you need to be one LinkedInIf you want to get a job, you need to be on LinkedIn, as 90% of recruiters and hiring managers use LinkedIn to identify the best fit passive or active candidates for their job openings, according to a 2019 report.

Key reasons why you need to be on LinkedIn:

LinkedIn is for building connections

LinkedIn is where you’ll build a powerful network. When you first join LinkedIn, you’ll be prompted to send an invitation to everyone in your email contacts. Think carefully before you agree – there may be emails from people with whom you no longer want to be in contact. I prefer building your network one person at a time; the downside to this approach is that you may have forgotten everyone  who could be useful to connect with. Start by inviting current and former colleagues, college friends, former employers, and personal friends. If you’ve exchanged business cards with someone, invite that person as well.

Pay attention to LinkedIn etiquette when building your network. Don’t be transactional; you need to be on LinkedIn to network, in order to ask for favors. Instead, actively engage by commenting when your connections post or share updates. Each time you comment you are on the radar of everyone else who commented, which increases your visibility. Become known for thoughtful, intelligent comments that demonstrate your thinking on the topic. Don’t default to just a “like” or “great post!” And consider whether you simply want to follow someone instead of joining their network. Some people, myself included, prefer to limit their networks to people they actually know, so if you just want to learn what an individual has to say, follow him or her. But if you do want to connect, write a personal note with your invitation explaining why you want to connect.

You need to be on LinkedIn to avoid getting lost in ATS hell

Let’s say you are looking for a position as a senior financial analyst in the New York City metro area, and you’ve identified an opening at Estee Lauder Companies. As is  the case with most large companies, they will redirect you to their website to apply, which means that your resume will be vetted by the Applicant Tracking System (ATS), a notoriously unfriendly software application that spits out perfectly good candidates for lack of the right keywords (this is still true despite improvements to artificial intelligence). That’s why your job search will benefit from talking to actual human beings at the company.

Type “Estee Lauder Companies” into the search bar at the top of the page and select “People Who Work at Estee Lauder Companies.” This is what you’ll see:getting a job

In this example, I see that I have numerous second degree connections at the company, many of whom are in talent acquisition, human resources and, more importantly for this example, in finance.. Now you have two choices: either contact the person directly, or ask your connection who knows this person to get in touch for you. Explain that you have applied for the Senior Financial Analyst position with the company, and you are hoping that this second generation connection will get your resume in front of the hiring manager.

Will everyone respond to this request? No, but many people do. Not only do most people feel good about lending a hand, but companies usually provide a financial incentive for employees who present candidates that get hired. So don’t feel guilty about asking.

Alternatively, you can probably identify the hiring manager yourself

Scroll through the list of employees at Estee Lauder Companies who are on LinkedIn. If you don’t have second degree connections, look for people whose positions are fairly senior in the finance department, the goal is to identify the hiring manager. Here’s what my search turned up.

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The Vice President of Financial Planning and Analysis is not only a second degree connection, but he is also probably the hiring manager. You want to talk to him. If you’re connected, ask the person you know in common to 1) speak to him on your behalf and 2) get you his email address.

How can you get your resume in front of the hiring manager if you aren’t connected? You can figure out most company email addresses by using the browser extension mailscoop.io or Hunter.io, but also read this article from HubSpot with alternative methods; the article is geared toward sales professionals, but just skip the methods that reference sales.

LinkedIn is the mainstay of your job search

So, there’s no debate about it: you need to be on LinkedIn for your job search because it provides you with a far better source of job openings. Unlike job sites like The Ladders or Indeed, Monster, or CareerBuilder, LinkedIn listings provide key data that tells you how long ago a job was posted, how many people have applied for it, and how you compare to other candidates who apply.

Ready to revise your resume and LinkedIn profile for your job search? Click here to read about my pricing and process.

 

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