You’ve probably heard about the “hidden” job market. It’s really not some secret place where the jobs are. It’s about the number of jobs that get filled through referrals. And that’s why career professionals talk about networking. Contrary to popular belief, that’s not simply making connections on platforms like LinkedIn, it’s building relationships with people who will think of you when they hear about a job that might interest you.
While job boards have their place, spending all your time applying to jobs online isn’t practical. Neither is expecting recruiters to contact you, even if your LinkedIn profile and other social media profiles are compelling. .
While 65% of recruiters use Linkedin to source candidates, according to the 2021 Jobvite Recruiter Nation Report other platforms have gained popularity. Facebook came in at 68%, Instagram at 46%, and YouTube at 35%. The report also notes that recruiting on TikTok is on the rise.
The majority of recruiters (53%), however, noted they found the highest quality candidates on LinkedIn.
Just remember, recruiters don’t work for you; they work for the employer. They are online looking for candidates to fill specific positions. More precisely, they are looking for a square peg to fit into a square hole. If you are a round peg, you’re out of luck.
After two years of virtual everything, in-person events are back. I’m headed to 2 holiday networking events this week. It’s the first time I’ll be going to a local industry event in over two years. I’m excited and a bit nervous.
Most people I talk to say they hate networking events. They feel awkward and uncomfortable. They are tired of boring conversations. And they feel like they never met anyone anyway.
If that’s you, I’m going to help you change that right now.
CHANGE YOUR ATTITUDE
Let’s start with attitude. A lot of people don’t like networking because they think of it as transactional. They are going to an event to ask people for help.
A better attitude, go to events to meet people, and think about how you can help them.
While walking into a room of strangers who seem to all be friends isn’t easy for most of us. There are many ways to make it easier, even fun.
Some think the idea of having a personal brand is something new. It’s not. I first read a book about personal branding almost 20 years ago. Fast Company published an article about personal branding—”The Brand Called You” by Tom Peters—in 1997. Whether you realize it or not, you already have a personal brand. It’s what people say and think about you when you’re not around. You probably think of it as your reputation.
Everything you say and do in person and online affects your personal brand. As your face to the business world, your LinkedIn profile contributes to that. You’re missing opportunities if you’re not using your profile banner and Featured and Professional Experience sections to boost your brand.
LinkedIn Profile Banner
I’m surprised how many LinkedIn profiles still have LinkedIn’s default background image. The current two-tone grey and cream default background is more subdued than the previous shades of LinkedIn blue with connected dots. Still, it’s ineffective. Not uploading a background image makes your profile, and by extension, you, look generic.
Stock images of cityscapes, landscapes, etc., that I’ve seen many people use on their profiles are better than LinkedIn’s default. If you decide to use stock images, look for photos that are related to your business, career or industry in some way. And make sure to purchase the rights to use them. Otherwise, you could be liable for copyright infringement.
If you want to differentiate yourself from the millions of others on LinkedIn, developing a reputation as a thought leader should be one of your strategies. If you’re new to LinkedIn or just new to the idea of engaging with other members, the easiest way to begin is by commenting on other people’s posts.
Engagement doesn’t mean scrolling madly through your feed, adding comments like “great post!” or “Love it!” That’s people who race around networking events, handing their business cards to every stranger because they just lost their job. Not a good look.
When people like me talk about “commenting,” they mean sharing at least 5-6 words that indicate you at least read the post. Sharing a few lines about why you liked the post is better. Providing insights that add to the conversation is better still.
Once you’ve got your footing, it’s time to begin creating and sharing content.
LinkedIn supports several options based on your purpose and comfort zone.
There are several content options. LinkedIn supports a variety of content that you can use based on your purpose and comfort zone. Text posts can be short or long, depending on the time you want to spend. Articles like this, sometimes referred to as long-form posts, are used to delve more deeply into a topic.
If you’re looking for a new opportunity or potential clients, you need to be on LinkedIn. At this writing, there are 850 million members in 200 countries around the globe, according to LinkedIn stats.
So that means while LinkedIn is full of opportunities, it’s also a big, noisy place. One of the best ways to stand out is with a profile video. Uploading a profile video, which plays silently for three seconds when someone clicks on your profile, gives people the chance to “meet” you: to learn a bit about who you are and what you do.
We’ve all heard the adage that people prefer to hire and work with people they know, like and trust. Creating a LinkedIn profile video can help move the getting-to-know-you process forward.
This feature was first rolled out in 2021 as Cover Story. It was updated and renamed Profile Video in early 2022. The change included providing stats on how many people have viewed your video.
Despite being widely available, many members still haven’t uploaded a profile video. They’ve decided to pass on a feature that can help them immediately stand out.
Most recruiters and hiring managers are sourcing candidates on social media, particularly LinkedIn. In fact, 53% of recruiters said they found the highest quality candidates on Linkedin when responding to Jobvite’s 2021 Recruiter Nation Survey. This is great news if you have a robust, optimized LinkedIn profile.
As a recruiter I spent hours on LinkedIn sourcing candidates, often scrolling through 500+ possible matches. Some were easily eliminated due to missing or inappropriate photos. My all-time favorite unsuitable photo is the woman wearing a wedding gown, veil, and all.
Potential candidates fell into 2 categories:1) Yes, contact them immediately and 2) they might be a possibility. The one thing that consistently moved candidates from maybe to yes was if it was easy to contact them.
The point is, don’t make the mistake of thinking if recruiters want to contact you they will track you down or use an InMail. Unless they think you are a perfect candidate, they may not. You can increase your odds by making it easy for them by including contact information on your LinkedIn profile.
Like most of my colleagues, I tell my clients that having a photo on their LinkedIn profile is essential. For one thing, it improves your visibility. Profiles with profile pictures can get up to 21 times more views than profiles without them, according to LinkedIn.
A strong, engaging profile photo can help you get a job or land new clients. It’s the first thing recruiters see when searching LinkedIn for potential candidates. It’s the first thing people who’ve been given your name see when they visit your profile to learn more about you. If you don’t have a photo, most people will wonder why.
Your LinkedIn profile represents you on the business world stage. So, it’s important to post a headshot with a professional yet approachable look. While “professional” varies by industry, smiles are universal.
While I know all this and preach it to my friends and clients, I was surprised at the impact things like a photo’s background had on people’s opinions. Although, I’m not big on sharing photos of myself, I thought providing this example was worth it.