You take your professional development course, excel in your externship, ace your certification exam, and then…
It’s time to tackle the job hunt.
When I googled the words “job hunting is…” I found results like “hard. Stressful. Humiliating. Exhausting.” Needless to say, job hunting can be intimidating, but there are many tools available to make the job search process easier. One of my favorite tools is the online networking platform LinkedIn, and I will share a few tips to make your networking experience more successful.
WHAT IS LINKEDIN?
In the most basic of terms, LinkedIn is a social network for professionals. You build “connections” (similar to the concept of friends on Facebook) that you can interact with by messaging or commenting on one another’s posts. Your profile is essentially a resume where you can list your work experience, education, and accomplishments. Other LinkedIn users have the ability to endorse your skills and write recommendations for you.
Many LinkedIn users join groups where they can network with other users in their industry, or they use LinkedIn Learning to master relevant skills. One of the most popular ways to use LinkedIn is to talk to recruiters and search for jobs.
HOW DO I USE LINKEDIN TO SEARCH FOR JOBS?
To search for jobs in a specific industry and location:
- Click on the “Jobs” icon at the top of the LinkedIn dashboard.
- You will then see a rectangular box that says, “Search for your next job.” You can choose to search by title, skill, or company; city, state, or zip code; or both.
- Let’s say you were to search for “Pharmacy Technician” in “Chattanooga, Tennessee.” A listing of jobs will appear. At the top of the page, you can filter the jobs so they are sorted into categories. You can sort the jobs by:
- Relevancy or recency
- Mile radius from the location you searched
- Job classification
- Date posted
- LinkedIn features (example: if the job listing has under 10 applicants)
- Once you find a job you’re ready to apply for, you can either save the job and apply later or apply on the spot. If you save the job application for later, find it by clicking on the Jobs icon and then clicking on the Saved Jobs tab. You can look at your Applied Jobs too (located right beside the Saved Jobs tab). If you choose to apply on the spot, different companies have various ways of having you fill out the application. Sometimes the Apply button will take you to the company website, while other times you can apply directly on LinkedIn with LinkedIn Easy Apply.
HOW DO I BUILD CONNECTIONS?
Building connections on LinkedIn is important. It shows potential employers that you are credible, and by doing so, you are more visible to potential employers. There are many specific ways to build connections—through alumni, LinkedIn groups, and advanced search. This article is hitting the basics, though, and the most basic way to build connections is to connect with those already in your social circle. These users can be family, friends, and coworkers (past and present), but also acquaintances or those you have connected with on other social media channels. Send personalized notes to those you are messaging, especially those you haven’t spoken to in a while. You can always say, “Hi, Lydia! It’s been a while, and I hope you are doing well. I would love to connect with you on LinkedIn and learn about your professional endeavors. Have a wonderful day!”
There are two basic ways to quickly and effectively build connections with those already in your network:
- Search individually for people’s names in the left search bar located at the top of LinkedIn.
- Click on the “My Network” icon at the top of the LinkedIn dashboard. The page that appears is where LinkedIn will suggest connections based on your industry, educational experiences, current location, etc.
HOW DO I TALK TO RECRUITERS?
First, you may be wondering, “What even is a recruiter?”
The Business Directory definition says a recruiter is “an individual who works to fill job openings in businesses or organizations. Recruiters will work from resumes or by actively soliciting individuals qualified for positions.”
If you’d like to connect with a recruiter on LinkedIn, use the top left-hand search bar and begin looking for recruiters in your industry. (For example, when I typed in “healthcare recruiter,” the screenshot at the end of this section popped up on my screen).
You can also filter recruiters by location or company at the top of the screen.
When you’re ready to reach out to a recruiter, click on their profile and hit the “Connect” button. I strongly suggest adding a personalized message with your request that includes your name and why you are connecting with them. Look for ways to establish common ground (for example, you attended the same university), and use those commonalities to add a more personal touch. For example, let’s say I am messaging a healthcare recruiter named Derek Smith. I can send a message like:
“Hi, Derek. I noticed you attended Lee University. I am part of the Class of 2019 and would love to connect with other alumni! I am actually looking for a new opportunity as a medical auditor in the Chattanooga area. I would appreciate any words of advice or guidance you might possibly have. Would you be interested in connecting and having a conversation?”
Later, you’ll want to send a follow-up message to connections that accept your request to further establish your relationship. When talking to recruiters, it’s important to be genuine, listen intently to what they have to say, and ask great questions. Check out more in-depth advice on how to speak to recruiters who have accepted your invitation to connect.
Another piece of networking advice that I find valuable is a quote by Heminia Ibarra, FBA, who is an organizational behavior professor at London Business School. She pinned the quote, “Networking is a lot like nutrition and fitness: we know what to do, the hard part is making it a top priority.” This reminds me that I can’t network for two hours during one day and expect results. Networking requires dedication, time, and effort. However, the results that come from networking, like a potential job opportunity or a new relationship, make the hard work worthwhile.
You now know what to do, so go after that job you want and use your LinkedIn skills to do so. Happy networking!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Hi! My name is Marah Whitaker (think Laura with an M). I am the Marketing Assistant for UTC Center for Professional Education. During the workday, I spend time writing blog posts, creating content for social media, developing email campaigns, and building relationships with our customer base. During my free time, you can find me getting lost in a good book, having spontaneous dance parties, playing piano, and going to Buffalo Wild Wings on Wing Night. Professionally and personally, I aspire to live by the Mr. Feeny quote, “Dream. Believe. Try. Do Good.” I strive to use my passions to serve others and contribute positively to the world around me.
Connect with me on LinkedIn.