Earlier, we talked about how you can amp up your Linkedin Profile. Now we’re going to talk about actually putting that shiny new profile to work.
Since 80 percent of your job hunting time needs to be devoted to networking, think about using Linkedin as the place where you do your initial work. Then, quickly turn those online interactions into meaningful offline ones.
Believe it or not, the old networking rules still apply to the new digital landscape.
The Old Rules Still Rule…
Everyone is slammed, including your contacts and connections. Don’t make others think about who you’d be good to work for. That’s your job. Give your networking contacts a starting point by sharing a list of your top five companies and the roles at said companies you’d be suitable for. This will help the light bulbs start popping.
The fact that you want a new job is not the other person’s problem. You don’t want to come across as needy. Instead, do some up-front work for them and let them in on your journey. Literally, write introduction emails that your contact can crib and forward to the person they know. Solid networking takes time and effort, which is why it’s always a good idea to start the process long before you really need it.
Give before you receive
Look across your network of connections and think about how you can help others first. Go out of your way to make connections. If you come across jobs that aren’t suitable for you but are perfect for someone else, forward them on. When you do this, you make deposits in the karma bank that can be redeemed later on. And when someone goes out of their way to help you, show them your appreciation or you’ll never be able to go back to them again.
…But the New Rules Have Changed Everything…
How do you break through the clutter and get seen?
Step 1: Lay Down the Groundwork
Linkedin is constantly changing its algorithms and you need to keep up their intense pace. Evolve your profile so that you stay at 100 percent complete at all times, which we covered earlier. But pay attention to all the rapidly iterating new tools on Linkedin that are designed to capture your data (e.g., make you more keyword searchable) and make the matchmaking work better.
Step 2: Build Up Your Network
Make Linkedin your digital Rolodex. From now on, every time you grab a business card from a solid contact (client, vendor, hiring manager, recruiter, etc), invite them to connect with you on Linkedin. Make it a monthly task to grab that annoying stack of business cards on your desk and reach out to them on Linkedin. Be sure to add in all your former bosses and colleagues, and don’t forget to grab your friends from college, too. They may all be connected to folks who work in the industry you’re most interested in. Increase your high-quality connections — particularly with the right people in your field or industry. Companies are not only interested in where you’ve worked, but also who you’re connected to. Plus, the more people you connect with, the more people you can reach via 2nd connections.
Don’t forget to customize all connection requests for each recipient. Otherwise you look like you’re trolling for connections. It’s a professional forum, not Facebook.
Follow companies you’re interested in on Linkedin. Check back often for new job postings or anyone in your network who connects to a decision maker at one of these companies.
Joining groups will not only expand the amount of people in your network, but may also be a great resource to keep up with trending topics in your field (not to mention learning who your competition is). Just remember, blatant job hunting in group discussions is frowned upon and may lead to your being banned.
A note on recommendations: Reach out to former bosses and clients and ask for specific comments around your major accomplishments. Make sure to get recommendations that will support your candidacy around where you’re going in your career, not where you’ve been. Three to five is the perfect amount, although any 1st degree connection can see and recommend you. Recommendations work like traditional references, so ask your 1st degree connections for recommendations but limit them to those who you would normally consider professional references. Pick recommenders with whom you’ve worked directly and will speak intelligently about your work. If you can land a CEO or other high-level person, do it. Know that these people may be directly contacted about you, so also select people that are likely to respond.
Step 3: Activate Your Resources
Once you have your profile in order, your connections in good standing, and your recommendations in place, you’re ready to start using Linkedin the way it was intended: to give you the edge over other candidates. When a job pops up on your radar via Linkedin, move quickly. First, apply. (Now is the time to use that “One-Click Apply” button). Then figure out who you know who knows somebody at the company, and send them a customized InMail (or email if you have their real email address) and be sure to reference the job. If you actually know the person, ask them to pass on your name and resume along with a short pitch about why you’d be great for the job to both the Hiring Manager and the HR person recruiting for the position. Doing this will give your candidacy momentum.
One thing about algorithms is that they work based on the data inputs. If you start finding that the jobs Linkedin is recommending aren’t a fit, it might be because your combination of profile and connections are giving it the wrong data. So, be ready to go back and tweak as needed. Ideally, after all this effort, you’ll start finding out about new jobs, and will be prepared to move faster, giving you a leg up on the competition. Remember, the bigger your network, the better it will work for you.
Warning: If you have stalker tendencies, Linkedin may bring out the worst in you. Keep them in check so you don’t get branded as one. This means being careful with “Who’s Viewed My Profile.” It’s OK to message someone who’s viewed your profile, especially if they’ve viewed it more than once, but don’t over do it. Recruiters will appreciate you saving them the time, as long as you don’t go overboard.
A word on Linkedin Recruiter: Linkedin Recruiter is a product that allows recruiters to review the entire network, regardless of their degree of separation. This means if a recruiter contacts you via Linkedin, respond even if you’re declining their offer. The fact that you responded will be tracked and you will be noted as an engaged job seeker.
In Recruiter also lets companies see what other profiles are similar to yours, and then serves up those candidates. It also pre-matches candidates to any jobs that get posted there. Here’s where having the proper keywords can really pay off. (If you’re not sure how to do that, go back and review our tips.)
If you follow our steps, you should be able make yourself stand out from the job-seeking masses.
Congrats! You’ve followed our steps and scored your first in-person interview. Not sure what to wear for your big moment? We’ll tell you how to dress to impress.
28 Days to a New Job is a month-long Hired Guns course designed to help you maximize your competitiveness in the current job market. Learn the secrets to getting a job from hiring managers, recruiters, negotiation experts and more. Read our our introductory post here. Or Subscribe Now to receive 28 Days to a New Job as a daily email.