You know that LinkedIn is a critically important job search tool, right? But do you know the specific ways LinkedIn can elevate your search results? Let’s take a look at 15 of them. (Psst! Can’t get hired? Watch this free tutorial.) There are five major job search methodologies, or ways to bring your candidacy to the attention of prospective employers. By supplementing your action steps in each of these areas with specific LinkedIn tactics, you can upgrade the number of interviews and career opportunities you attract.
1. NetworkingHopefully you are already aware that networking is the #1 way to land a job at any career level. Whether you are a new college grad or a C-suite executive, networking – when done right – will open doors to new jobs faster than any other strategy. Supplement your networking with these specific actions on LinkedIn and you’ll see even better results.
- Segment your networking: Odds are you have several hundred non-LinkedIn networking connections that you’re planning to contact in your search, but you have to segment those by hand unless you’re using a CRM (customer relationship management) tool. While LinkedIn isn’t a full-fledged CRM tool, it can help you to segment your first-/second-level and Group connections. From your Contacts tab, use recent conversations and filters to segment your list by communication thread, first or last name, company, tag, location, title, or connection level.
- Gather business intelligence on key influencers: Great networking is based on great information – the more you have, the more explicit your networking can be. One of the greatest weaknesses in most job seeker’s networking efforts is that they ask too many generic questions. Instead, if you’re planning to network with a specific connection on LinkedIn, start by reviewing that person’s profile. Study their background, network, common connections, Group memberships, interests, and key skills to identify strategic synergies that align with your information needs and leverage those to deepen your networking interaction. If you want more information about this, read about 4 key ways you can leverage LinkedIn as a market intelligence tool.
2. Targeted Outreach To CompaniesMany job seekers don’t realize that targeting specific employers is a powerful way to gain entry to new career opportunities. By making the fatal mistake of assuming a job opportunity has to already exist, they miss out on the incredible benefit of accessing the Hidden Job Market – job openings that will soon be available but have not yet been publicly advertised. With LinkedIn’s business intelligence you gain take your targeted outreach to the next level.
- Network with connections you already have in the company: I presume you already know that when you visit a company profile on LinkedIn you will be presented with a list of connections you have with the employer. If you filter that list, then leverage the intelligence you can garner from each connection’s profile, you will boost your networking requests of them to the next level.
- Seed your profile with documents: By studying the target company’s LinkedIn profile, you can gather quite a bit of data about their corporate direction, job openings, divisions, and key people and products. Use this information to decide what kinds of supplemental documents or media you can add to your profile to tighten the alignment between your brand and their needs.
- Comment on company shares: Sure you can follow a company’s shares on LinkedIn, but why not go a step further and look for ways to comment on those shares? By infusing your comments with your experience, insights, and authenticity you gently bring yourself to the awareness of the share’s source.
3. LinkedInLinkedIn itself is a viable job search tactic simply by virtue of the ability to forge a broader online network. But there are more advanced features and usages of the social networking platform that job seekers may want to consider leveraging.
- Brand-driven status updates: Status updates are a simple way to communicate your brand with your entire network and the whole LinkedIn membership. And if you’re active on Twitter you can tweet any post at the same time. Use status updates to reveal your insights and perspectives on issues facing your industry or target market.
- LinkedIn Groups: I hope you already know what a powerful tool Groups can be to dramatically expand your networking reach and enable you to be “discovered” by more recruiters and hiring executives. Beyond joining the right kinds of groups, take your involvement up a notch by engaging in and starting Group discussions. Share resources. Ask questions. Be visible.
- Endorsements & recommendations: Take control of your endorsements by moving your strongest skills to the top of the list and then proactively endorse those whom you want endorsements from. Choose who solicit recommendations from carefully and make sure you suggest specific projects and experience that reflect your brand and key word focus.
- Thought leadership: LinkedIn is a powerful ally in the quest to build thought leadership. If you want to recession-proof your career for the balance of your working life, this is a critical strategy. Start a blog or engage a business ghostwriter to help you start one. Write articles and white papers and link them to your profile. Use your LinkedIn posts to demonstrate your UVP (Unique Value Proposition).
4. RecruitersThe previous three job search methodologies are great choices for penetrating the Hidden Job Market where 85% of jobs can be found. There are times, though, when it’s appropriate to also apply for jobs that have been already published (the Visible Job Market, of course), including those assigned to an external recruiter. The problem is, though, that recruiters are overwhelmed with great candidates. So how do you get their attention?
- Use LinkedIn to build relationships: While you might not think of LinkedIn as a relationship management tool, it can serve in that function even if it wasn’t created for that purpose. If you use Inmail, introductions, and invitation messages wisely you can proactively build a relationship with recruiters to help you stand out in a sea of super-qualified peers.
- Seed evidence of your brand in Groups recruiters hang out in: Keep in mind that some recruiters are active or lurk in select industry LinkedIn Groups. If you “seed” your communications in those Groups with evidence of your brand, achievements, and industry insights, then you can potentially cultivate recruiter awareness of your candidacy.
- Upgrade your personal communications and invitations with “give-to-get” content: The overwhelming majority of LinkedIn users employ the default message text when they invite others to connect with them. This sends a negative message about the value you place on the relationship. Instead, customize your invites with appropriate personal details and commonalities. And after you connect with someone, send a warm welcome message that initializes networking by helping you both help each other in specific ways.
5. Online Job SearchApplying for jobs online is generally the least successful and slowest way to land to a new job for most professions. But if you utilize this methodology anyway, here are three action steps you can take to boost the odds of getting an interview in your favor.
- Use the LinkedIn job search app: You are using the LinkedIn job search app, right? If you are going to apply for jobs online, it just makes good sense to do so. But my suggestion is to use this app as a filtering tool each time you find a job you want to apply for and then do one or both of the next two actions.
- Network with hiring managers: Rather than apply through online channels, use a LinkedIn advanced search to identify the hiring manager in that company. Build a relationship with him or her and cultivate the opportunity to share your resume with the hiring manager and/or request a short phone call to investigate the alignment between your talents and experience and their hiring needs.
- Target company employees in your preferred departments: If you don’t know or can’t find the hiring manager for the role you wish to pursue, target other employees in that or similar departments instead. If you build relationships with these folks you may be able to request a referral for an open position. This enables to take advantage of the company’s employee referral program which gets you front-row access to open jobs and rewards the staff member for the efforts at the same time.