How to Use LinkedIn to Your Benefit
Now as much as ever, who you know will be a catalyst to your next job. With this in mind, LinkedIn is the preeminent business networking tool. As such you can employ some LinkedIn-specific tactics to help you in your job search. Following are three ways this recruiter feels you can use LinkedIn to your benefit. It is important to understand that your first priority to make and cultivate connections. Leveraging the platform to find a job is a secondary, organic part of this.
The “Apply-and-Hope” strategy rarely works. You need an ambassador. You need a point of contact. You probably have some great contacts in your personal network, so formalize those relationships on LinkedIn. Be proactive.
· Your phone’s contact list likely holds hundreds of names in your industry: clients, coworkers, former coworkers, suppliers, and friends. Send a personalized LinkedIn connection request (always personalize the request) to everyone you can. “We’ve done business together for years, but for some reason we’re not connected here on LinkedIn. Please join my network.” This is not about asking for a job… it’s about making a connection.
· Grow your network with new connections. Identify companies you like, whose products and services you admire, whose culture you understand to be in line with your objectives. Now, reach out to people in similar roles to yours, and to your boss’s and to your boss’s boss. Connect with decision-makers. Again, send a personalized connection request: “I really admire what ABC Company is doing, and we share some significant connections. Please join my network.”
· Peruse your LinkedIn feed daily. When you see content that resonates, acknowledge it by liking and/or sharing and/or commenting. Send a connection request to the author: “Your post about XYZ really clicked with me. Please join my network.”
· Connect with recruiters who specialize in your job function, industry, and/or geographic location. “I see that you recruit salespeople in the auto aftermarket. That’s my specialty too. Please join my network and let me know when we can talk about current searches for which I might be a fit.”
2. Update Your Profile
LinkedIn is your public resume, and recruiters LIVE in LinkedIn. I am a recruiter. It bears repeating: RECRUITERS LIVE IN LINKEDIN. We conduct searches through this platform more than any other. The more robust your profile, the better we can understand if you might fit a role we are working to fill. And importantly, the greater the likelihood we will find you.
· Here is a universal truth: Hiring Managers want someone who has already been doing what they want done. So, use your profile to describe what you’ve done. DO NOT describe what you have been supposed to be doing. DO NOT regurgitate your job description. Describe your successes and be as descriptive as you can with the metrics. Hiring Managers want to know about how you increased production, grew revenue, reduced costs, implemented process, helped people succeed. In short, YOU ARE A PROBLEM SOLVER. Describe how you have been successful at solving problems
· A more robust profile also builds in keywords that might be a search term recruiters are using. If all you list is dates and titles, recruiters will never know what specific expertise you have, what doors you can open, or how you might already be solving a specific problem. Talk about specific products, industry verticals, clients, processes, etc. Describe projects and successes that will help the reader understand your strengths. Assume that recruiters from outside your industry will need to understand your background.
· Don’t be shy about sharing your personal passions. They may help you connect on a more personal level with potential employers. Doing so may also enable you to leverage that passion in the new job. An example: a criterion for a search I did several years ago for a Product Management Director stated that the ideal candidate did not have to have experience in the automotive industry, but that the candidate must then at least be a customer of the product. In other words, candidates with passion for the product, but experience in other industries were acceptable. The candidate I placed came from the fitness industry but had passion for my client’s products. Match made in heaven.
· Recruiters (I am one) are lazy salespeople. Make it easy for us to contact you. For at least the duration of your search, make your phone and/or email visible.
3. Use the Platform
· Create push notifications for jobs that match your experience and objectives
· Adjust your security settings to notify recruiters that you’re #opentowork (but you don’t need the banner on your photo)
· This is a personal branding tool, so use it as such. Spend at least 10 minutes a day sharing your expertise with comments or original posts. Spend 10 minutes expanding your network. Give to the community, and it will give back.
· DO NOT apply and hope. If you apply for a job through LinkedIn (or anywhere else for that matter), do the legwork to find a hiring or HR manager’s name. Call the company switchboard if you have to and ask for that person. You will probably have to leave a message. The message or conversation goes something like this: “Hello [name], this is [your name here]. I’m calling to make you aware of my application for the [title] job you posted on LinkedIn. It looks like you want someone to do XYZ and that’s exactly what I’ve been doing at [relevant employer]. Please let me know when we can talk.”
If you are a candidate or a hiring manager in the #automotiveaftermarket, I am interested in talking with you. Let’s be a resource for each other. We exist in a big industry, but small community.