking for ideal candidates to match with a career position,” said Jose Mari Maravillas, of MTM Staffing Solutions.

“By design, sites such as Workopolis and Monster work best for job hunting. The information on these sites benefits recruiters. But for head hunting purposes, LinkedIn provides the best information set,” he said.

As LinkedIn is primarily a networking site, Maravillas said, profiles on the site do not just contain a person’s job history, they also link to his or her friends and professional associates, groups, third party recommendations, as well as their thoughts on topics connected to the concerned position.

“With traditional job sites you typically get what’s on the person’s résumé. LinkedIn offers you a more precise picture of the person,” Maravillas said.

LinkedIn has also made job hunting easier. For example, if head hunters do not have the name or a formal introduction to a potential candidate, they often have to research industry periodicals to identify top-notch executives or cold call companies to get their executives’ names.

With LinkedIn this convoluted process can often be avoided. Members can become part of LinkedIn groups and build up their network from there.

“With LinkedIn, I have easier access to names and group affiliations. I can even supplement my list by checking out the person’s connections,” said Maravillas.

Not just for job hunting

Phil Parkinson, a chartered accountant specializing in taxation at the insurance and financial firm The Co-operators, got several job leads via LinkedIn but he is more a fan of the site’s crowd sourcing and social networking capabilities.

“Whenever I have a tough question or problem, I post it on LinkedIn and often get good solutions,” said Parkinson.

For example, when his company was looking for a good taxation software product, he put out the question on LinkedIn. “I got the names of four other foreign-based software vendors that we were not even aware off.” Their products and others are now under evaluation.

Parkinson also advises users to maintain contact with groups they join. He himself keeps a regular schedule for personally meeting people from LinkedIn groups he’s a member of.

Alexa Samuels a Toronto-based career coach specializing in social media says LinkedIn is the perfect networking tool. Samuels helps clients, some of whom are making a transition in their career, to become more familiar with social networking tools.

“LinkedIn is the starting point of your professional networking efforts in the social media space,” she said, noting that the site is a gateway to inclusion and involvement in various groups and causes, as well as an ever growing pool of knowledge.

The career coach follows a number of LinkedIn groups that touch on her areas of expertise. In one group she came across a conversation thread on fantastic Facebook fan pages. The information was very useful for her business because she coaches people on how to use social networking tools for branding.

“I don’t think there was ever a more comprehensive compilation of expertise on the topic.”

Of course, Samuels also gives back. Recently, a person on LinkedIn was searching for information on computer generated imagery. Samuels, who researched the topic a while ago, had some notes and a list of resources tucked away in Goggle Docs.

“I sent that over to him and judging from his reply he was so happy he hit the jackpot.”

Her advice: “When using LinkedIn, don’t be afraid to stray away from your industry. You never know where the next opportunity may be.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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