LinkedIn. A bit of a beast, but also the best way forward when you're on the job hunt. Here are some hacks most of the other candidates aren't using.
1. Use the "See Who's Viewed Your Profile" tool to your advantage
We know. It's embarrassing. But you can use that creepy tracking system to get your name on your interviewer or future manager’s radar. When you apply for a job, search for your possible interviewer, future boss, or recruiter's LinkedIn profile. (Make sure your profile viewing settings are set to your name and headline before you do this, otherwise it won’t work.) When your name pops up on their “See Who’s Viewed Your Profile” section and then again in the resume pile, you increase the chance that they'll take a second look because they’ve seen your name before. During my job search, I looked up the recruiter, the HR manager, and my potential superiors. Two of them returned the profile view and a week later I got an email for an interview!
2. Actually update and post to your profile
It’s great and all when that potential interviewer checks out your profile, but if you haven’t updated your experience or changed your profile photo to something more professional, it's not going to matter. Though this isn’t a totally “unknown hack,” it’s definitely something applicants frequently miss on their to-do list. Before applying, update your experience, but leave out any unnecessary jobs—your high school babysitting gig probably isn’t as relevant as some of your more recent experience. When I started my job search, I had narrowed down what I wanted to do so I removed some of my irrelevant experience—like my bartending and student desk jobs—since they didn’t apply to the jobs I was after.
3. Rewrite your headline
“Student at the University of Something” definitely isn’t as appealing as “Digital Communication and Millennial Marketing Specialist.” Make yourself sound intriguing, hireable, and knowledgeable. From my experience, standing out as a student or recent grad can either help or hurt you, so if you leave that out of your initial impression via your headline, you have a better chance of showing off your skills and experience without being prejudged based on your graduation date. (Side note: don’t ever lie about your graduation date.) I chose Media Communication Professional since it rounded up my experience in communication and digital media while also proving that I knew what I was doing without overstating my experience.
4. Join groups and connect with recruiters
The best way to connect with other industry professionals and recruiters is to join relevant groups—and actually participate in them. There are hundreds of groups for every industry and even general groups designed for meeting recruiters (see: The Recruiter.com Network). I’ve joined countless groups related to my industry, my interests, and even alumni groups from companies and schools I’ve been involved with—not only for networking but also for research and educational purposes. A lot of people post relevant industry content (of their own and shared) that helps me continue my education and networking post-job search. Go a step further by being one of the people posting content. Position yourself as an industry professional right away and watch those future recruiters come crawling.
5. Ask for recommendations
You can't just sit around waiting for things to come your way. Don’t get me wrong, it can feel awkward to ask someone to post a ton of nice things about you, but it’s going to get that recruiter to call you in for an interview. When they see a variety of fantastic recommendations from your coworkers and superiors, they’re going to know you’re a superstar and offer you an interview ASAP. To get around that awkwardness, pay attention to the way you word your request and who you ask! Make sure you only ask someone who has actually worked closely with you and can vouch for your skills.
So I asked my immediate supervisor and simply said that I valued her opinion and that I would be honored to have her recommendation. It’s that simple! Whatever you do, don’t use the default message provided by LinkedIn—it’s impersonal and comes off quite rude! If your recommender is going to take the time to write something for you, take the time to ask kindly.
This post originated on, www.careercontessa.com.