Over the last few years, LinkedIn has turned itself from an average social networking program mainly consisting of networkers in the USA to the number one online business networking tool for professional individuals all over the world. As a Head-Hunter, candidates often search and find me using LinkedIn and the number of times I have heard the phrase, “We met through LinkedIn” has increased dramatically over the last couple of years.
The easiest way to find a new job, is to find someone who knows a hiring manager who is hiring and looking for a candidate with similar experience to ourselves. Our job therefore is to find the first “someone” who knows the hiring manager and ask them to send our resume and put in a good word.
Using LinkedIn To Find A Job
Referrals are the key to recruitment and a candidate that comes referred from someone who is trusted will always be met with a positive response. As a Head-Hunter, I am often sent candidates by my clients either because the company is re-structuring or maybe they are downsizing slightly and these are always the best candidates. If a resume lands in my email box from a client with a few comments about why they are good, firstly I have a reference from a key senior professional, but secondly I can guarantee that candidate will be good.
To find our referee to support our application we can use LinkedIn and network our way around professional people that we know or meet on the platform. LinkedIn gives us the opportunity to create an online profile and connect with other profiles within our network.
It’s important that we connect with all our contacts so that we can expand our network and therefore our source of networking professionals to as large as possible. Without a connect we will only be allow to see other people’s basic profile and we will not be allowed to view any contact information or send messages from within the platform.
Given a connection allows one user to send messages to another via the platform and view more private information on their profile most people will only allow people they know well to connect with them. We can use this information to network within the platform.
Let’s imagine that we are a candidate looking for a Sales Manager position and all our previous experience is all within the technology sector. In this example, we would run a search for “Heads of Sales” within the technology sector in a specific location (usually our present location). We would then search through all the profiles and we are looking for one of our connections (that hopefully we know well) to be connected to the Head of Sales in another company. This would allow us to contact our connection and ask them to introduce you to their friend and put in a good word for you.
The idea here is that we run a search for hiring managers within our specific field and location and simply add all the contacts to our network with a small message something like “I am looking to build my network within the technology division and would like you to add me to you connections.” It’s really not a good idea to jump straight in with the message “I am looking for a new job” as in my experience contacts will often reject you, however asking for networking opportunities seems to be more accepted.
Whilst this method is free, it does have some limitations. You’re only really allowed to send out around 100 invitations per day without your account being blocked and whilst I am not sure, I think the total invitations that you’re allowed to send out is around three thousand.
The success rate is really not that good with around 20-30% of invitations accepted, however there are times that this can be improved by having good recommendations on your profile.
Once someone makes a connection to you, firstly you will be able to see if you have any shared connections that maybe can help you with an introduction. If not, you will be able to send them a message within the platform.
Join Groups within LinkedIn
LinkedIn allows us to join “Groups” within the platform. These Groups can be very useful and will give us good opportunities to network and ultimately find a new job. At present there are around 2 million Groups on LinkedIn with some of the larger groups giving us access to thousands of potential networking opportunities and hiring managers.
There are two great posts here and here that will give you some idea of the best groups for job seekers, however whilst these main stream groups can help with contacts its always recommended to try and find niche job boards within your specific field as these will give you a much better opportunity to network with contacts that are relevant to your specific career.
Once we have joined and been accepted by the group (some groups require a moderators acceptance) we have access to the discussion board where we can ask networking questions such as “which companies are hiring right now” or “does anyone know any niche recruiters.” We can also look at all the other members of the group and using the above method of “invite directly” add these connection with a short message, something like “we are members of the group xxxx, please accept my connection.” In my experience the ratio of those that connect with you from a niche group can be as high as 80%.
Sending In-Mails means that you can send a message to anyone on LinkedIn whether they are connected to you or not. To send in-mails, you’re going to need to upgrade your profile from the free version to a paid version called LinkedIn Premium. LinkedIn Premium prices start from $19.95 per month for the Business version rising to $74.95 per month for the Executive Version.
The idea here is that we can run a search for hiring managers with our specific field and location and then send them a message directly from within the LinkedIn platform. Firstly this would give us an opportunity to meet with them directly and pitch ourselves for a role within the company, but secondly it would give us the opportunity to network around their contacts. Hiring managers and senior professionals will know their industry well and will often know which other companies are doing well and therefore likely to be hiring right now.
Job Seeker Package Including Featured Applicant
This also requires a paid package from LinkedIn called the Job Seeker Premium and whilst does not 100% fit into the post title as a networking tool, it is another way LinkedIn can find you a new job. The Job Seeker premium package is not free with prices starting at $19.95 per month rising up to $49.95 per month for the top package.
All the paid packages allow you to benefit with tools ranging from sending in-mails (Job Seeker and Job Seeker Plus only) which means that you can contact people outside of your network, a Premium Badge which will help you stand out in any search results and become a Featured Applicant which means that any jobs that you apply for, your application will be moved to the top of the recruiters list of candidates. This is probably the best tool in this package as often recruiters will get thousands of received resumes. With yours being at the top, you’re guaranteed it will be read.
As a bonus, you will also get access to the LinkedIn Job Seeker Group and Webinar where you can find support and advice on finding your dream job.
LinkedIn is a truly brilliant tool for job seekers, however it does have one vital problem. It is the best tool for spending hours and hours on the site and really achieving nothing at all. I have personally spent hours and hours looking at LinkedIn and really not achieving anything. My advice is to really concentrate on a set goal that you want to achieve and give yourself a set period of time to do it.