6 ways to use LinkedIn as a Job seeker

Job Seeker on LinkedInI have been lucky enough to work with a number of Jobs Clubs and Careers / Outplacement teams in my role as a LinkedIn trainer and consultant, and met a lot of great people who have gone on to really explore LinkedIn as a powerful ally in their own Job search.

In the sessions I’ve run, we try to cover a range of opportunities that LinkedIn offers rather than focus solely on, say, the profile or the Jobs area – there are so many additional tools that we can tap into and I guess many different ways that we can go about the process of looking for a new job. The areas that we cover therefore include making the most of the Personal Profile space that we have on LinkedIn (to attract and then inform), active searching and connecting with relevant people, marketing and positioning yourself to maintain visibility, as well as using the Job Board to keep an eye out for potential roles.

Above all it’s another tool in the Job Seeker’s arsenal and one that is particularly valuable when it comes to the proactive job searching, particularly those 70% of jobs that allegedly are never actually advertised externally. Getting in front of the right people

So, what areas do we need to consider when we look at this area:

1. Your Personal Profile

Your profile on LinkedIn is the single most important element that you have on there but it has to play a couple of different roles for you. It not only has to do a “sales job”, much like a CV does, when someone does get to look at it but also needs to be designed to market you and ensure that they find you in the first place.

As such, we need to be acutely aware of the keywords that you have on your profile to ensure that you appear in the results list when someone is looking for the skills and experience you have. Remember most recruiters (internal and agency) will have a list of criteria that they are looking for – this translates into a series of keywords that they will be plugging into the LinkedIn search, so make sure you are one of those people that they find when they do so.

LinkedIn also favours profiles which it considers to be complete so try to get yours to the “All Star” level as it currently calls it – you’ll find this in the Dashboard section of your Profile page.

2. Connect to Recruiters & Executive Search

There are a couple of key factors which influence where you appear in the search results: what is on your profile (see point 1 – make sure it is working for you!) and the second key one is how closely connected you are to the person doing the searching. In general terms, the closer your connection, the more likely it is that you will appear higher up the search results you will appear, though the algorithm is constantly changing it’s true.

So make sure that you are connected to a good set of key recruiters who specialise in your chosen field or expertise, e.g., health care careers, – the more visible you are, the better your opportunity to get in front of them and show why they should consider you. Search them out using the “advanced search” and introduce yourself by connecting to them – then make sure that they know what you are looking for.

3. Seek out key people in target companies

If you are looking to approach a specific company that you are interested in working for, then it is good to know exactly who to speak to – it may be the HR person or perhaps the line manager or director in the department or function that you wish to work. In each of these cases, you can use the advanced search feature on LinkedIn to search for the exact person you want to speak to by looking up the company first and then searching for the job title of the person you wish to talk to.

Key reminder: Don’t forget to try to leverage your connections – if you know someone who can get you in front of the right person in the company, then use that opportunity. Better that than be overlooked for something you would be perfect for.

4. Market yourself and keep visible

Of course, the proactive search is excellent, but try also to make sure that you are presenting yourself well too – sharing content that either you have produced or, just as importantly, that is relevant to your area of expertise will ensure that you keep front of mind with the people you have already connected with and also position yourself as someone on top of their area and, by implication, with expertise in it.

If you don’t feel up to writing longer posts, then use the opportunity to leave comments on other people’s posts where your input with be valuable and hopefully also seen by the right people. You will consistently see increased levels of Profile views on the back of commenting, so long as you make them worthwhile. Activity in Groups can also be worthwhile, although the Groups need to be carefully chosen and need to be active. If you want to publish longer pieces and don’t have a channel to do so elsewhere, then I would encourage you to also use the Article / Publisher tool on LinkedIn and get your message out to a new audience. Share relevant information though … information which enhances people’s opinions of you in the right areas. Constantly sharing motivational quotes or jokes will mean that that is what you will be remembered for … which isn’t alone going to cut it in the eyes of a potential employer I’d suggest.

5. Check the Jobs section

The Jobs section can be accessed via the “Jobs” tab in the main menu and, as the name suggests, it is essentially a large jobs board. Currently there are a ridiculous number of jobs on there posted in the last 30 days, with a mixture of those that have been posted directly on LinkedIn and others which have been brought in form either job boards. Either way, you have the chance to do an advanced search through the opportunities to see if there is a fit with your requirements. When on the Jobs page, consider doing a blank search and then click on the ‘All Filters’ on the right hand side to open up all of the options and give yourself the best possible control over your search.

If you find a suitable opening then save it and it’ll be held in your saved jobs area – extra tip, also turn on the Job Alert function for the search you have carried out. If you do this, LinkedIn will send you new roles that fit your requirement on an ongoing basis, a kind of automated search for you. There is also a ‘Jobs’ menu item on most Company Pages – on the larger ones, this will focus in on the Jobs that they have advertised on the site and so allow an idea of the openings currently on offer at companies you might be interested in.

6. Preparation for interview and Research

Make sure that you are as well informed about the company and the interviewer as possible – anything which can get you up to speed with what the company is doing and what areas that the person sitting the other side of the table is going to consider important is going to be of interest and of importance.

On the Company front, go to the Company Page and “Follow” the company to receive what they consider to be important for them – when it comes to the interviewer, then check elements that you have in common, overlaps in places of study and employment, and even recommendations they have given which gives an insight into their personal focus in most cases.

Make yourself always ready. Companies are looking at resumes as well as doing some background check and screening. They do this by hiring services similar to this site https://www.sterlingcheck.com/services/fingerprinting/.

There are so many ways in which LinkedIn can help when searching for your next position – don’t restrict yourself to just thinking of it as another place to store your CV, you will never get the full benefit from it if you do. Instead, use the opportunities that it can offer to expand the scope of your search – differentiate yourself from the masses who send in a CV and covering letter and then hope, and instead take a more proactive approach which will open new avenues and hopefully shorten the time that your search takes in the process.

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