Leveraging LinkedIn: Jesse Friedman’s Job Search Success Story

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In this job search success story, Jesse Friedman, director of product marketing for Tremendous, shares how his detailed LinkedIn profile led to an incredible new opportunity.

What do you do for a career? Who do you work for?

I’m a product marketer, which means I try to figure out how to match what a company’s offerings can do with what people need through research, storytelling, and influencing the development process. I work at Tremendous, a platform that businesses use to make one-off payments to individuals around the world.

How long did it take you to find this job?

The simple answer is, no time at all, it found me. But in a broader sense, it took four and a half years since I left a long-term role at Google, with three freelancing stints and two less-than-a-year jobs, to find somewhere great. 

How did you find your job? What resources did you use? What tool or tactic helped the most?

Believe it or not, I was found on LinkedIn by an AI bot. The message it sent was clever in that it pulled a few details out of my profile to feel personalized. I suppose it was crucial that my LinkedIn was richly detailed, with detailed descriptions of every role I’ve had over my 15-ish year career. Something in the words I used was enough to signal to the bot that I was worth sending a message.

Of course, once I got this message, which promised a title bump at a company that seemed too good to be true, I did whatever research I could to confirm they were legit. That was actually difficult because their marketing wasn’t great (hence why they were hiring marketers!), but I found enough to satisfy my skepticism.

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What was the most difficult part of your job search? How did you overcome this challenge?

I was seven months into my job at the time, and I was growing increasingly frustrated with the work environment. I’d just received a middling performance review with a paltry pay increase, because I was struggling to perform the politics required of the company. But my wife was four months pregnant with our second kid, and the search that led me to this job had taken half a year. I felt constrained to grin and bear it until we’d gotten through the pregnancy and (disappointingly short) parental leave.

My hiring manager at Tremendous later told me that his biggest hesitation in hiring me was precisely that: ending up in a situation that seemed so ill-suited for my strengths and interests cast doubt on my self-knowledge. Thank goodness he, and that bot, saw more in my potential than in my present situation.

What is the single best piece of advice you would offer other job-seekers? 

These days, especially in tech, your LinkedIn profile is often more important than your resume. So spend the time it takes to make it a great reflection of who you are and what you’ve done, and in particular pay attention to using words and phrases that recruiters might be searching for. 

The great thing about LinkedIn is you can optimize for both readability and searches. For human readers, the about section at top is a freeform spot to project your personality, there are ample locations to upload or link to work you’d like to show off, and testimonials are easy to request and make you look great. And for searchers and bots, you can go deep within each role you’ve had to list technologies, skills, and results you’ve been a part of, and don’t sleep on tags, skills, and other structured data.

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If that sounds really daunting, pay someone to do it. The investment of a few hundred dollars could pay off a higher salary and/or ending up somewhere you enjoy better.

Why do you love your job?

Tremendous is extraordinarily intentional about its work environment — low-meeting, high-documentation, low-process, high-trust. It suits my personality so well and affords me the flexibility to be a more active parent. It also really helps that customers absolutely love our product, with the biggest complaint being that they didn’t start using us sooner.

Everyone’s job search story is different, but each individual story can inspire and empower others who are on their own unique path. We love to hear how our readers have found rewarding careers in Portland, and we want to share these stories with you to inspire you in your job search and to help us all better understand the local job market!