Know what company you want to work for? Find hiring managers on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the largest professional network on the Internet with more than 135 million members in over 200 countries and territories. As of Sep. 30, 2011, executives from all Fortune 500 companies were registered users.

What does this mean to you? If you’re looking to find decision makers at a particular company, chances are extremely high that you’ll find their name on LinkedIn. To do this, you have to become familiar with LinkedIn’s “Advanced” search feature.

When you’re on the Advanced People Search section, you can look up a prospect’s name by "Title", "Company", "School" and so on. To stick with the example in the video above, say you want to work at Microsoft. In the “Company” section type in Microsoft. If you’re looking to meet current, not former, employees of Microsoft, make sure to select “Current” from the drop-down menu.

If you know the job title of the person you’re looking to work for, type that title in the “Title” section. If their title is one word, e.g. Librarian, then no quotations are necessary. If their job title spans more than one word, e.g. Technical Writer, then you’ll have to put quotations around it.

To save time, you can actually search for more than one job title at a time. To do that, put the word or in ALL CAPS. Let me give you an example. Say I’m searching for a technical writer or a technical writing specialist. Instead of using the search feature twice I can write:
“Technical Writer” OR “Technical Writing Specialist” in the “Title:” section.

If you get too many results, try to narrow down the list by leveraging the “Keywords:” section like I used in the video example. In that case I was looking to meet engineering managers that worked at either BING or XBOX.

If you see a job posted online and want to get your resume to the decision maker directly, instead of blindly sending it to an email address, you can leverage this advanced search feature of LinkedIn to find the decision makers.

In a future column I’ll show you how to reach out to these guys on LinkedIn to setup an informational meeting.