11 Jan How to use LinkedIn to get hired
LinkedIn was designed as a means to help people network to find jobs. With millions of users worldwide, it has now become many recruiter’s main focus for finding candidates. But how can you get yourself into a position to be found and recruited into your ideal role?
The first thing, is that LinkedIn is often a long game. It takes some time to build up to be effective for anyone. Whilst some “overnight successes” happen, they are pretty rare. So if you’re even considering leaving the Forces, get onto LinkedIn ASAP as the more time you’re on there, the increased chances you’ll have of being able to secure a brilliant new job.
Firstly, think of LinkedIn as a search engine. LinkedIn has a search function which, depending on your subscription has various levels of sophistication. Even a basic search will trawl through profiles to find key words that the searcher has used. LinkedIn will review profiles and look at the relevance based on both the key word density and other factors in relation to how close a connection they are to you in the network.
So the first step is to figure out what key words you want to be found for. Clearly, you can’t use an entire dictionary’s worth; you’ll need to narrow it down. Then you can weave those key words into your profile. This will mean that you’ll need to complete a profile which might seem unnatural given what you’ve been told about social media use whilst serving.
You can place your top keywords into your headline. That means when it comes to searches, when only your headline is shown, it makes it really clear that you have a relevant profile that is worth exploring more.
You can include them in your “about section”. If you view that section similar to an elevator pitch, you won’t go far wrong. Basically, 1 paragraph about you and why a recruiter or hiring manager should talk to you.
The easiest place to weave those key words into is the experience section, perhaps as job titles or in your list of responsibilities and achievements. But your LinkedIn profile also has space for projects so you could also include them in there. You could also include them into the education section or maybe some voluntary activity that you’ve done. Finally, there is also a skills section that you can utilize for this too.
However, don’t shoe-horn in they key words so that it looks heavy handed to read. Your key words should naturally fit into the rest of what you have written.
LinkedIn is brilliant for networking which is where it’s real success lies; connecting people. So if you want to work in a particularly industry, start connecting with people who already work in that industry/ for companies that interest you. When they share posts about recruiting, you’ll see them. And, if the company is searching for people, if you’re connected to the recruiter/hiring manager or others that they know, you will likely place higher in the search results.
You can personalise a connection request if you wish. We would recommend you do so for people that you may wish to talk to. Try “Hi [person’s name], I will be leaving the Armed Forces in the next few months. I’m really interested in working in [industry or company name] and would like to connect with you to help me learn about that. Many thanks,” Most people are happy to connect and quite polite in their responses.
If you’re not paying a subscription for LinkedIn, then you are restricted to how many people you can connect with in one go. But currently, the limit is assessed to be around 100 per week. So if you’re connecting with 10 people per day, you’ll be fine. To find relevant people to connect with, you can search LinkedIn too. Simply type the role of the typical people you want to connect with and then filter the search results by industry, location &/or current company. If you are connecting with people though, please don’t connect and then immediately ask them “can you get me a job”. The short answer will be highly unlikely and people won’t recommend strangers, they’ll want to get to know you first. So focus on seeking advice or learning from others, as that will be much more successful.
ENGAGE WITH OTHERS
The final piece that LinkedIn loves is engagement. I don’t mean the diamond ring types you’ll be pleased to hear. But conversations instead. LinkedIn works hard to encourage conversations on it’s pages about the content put out there. So how could you engage your growing audience? Firstly, you could post about topics that interest you or about what you are doing. Clearly if still serving be mindful of OpSec and “lines to take” issues. However, topics about resettlement, transition, training that you’re doing, the industries you’re targeting etc should all be pretty safe subjects.
Next, alongside putting your content out there in posts, you can react to others posts. This includes reactions like, love, support, celebrate, insightful, curious. Also, the top type of engagement is to comment on other’s posts too. Again, all these actions increase your visibility on LinkedIn and improve the chances of you being seen by relevant recruiters. A word of warning though. You might think that sharing someone’s posts would be great for engagement. But, somewhat illogically it isn’t. If you share someone’s post, you actually reduce the spread of that post and perhaps minimise who can see it. To support the spread of a post such as from Joint Force Alba, your best bet is to react or comment on the post. That way, it will appear in the newsfeed of your connections, identifying that you’ve reacted or commented on that post.
LinkedIn evolves. New features are developed and the algorithm changes regularly to keep up with user behaviour. To get the best effect from LinkedIn, you need to use it regularly and consistently. You can’t “binge” it and get good results generally. So try and set aside some time most days of the week so have a look through it, react/comment on posts, put your own content out there and connect with others to grow your network. Then you’ll start to yield results with increased engagement and visibility. Good luck!