You’ve heard it before: LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional, online networking application with approximately 470 million worldwide members*. It’s also said that LinkedIn is growing at a rapid rate of two people per second. And according to Jobvite.com, at least 87 percent of recruiters are sourcing for talent on LinkedIn.
Here’s another fact that I can personally attest to: most recruiters with whom I’ve spoken tell me that LinkedIn is their site of choice when it comes to looking for talent. Not Facebook.com, Monster.com, Indeed.com, or SimplyHired.com.
Shouldn’t these facts be enough to use LinkedIn for you job search? Now, here’s the question: how can you most effectively use LinkedIn to network for a job?
1. LinkedIn is more than your online résumé
First of all, your LinkedIn profile is not simply your resume. This said, I suggest to my LinkedIn workshop that their first move is to copy and paste their résumé to their new LinkedIn profile.
From there, however, you need to add to it to make it more of a networking document that expresses your value, while also showing your personality. For example, your Summary must tell a story describing your passion for what you do, how you do what you do, and throw in some accomplishments to immediately sell yourself.
Your Experience section must include accomplishment statements with quantified results that include numbers, dollars, and percentages. I prefer each job to comprise only of accomplishments, while other LinkedIn members throw everything into the mix,
Also important is that your LinkedIn profile is optimized for keyword searches by recruiters and hiring managers. They’re looking for a specific title, vital areas of expertise, and location. For example: “sales operations” AND crm “lead generation” AND pharmaceutical AND “greater boston area”.
2. Use LinkedIn to network with people at your desired companies
Perhaps one of LinkedIn’s greatest strengths is the ability to locate the key players at the companies for which you’d like to work. My suggestion is that first you create a list of your target companies and from there connect with people on your level in those companies.
There are ways to go about getting noticed by the people with whom you’d like to connect:
- You may want to first follow said people
- When you visit their profile, show your profile (don’t choose anonymous)
- Like or comment on their posts
- Wait to see if they reach out to you first
- Finally, ask to connect with them using a personalized message, not the default LinkedIn one
Once you’ve built your foundation, you can ask for introductions to the individuals who would be making the hiring decisions. You don’t want to do this immediately, because hiring managers will be less likely to connect with you without an introduction.
3. Make use of your new connections
When jobs become available at your target companies, you’re in a better place than if you were applying cold. You can reach out to the people you’ve connected with to have your résumé delivered to the proper decision makers (in addition to applying on line).
Ideally you will build strong relationships with the connections at your target companies, so when companies are trying to fill positions internally, your connections will give you a heads-up. You’ll have an inside track, essentially penetrating the Hidden Job Market.
According to an article in Jobvite on what job seekers need to know in 2017: “Referred applicants are 5 times more likely than average to be hired, and 15 times more likely to be hired than applicants from a job board.”
4. Use the Jobs feature to network
Using LinkedIn’s Jobs feature to apply for jobs exclusively is not your best way to land a job because, after all, it’s a job board. (A very low percentage of job seekers are successful using job boards.) But I wouldn’t discount LinkedIn Jobs. Use it in conjunction with your networking efforts.
In many cases the person who posted the position is revealed, providing you with the option of contacting said person. You can also “meet the team,” whom you might want to reach out to. Perhaps my favorite feature of Jobs is the ability to see which of your alumni work at the companies of interest.
5. Alumni feature
Alumni might be the most underutilized feature on LinkedIn. In fact, many of my LinkedIn workshop attendees are unaware of this great feature and are amazed when I demonstrate this feature.
I show them how they can find alumni who studied certain majors, where they live, and where they work. I also explain that their alumni are more likely to connect with them than other people they don’t know.
If you see that some of your alumni work at a desired company, take the bold move of connecting with them. Your personal invite will start with , “Hi William, I see we attended Amherst College together….This alone will give you something in common.
6. Take it a step further
A LinkedIn connection is not bona fide unless you reach out in a personal manner, such as a phone call, meeting for coffee, or even grabbing lunch. A phone call should be the very least you do in your effort to make a personal connection.
Talking to your connections give them a better sense of who you are. I’ve talked with some of my connections and was able to judge their character. For some I got the sense they were of quality character; for others I felt the opposite.
One more step
You’ve spoken with your connections and have gain their trust. Now you’re ready to ask them to go to bat for you. You will say, “I feel that you’ve gotten a good idea of who I am as a person. If you would mention me to your manager, I would greatly appreciate it. If you feel uncomfortable, I completely understand. I leave this up to you.”
Using LinkedIn alone will not quickly secure a job without also reaching out in a personal manner. This is the final step, and for some the hardest one to take. LinkedIn offers a lot of potential. Use it to its advantage, and then close the deal.
*The number of LinkedIn users has surpassed 500 million, according to some counts.
This post originally appeared on recruiter.com.
Photo: Flickr, JobMax