The world and beyond – Surviving in the economic jungle

Advice, tips and tricks on how to engage with the UK jobs market and commercial environment, from a female executive's perspective

How to find a job through LinkedIn

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 As a Recruiter, LinkedIn is one of my main sources of candidates and as a business person, I use LinkedIn broadly to develop my business. I have had such success with LinkedIn for business, that I have been asked to help other businesses in the professional services sector how to do it too!

As a job seeker, LinkedIn should be a major part of you job search strategy. It frequently features in the top 5 most visited job sites in the UK, and recruiters actively search the database to find potential candidates for their jobs. LinkedIn will also give you direct access to the key decision makers in most of the potential employers in your target list – Whether they find you or vice versa is what it’s about!

So how can you put it to best use for your specific job search?

1. Create a Thoughtful Profile

According to LinkedIn, you are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities if your profile is complete. A complete profile includes your current job and 2 previous jobs, your educational background, a profile summary, profile picture, your specialist areas and at least 3 recommendations. Keep your profile summary light and communicative. Be careful not to slip into a list of tasks in your work experience, rather focus on achievements and transferable skills.  Why not add a presentation through an app like Slideshare to detail your experience and achievements even more? Ask past contacts for solid recommendations (There is a tool for this on your profile page).  And make sure your phone number, email address and contact information is up to date!

Oh, and please use a professional photo. If it’s not relevant to your job, for example, leave the party pics and outdoors snaps for Facebook.

2. Build your network before you start job seeking

This is not about sheer numbers, it’s about the quality of your contacts. Focus on friends, colleagues or industry acquaintances. Your connections should be people who’d be willing to credibly and enthusiastically introduce you to people in their network, or who will be able to connect you with potential job opportunities. Remember, your connections may also ask you for introductions to other people in your network. Do you want to jeopardize your reputation with your friends or former boss by encouraging them to talk to some random person in your network that you don’t know?  Be selective and careful with who you invite, and whose invitations you accept! This is a long term approach. There is no point trying to mobilise your network only when you need their help. If you build credible connections over time and add value as you go along, they will reciprocate when you when you need their help.

3. Join relevant Industry & Professional Groups

Why? There will be people there who are doing what you want to do. Join in on discussions. Create discussions on topics you’re interested in. Ask interesting questions, answer questions, get involved in the debate but be careful not to make yourself look silly! Doing these things will enable you to meet people who can increase your job or industry understanding, give you feedback on your job search, or even approach you about potential jobs. The key to GETTING a lot from these groups is GIVING to them. For someone to want to help you, they need to feel that it’s worth their while, either because they genuinely like you, and/or they believe that helping you benefits them in some way. If you are only there to take from the group, you won’t find many willing to help you. All social media is about adding value first.

Some major organisations and university faculties have alumni groups. Join these, if they apply to you! Recruiters will search these when they are looking for specific skills or experience.

4. Search LinkedIn Jobs, and Jobs sections in groups

When you search Jobs by company or job title, you can see which of your connections are at that company or know the person who posted the job. Leverage these connections to help you get a warm introduction. or apply directly if that is what the recruiter wants you to do. I will also post my live jobs to my profile page, so keep an eye on those weekly updates if you are looking for a job!

5. Leverage your connections

You will dramatically increase your opportunities if you get an introduction to a recruiter or hiring manager from someone they know. You may be able to ask a first degree contact (someone I am connected to on LinkedIn) for a personal introduction or recommendation to the hiring manager of a potential employer on your target list. Alternatively this person may be a great source of information about the company or industry, which will help set you apart once you secure an interview. If a second degree connection looks interesting, ask your contact for an introduction. Or approach a potential contact directly through the Invitation to Connect function, but don’t use the standard message. Write your own, short reason for you wanting to connect and they will most likely accept if your profile is of general interest to them.

6. Ask the right questions

Once you’ve identified people through LinkedIn that can be helpful, it’s important that you make an appropriate request. Don’t be blunt! Asking outright for a job or interview is most likely to achieve nothing. Most people can’t help you with what may be your primary goal, but they can still help with information, feedback, introductions and more.

7. Let People Know You’re Looking

Everyone is a potential job lead, but they can’t help if they don’t know you’re looking. Use the update field to indicate that you are looking for a job. However, I have often seen people change their work history to “Currently looking for a job, at home”. This just seems desperate. Make it clear through your dates and through your headline that you are looking for a new role, but do it professionally. Remember, you want to create the correct image as your LinkedIn profile equals your CV and should create the same image.

8. Use LinkedIn Answers to become an expert

In LinkedIn Answers you can ask and answer questions on specific business topics. Others who view your answers and are impressed with your insight can reach out to you directly. You can also receive recognition for strong answers, which adds to your credibility and visibility. This is an excellent way to expand your network without selling too hard. And most companies want to employ experts in particular fields, don’t they?

9. Be alert and consistent

There is no point saying you want a job, and then taking 2 weeks to respond to a recruiters contact email. Be active, be alert, be consistent in your communication. Don’t wait for them to chase you. You are the one looking for a job. If you wait for the chase you will lose out to those applicants who do respond more quickly. Remember, recruiters only need one good person to make the placement!

10. Take it offline ASAP

There comes a time when exchanging niceties by email can start costing your credibility. If you see a good opportunity or make a useful contact, pick the phone up and connect directly. Recruitment is about people, and even if the opportunity is not perfect for you the Recruiter will remember that you reached out. And next time, they will call you instead of the other way around.


Written by Cathy Richardson

October 4, 2011 at 4:58 pm

Posted in Recruitment

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