10 Smart Steps to Get a Job using your LinkedIn Profile

Posted by Lawrence Bond January 5, 2020

This article is not about ‘how’ to build your profile but about ‘how’ to use it to your advantage.

The rise of LinkedIn is astonishing, but in such a crowded market can it really help you get a new job or is it just one of those tools we feel compelled to use?

The internet is littered with advice for using LinkedIn to improve your chances of securing a new job. They tend to focus on the first stage of building your presence and whilst that’s clearly important, there are a few practical ideas that don’t appear regularly.

I have worked in this sector for over twenty years and I use these techniques when assisting my contacts with their job searches. Worryingly, I remember the days of roller-decks and posting dozens of CV’s. Whilst many people find the LinkedIn juggle a tough or time-consuming one to navigate when searching for a role, it’s still far easier than a mail-merge campaign or physically walking the streets to take your CV into potential employers as so many of us used to do!

As well as touching on some general, commonly discussed advice, importantly I’ll also cover some practical advice that has helped many of our contacts (including friends and family), to secure their desired roles directly via LinkedIn contact.

It’s fair to say that most job seekers invest time and effort into producing a strong CV (you would be amazed how often we have to correct grammar though!), and many carry this approach through to their LinkedIn profile, however that’s often where the effort on their ‘resume’ stops.

So many job seekers then rely on applications via job boards and the agencies they liaise with to secure a new role.

But how many job seekers really use their LinkedIn account to market themselves directly to suitable companies and contacts? Despite the current economic climate, you would be in the minority if you took time and care to market yourself well, and hopefully the content here will show how we at BondMoran work with our contacts to help them on their career path.

1) Be realistic, strategic & patient

Although the ideal situation is that you get immediate results, everyone would be doing this if it was easy. You need to manage your own expectations, be realistic and not lose enthusiasm if this process takes time.

2) Think like the recruiter at your target company

The job seekers market is very crowded and, rightly or wrongly, the individuals responsible for recruiting can often make swift decisions. Based on your profile, would that person be interested enough to progress from your picture and title, to the next section and so on?

Ultimately, would they think that they ‘had’ to contact you, save your details or connect with you? If you get into their mind-set and market yourself effectively, you can hugely increase the chances of your target contact engaging with you.

There are so many articles available online providing tips to improve your profile, and although I have not will covered this here, feel free to get in touch if you need guidance and some useful links.

3) Take time to think of ‘target’ companies

We often work with our candidates on this subject as it can often be key to your success.

These target companies should not just be the best-known brands, and the more thought you put into creating the list, the better results you’re likely to get.

Who would be particularly interested in your profile based on your industry background, your systems experience or even where you live? This could be competitors, suppliers or perhaps the customers of your recent companies. Maybe the size of the companies you have worked for will be a factor, a niche skill or even a passion or interest you have will be relevant.

Highlight the relevance early on in your contact and you will you will hugely increase your chances of opening dialog. Please do your best to make sure that the reader sees the connection and benefit to their business, whether in a private message or if this information is apparent and visible on your profile.

4) Be personal and direct

This is important and, if you get it right, it will further increase your odds! Personalise all connection request, InMails and messages that you send. Think about what increases the chances of you replying to someone you haven’t yet met. Use the name of the person you’re approaching, mention shared connections, groups etc.

Let the recipient know that you’re connecting as you’re keen to keep in touch regarding any opportunities to work together and again, don’t be afraid to highlight your relevance and connection to them and their sector.

5) Decide who is best to approach

Once you have this list, see if you have 1st or 2nd connections at these businesses. Establish who the recruiters are at these businesses whether they’re Directors, HR, Internal Recruiters.

Then, only when you’re entirely satisfied with your profile, connect with these contacts. Use mutual connections to introduce you or send engaging connection requests and remember to personalise your approach to increase the engagement and the chances of a response.

Think about joining groups that your target contacts are also members of to give you mutual ground or look at their interests and contribute to groups that they’re active on e.g. if the MD of your favourite business sees you contributing to discussions on shared groups or asking for recommendations about job seeking, it may give you a better chance of opening dialog.

At BondMoran, we do this a lot but it does require time, thought and effort.

6) Check whether a company is hiring

Although it is more reactive, LinkedIn Company pages also enable you to “follow” companies in which you are interested. When you follow a company on LinkedIn you get updates on new hires, promotions/changes at the company and even job opportunities. You’ll start seeing these updates on your homepage when you login.

You can use the information gained from this approach to open dialog on relevant subjects with your target contacts.

Occasionally and where you feel it appropriate, consider whether you are able to use this information with other businesses in the same sector e.g. “I noticed that Company ABC was hiring in this discipline and I wondered if you were experiencing similar growth?”.

This type of conversation may depend on your relationship with your contact, however discussing industry info that may not even be common knowledge, could open dialog, show that you have your finger on the pulse and potentially open doors.

7) Get the word out

If it’s not confidential, tell your network that you’re looking for a new job. This has become easier with recent features on LinkedIn and it’s an easy way to update those in your network and ensure that they know you are now looking for a new position. Don’t be afraid to message your network and ask for help too. That’s what networks are for and the more eyes and ears working on your behalf, the better (unless your search is confidential!).

Using tools that we have access to on the LinkedIn Recruiter accounts that many consultancies and in-house recruiters use, we have been able to see who is ‘Open To Opportunities’ long before LinkedIn’s green circle.

A huge number of our placements are result of this status gaining our attention. Clearly we prioritised these candidates over more passive individuals who may not have been interested in hearing about a new position. The same logic will apply to companies pro-actively searching and finding your profile so please ensure you send out the right signals.

8) Grow your network

As well as connecting with relevant contacts at target companies, join beneficial groups and connect with credible recruitment contacts at consultancies in your chosen sector. It certainly doesn’t hurt, and you’ll get to see their posts which often leads to more ideas and information. Add relevant thought leaders and credible industry contacts to your network as they too may have good roles for you and you just never know where help or inspiration will come from.

9) Make sure that you’re contactable

Make sure your profile contact settings are correct. Have your contact details visible and if you set up your LinkedIn account with a rarely used email address, make sure that you either change that or start checking that email account as that’s where messages sent to you are likely to go.

I have my phone number and many other contact details on my profile as I want to make it easy for contacts to get in touch. It’s just a shame that my ‘home office’ has awful mobile reception!

10) Follow Up

Keep a note of everyone you connect with and follow and keep in touch as roles and situations are constantly changing in every company.

If you receive a notification that a contact has moved into another role or business, wish them congratulations and find out who the new, relevant contact would be. If they were doing a role that you could manage, think about contacting another person at that business too.

‘Like’ posts from target recruiters – they will always take notice (I definitely keep an eye open for who has liked, shared or commented on my BondMoran activity).

And remember, don’t rely solely on LinkedIn

If you believe everything you read online, LinkedIn is the answer to hiring, job seeking and a lot of life’s greatest problems. It shouldn’t come as a surprise but….it’s not.

It’s a great, intuitive resource that we didn’t have 10-15 years ago and used properly, it will massively increase the odds of you finding a new role either directly or indirectly, however don’t rely solely on this. Keep networking, applying for jobs and doing all of the ‘old skool’ things that you may have done in the past.

Finally, let me know how you get on.

At BondMoran, we are a smaller, intimate consultancy and we really care. If you do have success from this advice, let me know (I drink red!) as we love to get feedback. Even just knowing that you have found this useful, could be the start of a beautiful working relationship!

If you have any questions, you’re looking for a mid-senior level accountancy role or you are involved in hiring staff, we would love the chance to have a chat and built a trusting, value-add relationship for the future.

If you want a smile, check out my ramblings for my view on the world of recruitment: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lawrencebond/