There’s no doubt that looking for a job during a pandemic is exceptionally challenging. Right now, millions are furloughed, underemployed or out of work. The United States unemployment rate was 6.7% (with 10 million+ unemployed) in November 2020, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics latest news release. While this number has declined over the last six months, it’s not close to the 3.5% level reported in February 2020.
That said, looking for a job in a booming economy isn’t easy either. When people feel confident in finding another job, they often decide to begin exploring opportunities. As they move from being passive job seekers (those who need to be enticed to move) to active job seekers, competition for plum positions grows.
The truth is, standing out from your competition is essential in any job market. It’s particularly important when you’re pursuing executive roles. One of the most effective ways to do that is by establishing yourself as a thought leader. Someone that people can recognize as an authority in their industry.
While you can’t become a thought leader overnight, you can begin working toward that today by providing value to your colleagues and community.
A tight job market means tougher competition. People who hadn’t considered moving a couple of years ago are passively looking. Those casually looking have transitioned from passive to active job seekers.
Today, standing out from your competition is essential.
If you’re a senior executive or pursing those roles, one of the best strategies is to have others see you as an authority in your industry, a thought leader.
One way to be recognized as a thought leader is to share knowledge with your community.
Whether you’re actively looking for a new job or just want to keep your options open, LinkedIn has a lot to offer. Of course, you need to have a robust LinkedIn profile. Today, LinkedIn is like Google for people, without an optimized profile it’s unlikely you’ll be seen in a recruiter’s search.
But creating a compelling LinkedIn profile is only the beginning. Over the last few years, LinkedIn has added several functions that can help you move forward in your job search.
Here are 4 ways to up your chances of finding a job through LinkedIn.
Tell Recruiters Your Looking
If you’re actively looking or even open to new opportunities, LinkedIn lets you tell recruiters you’re looking for free. It only takes a few minutes to go into your Settings & Privacy and set up your Job Seeking Preferences.
Once you click on Manage Job Alerts, LinkedIn allows you to edit your Career Interests. In Career Interests, you’ll have the opportunity to select Job titles you’re considering, types of jobs you’re open to, the size of the company you’d like to work for, and more. LinkedIn notes that while they can’t guarantee your employer won’t find out, they “take steps to keep Recruiter users who work at your company, as well as related companies, from seeing the career interests that you share.”
If you’ve been looking for a new job for more than 5 minutes, you’ve heard that you need to target employers. Most often, the advice is to develop a list of target employers, i.e. the employers you would most like to work for. Then, find a way to network your way in.
This strategy is recommended for a few reasons.
First, the best way to hear about jobs is by regularly checking the career section of your target’s website and/or knowing someone who works there. As a former recruiter, I can say that the only reason that businesses don’t post open positions is when the person doesn’t know they are being replaced.
Second, a resume given directly to someone at a company is more effective than responding to an ad on a job board. This can also be incredibly helpful if done after you respond to an online ad.
FYI, if a recruiter contacts you about an open position where you have a connection be sure to mention it. They may ask you to reach out to your connection to help grease the wheels.
When Microsoft purchased LinkedIn, everyone knew there would be changes. The end of last year, LinkedIn rolled out a big one. It’s called Resume Assistant.
According to LinkedIn, Resume Assistant provides samples from successful professionals that can be used as inspiration for members who want to update their resumes.
“Resume Assistant, provides real examples of how other professionals are describing their work experience — such as how they write their profile summary or explain responsibilities in their role — so you can highlight your skills in the right way to get the job you want.”
Essentially, it allows LinkedIn members access to the summaries, job descriptions, etc. of other members. Once the member provides their industry or target job title, Resume Assistant pulls what is called “insights” from other members’ profiles.
One problem is that it’s not opt-in, it’s opt-out. So, you profile can be accessed by Resume Assistant unless you change some of your settings.
Although LinkedIn is primarily a business networking site, it’s still considered social media. That’s part of the reason having a profile photo and, with the new user interface, a background photo too.
That said, LinkedIn is not Facebook. Which means your photo needs to be recruiter and employer ready.
Despite this, I often seen inappropriate photos used in LinkedIn profiles.
I don’t mean the obvious mistakes like party photos, although I’ve seen them, it’s photos that people have put some thought into.
It’s always surprising to me how many people don’t have a photo on their LinkedIn profile. A lot of people just don’t get around to it. These are generally the folks with the “skeleton” LinkedIn profiles with very little information.
Some people don’t put a photo on their LinkedIn profile because they’re afraid of discrimination. While most of these concerns seem to be related to age discrimination, I’m sure others are afraid of being discriminated against for other reasons.
The thing is that when you don’t have a photo on your LinkedIn profile recruiters and hiring managers wonder why. If they don’t see a photo while doing a LinkedIn search many won’t bother to click on the profile.
As you probably know, LinkedIn has rolled out a new user interface. Some things are gone, like the Advice for Contacting section. This makes it a bit trickier to make it easy for people to contact you, if you’re conducting a confidential job search.
But, there are also new sections that make it easier for you to showcase your brand. For example, the opportunity to insert a background photo.
Unfortunately, just as with their LinkedIn headline, many users leave LinkedIn’s default background shot.
Inserting a personal background photo on your LinkedIn profile is as simple as putting a cover shot on your Facebook page. And it serves a similar purpose.
It gives readers a chance to immediately learn a bit about you.
Beyond that, leaving the default background shot makes you appear outdated and lacking technological savvy.
Here are a few ways to update your LinkedIn profile today,
Standing out is critical in a job search. Showing recruiters and hiring managers what makes you different, why they should hire you is key. While your resume is a great way to market yourself, LinkedIn offers additional ways to catch a recruiter’s attention.
Yes, a compelling summary and achievement-focused job descriptions are vital. If you’re serious about your job search you should carefully craft your LinkedIn profile or hire a pro to do it for you.
Unfortunately, even the most diligent job seekers often forget to add documents, photos, and media.
There are many things you can add to your LinkedIn profile. Save recruiters and employers time by uploading your resume in Word or PDF format. Got a certification? There’s probably a JPEG for that.
In September 2016, LinkedIn announced a redesign of its desktop (non-app) user interface. The announcement noted, “This is the largest redesign since LinkedIn’s inception.” The design update is expected to bring the desktop experience closer to what users of the LinkedIn mobile app are used to seeing.
More important than how LinkedIn will look once the redesign is rolled out is what features will — or won’t — still be included.
In the past, when LinkedIn has refreshed its user interface, it has removed features. In anticipation that this may happen with the forthcoming redesign, you should consider backing up your LinkedIn profile right now, so you don’t lose any data.
I don’t have the new version yet, but I know several people who do. I’ve gone through this process, it takes 5-10 minutes at most.