Between those emails about "who's looking at your profile" and random endorsements from people you don't even know, LinkedIn can be a bit confusing. Still, it's a great professional tool if used properly—especially if you're in the market for a new job. With that in mind, we tapped Gigi Bozzano, chief executive officer of CareerWalk—an amazing (local!) career coaching and advice resource for mid- to upper-level professionals, executives, and entrepreneurs—to offer her top LinkedIn strategies for a successful job search. Bozzano and her team have coached thousands of women, but this advice is completely free—you're welcome!
Develop a LinkedIn strategy
Developing an effective strategy is essential for any successful marketing endeavor. It’s no different when it comes to LinkedIn. It costs nothing and can make all the difference between making that one connection who can lead you to an incredible job offer and hiding under the covers fearing that you’re going to end up living in a cardboard box under the expressway.
Determine exactly what you want to achieve from LinkedIn. There are only so many hours in a day, and knowing what you want to accomplish will not only allow you to maximize your time and achieve greater ROI but also focus on your goals. Just make sure to extend your reach and market share by using all of LinkedIn’s available resources.
Devote at least 45 minutes a day to LinkedIn
Develop a plan and schedule a time each day to devote to your LinkedIn strategy. Consistency is key in any job search and winning social media strategy. Make it part of your plan to connect to at least five new contacts a day. Unless you’re incredibly lucky right off the bat, you’ll need to keep making connections and getting your name out in front of the professionals who can best help you, whether by offering invaluable advice, referrals, or leads. Like in the dating world, many times a successful job search is just a matter of hitting the numbers each and every day. Just remember that all of us are busy, so keep the requests to meet for coffee to a bare minimum. You’ll receive a higher response rate if you just leave it out of the equation.
Spend only 10 percent of your time on LinkedIn Jobs and 90 percent on networking and making connections
According to a Weddle's employment survey, nearly 53 percent of job seekers said they expect to find their next job by posting their resume on an Internet job site or by answering a posting. What’s really sad is that only eight percent said they expect to find their next position by networking, which is why you are on LinkedIn.
Well, here's the real truth and it is much different than Weddle's numbers. Year in and year out, research by the leading outplacement consulting firms has demonstrated that at least 65 to 82 percent of professionals find a job through networking. Add a challenging job market and the percentage increases exponentially. Faced with decreased recruitment budgets, companies are learning that employee and strategic partner referrals and recommendations can not only maximize shrinking recruitment budgets but also guarantee a steady pool of high-caliber job candidates.
Always bear in mind that LinkedIn was started by a group of recruiters. They may not want to admit it, but LinkedIn Jobs is a genius way to screen out candidates and hide behind the Internet. Knowing this, why would you devote your time to something that offers such a poor return?
Getting a response from someone who is not responding to your emails or invitations to connect
My clients have had great success connecting with individuals who don’t respond to connection or information requests by joining a couple of groups to which these elusive professionals belong. Many people don’t know that once you are a member of a group you can click on the group’s member list and then click on “Send Message,” even if you are not connected to that person or a premium LinkedIn member. Someone who belongs to the same group as you do is much more prone to be willing to reach out.
Using LinkedIn database/advanced people finder
One of the first rules that a sales professional learns is to quickly find commonalities between himself and the sales prospect. The same rule applies when making second- and third-tier LinkedIn connections, asking for advice, or requesting informational interviews. Think about it. Aren’t you much more motivated to help someone with whom you share something in common? People tend to want to do business with others just like them. It’s nothing more than the “likeability” factor in motion.
By using LinkedIn’s database or advanced people finder, not only can you research someone’s background but you also can check out their community and volunteer involvements, causes, and professional affiliations. Always remember, “knowledge is power.”
Anonymously doing a company and title search
Want to find all of the professionals with an SVP of Marketing or CIO title in the greater Chicago, New York, or Phoenix area? All you need to do is a title and city search, and you will get an instant list of professionals with whom to connect. Before doing that, however, make sure you change your privacy settings to ensure that your search is anonymous.
If you’re trying to get a handle on a company’s retention/churn rate or culture, you also can easily research the average stay of employees by doing a company/employee search and making contact with individuals who have formerly worked with companies on your target list. Genius, right?
Following these LinkedIn strategies will let you gain control of your job search, drive more traffic to your LinkedIn profile, help you receive a job offer more quickly, and strategically close the gap from where you currently are to where you want to be. Good luck!