How many times have you uploaded your resume and hit Apply Now only to never hear back? The “resume black hole” can be extremely frustrating. Luckily, there are other ways to land your dream job. Today we are going to focus on one of the best tools for job hunters—LinkedIn.
There are a few different ways to use LinkedIn for job hunting. The easiest and most straightforward tactic is simply applying to job listings directly on LinkedIn. It’s super easy, but that’s also the problem. Just like the online job portals, each posting on LinkedIn gets a huge number of applications.
So where is the value in LinkedIn?
A good starting point is to use LinkedIn as your ticket to connect with recruiters and HR managers. Their job is to fill positions, so they are generally eager to network with potential candidates. Have your written “elevator pitch” ready. Give them a short summary of who you are, your experience, and the types of jobs in which you are interested. Feel free to ask them if they have any openings that may be a good fit, or to hop on a quick phone call to learn more about their staffing process. Connecting with recruiters is never a bad thing. Even if it doesn’t lead to anything in your current hunt, they may be hiring for your dream job several years down the road.
You can also reach out to hiring managers on LinkedIn—Directors, Department Heads, etc. However, it’s probably best to send an InMail message instead of sending a connection request. If they don’t know you, there is a good chance they’ll ignore the request. A good rule of thumb is to make it about them. Ask about their company, the structure of their department, and their current work. A quick phone call or coffee invitation is perfect. Be prepared to ask questions by doing some quick research on their background (via LinkedIn) and their company’s work (via the company’s website). If you think that you could be a good fit for their organization, tell them why. Frame it in the context of what they just told you. For example:
That’s really interesting that (company) operates that way. It seems like a unique model compared to what I have heard from other businesses in the industry. I think that’s exactly the type of environment that I would thrive in—my experience doing xyz gave me a great foundation for this type of work. I think I could bring a lot to the table in that sort of workplace, such as…
Then (and only then!) you can ask them if they have any open positions or to be considered for an interview. It’s important to establish rapport first before going in for the hard sell. Even if they aren’t in a position to grant you an interview, they might reach out to you the next time they are hiring because you showed initiative. Just remember to always be polite and respectful.
Other Tools and Tricks
LinkedIn can be a great way to establish yourself as a thought leader in your field. Writing blog posts on trending topics or sharing relevant articles to your feed with some brief commentary can be a good way to build up your presence. This can lead to new connections through conversations in the post comments and will make your profile stand out when a recruiter looks you up.
Share your latest work, your website, or your portfolio on LinkedIn in order to get noticed by your network. Your old neighbor may know someone looking for help—it’s easy for them to simply tag their connection in a comment on your post and open a new door for you.
LinkedIn can also be a great resource for knowledge sharing. Just like with Facebook or Reddit, there are tons of industry specific groups where you can ask questions, get advice, and make new connections. Beyond professional groups and job hunting communities, alumni groups can be a great source for job leads as well.
The bottom line is that LinkedIn is a fantastic resource for job hunting. It can be your secret weapon in skirting around the resume black hole, but it takes a little work on your part. Set aside some time every week to network on LinkedIn, update your profile, and browse relevant groups. The more you put in, the more you will get out. Happy job hunting!
Networking on LinkedIn is your secret weapon when job searching.
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