If this sounds like you, chances are, you know that LinkedIn features a job board hosting hundreds of thousands of job postings worldwide. Many internet savvy job seekers utilize their LinkedIn profiles as an online CV to present their skills, prior experience and interests to the public. Beyond these standard features, there are several other surprising ways job seekers can utilize LinkedIn to separate themselves from the pack to land a new job.
Place your Profile as “Open to New Opportunities”
If utilizing LinkedIn to search for new opportunities, the best place to start (after updating your profile) is by letting recruiters know you are open to new opportunities. On your personal profile near the profile photo there is a plus sign icon. Clicking that allows you the option to indicate that you are open to new opportunities, which allows recruiters to view your profile and reach out if they have a position you may be interested in. This status is viewable only to those with recruiter accounts on LinkedIn, and you can add up to five titles you are interested in pursuing at a time.
Consider starting with relevant keywords and variations of titles for the role you are targeting, rather than five completely different jobs, and refresh these with more variations and roles you would consider every week or so.
While this does not replace submitting applications yourself, allowing yourself to be open to talking with recruiters can help expand your job search and give you support while applying.
Join Relevant Groups
LinkedIn groups are an ideal way to connect with like-minded professionals and hiring managers to add value to your job search. By joining groups centered around key interests, skills or industries, you can begin to interact and network with individuals outside of your immediate connections.
To find relevant groups while job searching, type an industry, title or interest into the search bar and filter for ‘Groups.’ Request to join the relevant groups that come up. Some groups to consider include:
- Job searching groups
- Groups for recent graduates
- Your Greek life group
- If you volunteer, a group for that charity or those similar
- Your school’s alumni page
- Groups for individuals in your target industry
- Relevant groups your connections are a part of
- Relevant groups that an influencer you follow is a part of
- Groups that a company you are targeting is a part of
- Groups that employees at that company are a part of
Capitalize on this networking feature by reading the content posted in the groups, connecting with individuals whose posts you resonate with most and watch out for any job opportunities or hiring companies that may be mentioned. Engage with content you appreciate by liking or commenting.
If you decide to post in one or more groups yourself, ensure that you are posting relevant content, such as a link to an informative article or press clipping, and double check your caption for spelling and grammar.
Engage with Hiring Managers
When you apply to a role, do some research on the company LinkedIn page. Beyond just engaging with their content, view the people who work at the company currently. You can filter by location and role at the company to find relevant connections, be that Recruiters, the manager of the team you are interested in or others currently in the role you applied to.
Reach out to these people and introduce yourself. If you have a shared connection, highlight that. Mention that you applied to the position at their company and explain why you are excited about the opportunity. Do not start by asking them a favor, instead ask them about their industry or experience and show that you have genuine interest. You can filter people at an organization by location, school, role or what they studied to ensure you are finding the right people to connect with.
Hiring managers receive many LinkedIn messages a day. Stand out by being thoughtful, personable and unique in your message, and always try to add value to them in the interaction.
Comb Through Your Connections
While job hunting in a recession, the most valuable resource to tap into is your network. Look through your existing contacts and connections and begin reaching out to those who work at organizations that you could see yourself joining or in roles you are targeting. Leveraging referrals from connections at companies you are targeting can drastically improve your chances of getting an interview, with 50% of recruiters stating that leads from a referral are the best source of quality new hires.
When first reaching out to a contact, be sure to tailor your message in a way that is appropriate to your relationship and gives value to them, rather than asking for a favor or inquiring about a job right away.
Inquire about their experience working at the organization and their experience in the hiring process. Wait to ask for a referral until after the conversation has developed and it is appropriate, and once you’ve had a chance to share why you’re interested and why you’d be a good fit for the position. Once the relationship has been formed and you feel it is appropriate to ask, you can request that your connection provide a virtual introduction to the appropriate hiring manager.
LinkedIn has incorporated an “Ask for a Referral” button into job postings to request one of your existing contacts at that organization for a referral. While this is a good option if you know the individual well or have already requested that they write you a referral, be sure to communicate with the connection prior to ensure they would supply a positive reference.
Update your Skills, Recommendations and Endorsements
On your profile, there is the option to add your professional skills and have your connections endorse them. While reading through job postings, notice the preferred and required skills mentioned that you have, and be sure to add them to your profile. Ask coworkers, family and friends that know you professionally to endorse that you are, in fact, skilled in those relevant areas. Having these relevant skills on your profile will increase the likelihood of hiring mangers seeing your application and giving you a call.
You can also take skill assessments on LinkedIn that, if passed, are added to your profile to prove your proficiency in certain skills.
While applying, consider asking former supervisors, coworkers or professors for recommendations via LinkedIn. Click "Profile > Recommendations" and select the "Request Recommendations" tab. Click "Choose what you want to be recommended for" and select the employment position or school you attended. You are then able to request a recommendation from relevant contacts. While requesting recommendations, ensure that you are asking relevant connections that you know well and that will give you an honest and positive review.
These recommendations can be included on your profile or in job applications via LinkedIn’s job board and can add a personal touch to an application. This likely will not replace a company’s need for references but may provide an added endorsement to set your resume apart.
Utilize LinkedIn Learning to Brush Up on a New Skill
Some of the common new interview questions to prepare for is “What did you do with your free time at home during the shelter-in-place?” and “What did your routine look like during this time?” Start preparing for those questions now but utilizing the LinkedIn Learning feature to take courses on valuable skills pertaining to your targeted role or industry. LinkedIn Learning is currently offering one month free and has thousands of courses for popular learning topics like software development, leadership and management, business software, data science and hundreds of other topics. These courses, once completed, can be added to your profile to prove your competency and skill in a certain area.
Completing a few courses in your free time demonstrates your dedication and work ethic to a hiring manager. Showing that you are career oriented and interested in building upon your skills can set you apart from the pack during an interview and provide a conversation topic that will make you a memorable applicant.
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