10 Ways to Use LinkedIn for Job Search
With more than five million Australian members, LinkedIn is both a business and an career network. It isn’t intended to replace face to face interactions; instead, it allows you in a job seeking and work context to
see who your friends know in other companies
see where people have been and what they’re interested
Learn who’s gone from Company A to Company B
Learn more about people you’ve met or are about to meet (especially hiring managers)
be an active or passive job seeker
Here are ten ways to use LinkedIn in your job search
1. Make Your Headline Count. Your profile is a key component of your experience on LinkedIn. It’s your calling card when you reach out across your network, and it’s how potential contacts will locate you and understand your role.
Your LinkedIn headline (just below your name) is your online brand, because your name and your headline are the first things a LinkedIn user will see when s/he conducts a search on the LinkedIn database and your profile comes up as one of the search returns. Your headline, your name and your profile photo are the only cues that user will get before deciding whether or not to click through your headline to your full profile. Make your headline count!
“Marketer seeking next opportunity” is weak, but “Consumer Products Marketer Looking for Small Brand to Make Big” tells your next boss what you plan to deliver.
2. Job-Hunting? If your job search is common knowledge, go ahead and say so in your LinkedIn headline. “Office Manager/Business Air-Traffic Controller Looking for Overstressed CEO to Make Sane”. What corporate recruiter wouldn’t call an Office Manager like that, seeing as the recruiter’s biggest headache at that moment was an overstressed CEO desperately seeking sanity?
If your job search is under the radar, you can’t use your headline to signal to recruiters “Call me!” but you can still make sure that your headline (and your entire LinkedIn profile) are full of stories and as human as you are in real life.
3. Follow Your Target Companies. Stay on top of the leading ideas in your industry and staying abreast of industry news is key to building upon your expertise and expanding knowledge. LinkedIn allows you to easily track industry news, extract customer insights and understand the shifting competitive landscape.
If you’ve got specific companies on your target list, you can follow them on LinkedIn via their Company pages. That way, you’ll hear about anything new they’ve got cooking, from a new branch office opening to a new product release. Company news is exactly the kind of thing you can mention in a cover letter you’re writing to reach your target hiring manager.
4. Broaden Your Network. The bigger your first-degree network on LinkedIn, of course, the bigger your entire network will be. One new first-degree contact with 100 connections of their own can expand your first-second-and-third-degree network by tens of thousands of people. That’s good at any point, but especially in a job search where you’re looking for as much visibility into your professional ecosystem as you can get.
LinkedIn makes it easy to add previous connections. You can download your address books from Gmail or any webmail application and your Outlook contacts too, and invite any of them you like to connect.
You can use the Colleagues feature to reconnect with people you used to work with, even if you don’t have their current email addresses. Don’t misuse this feature though, or LinkedIn might suspend your invitation privileges!
5. Get That Intro! If your first-degree connection knows someone you’d like to talk to — you can ask your first-degree buddy to make an introduction for you. Just browse to your target person’s LinkedIn profile, look for the blue link that says “Send a Message” and click on the arrow on the right of the link to see a pull-down menu that will include the words “Get an Introduction” if you and your target person have someone you know in common.
6. Find Your Hiring Manager. To find your hiring manager on LinkedIn, just use the Advanced People Search feature (click on the word Advanced next to the search bar at the top of the page) with your target company name filled in and the most likely title for your hiring manager as a second search term.
Once you’ve found your target hiring manager, of course, you’re going to do more than just add your future boss’s name to your cover letter. You’re going to learn who this person is, what s/he cares about and what he or she may be up against on the job. The more you know about your hiring manager’s situation at work, the better for your pitch! Read his or her profile, check out the Groups your hiring manager belongs to and see which Influencers s/he follows.
Read some of those Influencers’ posts to see which topics and perspectives make your hiring manager’s heart beat faster.
Knowing a person’s background before you meet is becoming a commodity. Knowing about their experience, background, connections and activity will allow you to save time and make the most of your meeting or interview.
7. Your Network is full wisdom. Go back to the Advanced Search page and conduct a search using just your target company’s name as a search term. Who in your network is connected to that company, and how? Those folks can do more than just make introductions. They can tell you what they know about your target company, who they know there, and what they’ve heard about the business.
Remember that a job search is not just about being noticed and making connections. It’s also about learning enough to decide whether a company can use your talents and whether it’s worth your time to pursue opportunities there.
8. Do a little polishing. If your profile is just a boring chronology of the jobs you’ve held, you’re missing out on the branding power of a well-written LinkedIn profile. Add some elements to give your profile spice and substance, like your best-ever PowerPoint presentation or a video of you speaking to a group. Use the Status Update feature to share anything you write, any event you’re attending that others might be interested in and anything else that will add value for your LinkedIn connections. Hey, that’s what community is for, right?
9. And don’t forget you profile picture. Your picture is your virtual handshake. Choose a picture that is friendly and aligned with your role. You’re seven times more likely to have your profile viewed if you have one. Like a house that’s on sale, the assumption is that if there’s no photo, something’s wrong.”
10. Stay In It! A white-collar job seeker can swap out hours of time poring over delusional job ads and replace them with professional approaches to hiring managers facing Business challenges that only someone with your experience can relieve. LinkedIn will help you do that, but only if you use the site as an active participant, not a passive flower on the wall. Step in and step up to your next opportunity!