Here’s another fact that I can personally confirm: Most recruiters I’ve spoken to tell me that LinkedIn is their website of choice when it comes to talent discovery. Not Indeed.com, Monstor.com, SimplyHired.com, or any of the other job boards.
Shouldn’t these facts be enough to use LinkedIn for your job search? Here’s the question, how can you most effectively use LinkedIn to network for a job?
1. LinkedIn is more than your online resume
Networking on LinkedIn starts with your profile and understanding that it is not your resume. This is where I contradict myself: I suggest to my client that the first step is to copy their resume and paste it into their new LinkedIn profile. But wait.
From there, however, you need to add to it to make it more of a networking document that expresses your worth while showing your personality at the same time. For example, your “About” section needs to tell a story that describes your passion for what you do, how you do what you do, and bring in some accomplishments to sell yourself right away.
Your area of experience must include records of achievement with quantified results that include numbers, dollars, and percentages. I prefer each position to consist only of accomplishments and not everyday tasks that you performed for each position.
It is also important that your LinkedIn profile is optimized for keyword searches by recruiters and HR managers. You are looking for a specific title, major subject areas and a specific location. For example: “Sales Operations” and CRM “Lead Generation” and Pharma and “Greater Boston”.
For more information on the difference between a resume and a LinkedIn profile, see The Ultimate Resume and LinkedIn Profile Comparison: 12 Areas
2. Use LinkedIn to find people in your desired companies
Perhaps one of LinkedIn’s greatest strengths is its ability to find the key players in the companies you want to work for. My suggestion is that you first make a list of your target companies and from there connect with people in those companies, ideally at a level above you.
All filters will be your best friend when it comes to finding people in your desired businesses. You can use it to narrow down the exact titles of the people you are looking for. Important criteria would be the current company, the industry and the title. Choose the 2nd degree as they are more likely to connect with you.
If you use All filters To find people in your desired businesses, write down your mutual connections and the schools they have attended. This can come into play when you are writing your personal invitation.
Read 7 steps to find the right person with LinkedIn All Filters.
3. Strengthen relationships
Building relationships on LinkedIn can be a longer, more methodical, or shorter process where you and your connections understand each other immediately. To get a job with LinkedIn, building and strengthening relationships is an important aspect of the journey.
There are several ways to get noticed by the people you want to connect with:
- First, follow the named people.
- When you visit their profile, show them your profile (don’t choose Anonymous LinkedIn member).
- Comment on their posts thoughtfully.
- Wait and see if they contact you first. I’ve reached out to numerous people about the comments they left on my posts.
- Finally, ask to connect to them using a personalized message, not the standard LinkedIn message.
Note: Your connections that work in your desired companies are more likely to dismiss your invitation if they know one of your connections very well. Make sure your mutual connection is included in your invitation letter.
Just recently, one of my clients asked if I would introduce them to someone who works in one of their target companies. I was glad to do it. Now they need to build a relationship that will work for him and her.
Read 3 great ways for job seekers to send invitations on LinkedIn.
4. Take advantage of your new connections
Once you have your foundation built with your target companies, you can introduce the people who would make the hiring decisions. You don’t want to do this right away as hiring managers are less likely to contact you without introduction.
When jobs become available at your target companies, you are in a better place than when applying. You can reach out to the people you connect with to send your CV to the right decision makers (in addition to applying online).
Ideally, you will build close relationships with the connections in your target companies. So when companies try to fill positions in-house, your connections give you heads-up. You have an insight into the hidden job market.
According to a 2017 Jobvite Article: “Recommended applicants are hired 5 times more often than the average and 15 times more often than applicants from a job exchange.” We can assume that these statistics are still true, if not higher.
5. Use the job function to network
The LinkedIn “Jobs” feature is used to apply for jobs only Not Your best way to get a job because it is a job board after all. (A very small percentage of job seekers use job boards successfully.) But I wouldn’t discount LinkedIn jobs. Use it in conjunction with your networking efforts.
In many cases, the person who posted the position will be disclosed so that you have the opportunity to contact that person. You can also meet the team you might want to reach out to. Perhaps my favorite feature of Jobs is the ability to see which of your alumni work in the companies of interest.
Lastly, use Jobs to look for other interesting jobs. On the right side of the job description you will find similar positions at different companies. You may want to add some of these companies to your target company list.
6. Alumni function
Alumni is possibly the least used feature on LinkedIn. In fact, many of my clients are unaware of this great feature and are amazed when I demonstrate how to use it. Find AlumniSimply enter your alma mater in the search area and select it from the drop-down list.
I show my clients how to find alumni who have majored in certain majors, where they live and where they work. I also declare that their alumni are more likely to connect with them than other people they do not know.
If you find that some of your alumni are working in a company of your choice, then you should boldly connect with them. Your personal invitation begins with, “Hi William, I see we went to Amherst College together …” That alone gives you something in common.
7. Do the “asking”
A LinkedIn connection is not in good faith unless you contact it in a personal way, such as B. through a phone call or a Zoom session. A phone call should be the very least you do to establish a personal connection.
You have spoken to your connections and gained their trust. Now you are ready to ask them to strike for you. You will be sending them a message asking them to introduce them to important people you want to connect with. The invitation is described in 3 great ways for job seekers to send invitations on LinkedIn.
With an ally by your side, your target connection is more likely to connect to you. But from there you need to initiate a conversation that isn’t too forward. The process may be slow, but an opportunity can be missed if you ask the question too soon.
You will know when the right time has come from the tone of the conversation. The request can be an informational meeting where you can get information and advice from your new connection. The question will never ask your connection if their company is hiring; It is assumed that you are interested in their company.
If you want to learn more about LinkedIn, visit this compilation from LinkedIn posts.
Photo: Flickr, JobMax
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