It’s been a really tough year for employment. All over the country, people at all stages of their career progression have been affected by the impact of Covid-19 on the job market.
Whether you’re a current pupil who is anxious about the future, or a former student or staff member who has fallen onto hard times, we understand how difficult it has been to look for new opportunities.
Breaking into or progressing within your desired career can be daunting at the best of times, let alone when the job market is oversaturated and many sectors have become more competitive.
We know how disheartening this can be. If you’re currently out of work, it’s easy to become dejected and worried about the future. It’s also difficult to stay positive – and productive – in your job search.
How do you stand out from other applicants?
How can you catch the eye of recruiters and hiring managers?
How will you get hired if your usual means of applying for jobs are currently unsuccessful?
In this article, we’re going to teach you how to use LinkedIn to answer all of these questions, and bring you closer to your next opportunity.
Step One: Create a Strong LinkedIn Profile
The first step to using LinkedIn for your job search is to create a profile that captures the right attention. Maybe this means creating your first account, or perhaps you’re already a user, but your profile is sorely neglected, your most recent updates years out of date and gathering digital dust. Either way, we can get you on the right track.
Picking an Appropriate Profile Picture
When you’ve created (or revived) your LinkedIn account, first thing’s first: picking an appropriate picture. This can feel daunting if you’re new to professional networking, but don’t dwell on it too much. The most important thing is to appear approachable. While you want an element of professionalism (maybe don’t choose a photo taken at the pub, for example), showing that you are warm and personable should be prioritised. Also ensure you share as much of your face as possible.
Whatever you do, don’t be tempted to skip this stage. LinkedIn research has shown that having a picture can make your profile up to 14 times more likely to be viewed.
Creating an Enticing Headline
Your headline will be the first thing that a potential employer sees. Even without viewing your profile, your headline is visible. This is the first chance to be enticing, engaging, and stand out.
Try to use keywords for your desired industry that’ll appear in the LinkedIn search algorithms. Use a combination of these, or create a short, snappy statement that resonates with the pain points that an employer at your dream role might be hiring to solve.
Make Use of LinkedIn’s Additional Features
While you should incorporate your skills, interests, and experience, try not to think of your LinkedIn profile as a digital CV. You have the opportunity here to create something much more engaging.
Use the media tool to attach examples of your best work or showcase any knowledge you’ve accrued. You could write articles or create graphics or videos on any specialist subjects.
There’s the LinkedIn Jobs feature too. This is a great place to look for exciting roles in your field that may not necessarily be advertised elsewhere. You can toggle jobs by sector and location and get email alerts for relevant listings.
Step Two: Build Your Network
Again, LinkedIn isn’t just a digital CV. It’s a professional social network. Growing that network can not only make your profile appear more active and engaged, it can make the algorithm work in your favour.
It could also help to open more doors than you might think. If you’re actively looking for a new role, you could make connections aware – someone may be able to give you the head’s up on a new opportunity. Personal recommendations or referrals are always helpful.
Start by connecting with those that you already know such as former colleagues, fellow pupils, or anyone you have previously met through offline networking.
Using alumni search, you can connect with fellow Old Blues who are working in the same sector. While ‘mass adding’, connecting with a multitude of strangers with no mutual connection or interest, isn’t recommended, there’s no harm in reaching out to those that inhabit similar spaces. Especially if you take the time to create personalised connection messages.
Listing your skills is great, but can you prove them? If you feel comfortable, ask close connections or former colleagues to leave you an endorsement, or even a recommendation to showcase proof of those skills. This will help you to build credibility.
If you don’t have anyone to ask, you can use LinkedIn’s Skill Assessment feature to earn skill badges on your profile.
Be an Active User
It may sound obvious, but don’t be afraid to make use of LinkedIn’s simplest feature: sharing or creating posts.
Being an active, engaged user will help you. Whether that’s sharing or engaging with the content of others, or creating your own, it’ll show prospective employers that you are actively engaged with your desired industry. It’ll demonstrate that you have experience, passion, and something to add. Don’t hesitate to share your personal and professional achievements.
Step Three: Be Discoverable
While LinkedIn’s Jobs feature is useful, the popularity of ‘passive recruitment’ is growing. Often, recruiters use LinkedIn to search for prospective employees who haven’t applied – and may not even be actively looking for work.
If you want them to find you, you have to make sure you can be found. Ensure that the appropriate keywords are scattered throughout your profile – in your headline, in your ‘About’ section, in the content that you post, even in your skills and experience. You can set your profile to open to new work and list relevant positions that you’re interested in.
This is where building your network helps. The algorithm is more likely to pull up profiles that are closer connections to the searcher. By having a broader network, you may be more likely to show up organically when a hiring manager is looking for potential applicants.
Job seeking can be difficult, disheartening, and daunting. But using LinkedIn can give you an edge and help you to stand out. Try your best to stay positive, and remember, whether you’re still a Blue or an Old Blue, the Benevolent Society of Blues was designed to help you through any hardship. Don’t hesitate to contact us for advice or for further assistance, and you can find our additional resources here.