This Post Originally Appeared on LinkedIn 3 Steps for How to Get A Job Using LinkedIn (without looking like you are job hunting!)
When we help make connections and introductions for our coachees, other senior leaders and friends who are beginning the journey of finding their next career move, there are many proven best practice ways of connecting and networking in the real world that really do work helping get the job you want.
In the last few years it has become increasingly apparent that the successful use of LinkedIn also has to become a core strand of your job search strategy and many of our real world recommendations directly translate into powerful ways to leverage the LinkedIn platform.
A quick caveat: I am NOT job hunting! My profile is written for a different purpose. So this one falls into the category of do as I say, not as I do. So here we go, this is a summary of my current advice for our clients and friends who are seeking new roles.
How come 'Without looking like you are job hunting'?
There are two reasons you don't want to look like you are looking.
One is obvious; you usually don't want your current employer to know.
Number two is more subtle.
When you are connecting and networking in the real world with a view to finding a new role, just about the worst thing you can tell someone is "I'm looking for a job". The immediate effect is to frighten off your contacts – they almost certainly don't have a role there and then and they will now be thinking, I would like to help, but I can't. At best you'll get a "Send me your resume and I'll pass it on to HR". Anything that involves HR is pretty much the death of your job search so you definitely don't want this and at worst you will also kill your networking process dead too.
The same applies to LinkedIn, as soon as you appear as a supplicant looking for a role, you will end up as just another profile in the metaphorical or actual pile of resumes; and again that's the end of the line.
3 Steps to Do It Well
There is a much better approach to getting found and successfully selling yourself into your next role using LinkedIn. Here is what you need to do in 3 steps:
- Step 1: Get the Profile Right.
- Step 2: Get Active.
- Step 3: Get Networking.
Before you start all this, there are some profile fundamentals too, which I am assuming your have done already! So just to check:
- Upload a good professional profile photo
- Use the new profile background image feature
- Use all the rich media options that you can now include in your profile – if you want to see someone who does this outstandingly well have a search through some profiles and as a great example have a look at this one: Chris Reed on LinkedIn who knows all about best practices in marketing with LinkedIn
- Turn on 'open profile' so people can easily connect with you
- Turn on the feature that lets others see that you have viewed their profile
- Upgrade to one of the premium levels so you can find people more easily
- Get and give loads of recommendations
- Turn OFF the feature that notifies your network of changes to your profile (you'll be making a lot of changes and you don't want to spam your network with these)
STEP 1: GET THE PROFILE RIGHT
There are three core elements in a profile that gets you found on LinkedIn and can form the basis of a great sell.
Most people tend to use the headline as simple a place to put your job title. Please Don't! Instead the headline is the first way of selling the value you bring to a job.
Think about who you are first. Even better think about who you want to be in the next job that you want. Ideally you need to be able to complete the sentence "I am…." For your next job.
What follows the 'I am' is a statement of the benefits that you bring, like a summary of what someone will get if they hire you. Even if you are not actively looking for a job, it is still best if this is written as a statement of value.
I took a look at just a few LinkedIn employee profiled to get some examples and got the following (mentally insert the 'I am'):
- Transforming companies through social media recruitment
- Connecting buyers and sellers to build relationships
- Transforming the way companies grow their business through social selling
- Passionate about customer success and transformation
- Helping Businesses attract and recruit the best Talent
To discover more about the proven best practices of headlines watch this video interview from inc.com with Reed Hoffman one of LinkedIn's founders on the importance of how the headline can get you found.
2. The Profile Summary
The profile summary is a powerful Bio that gets you noticed, really sells what you have achieved and – by extension – what you are capable of. It is the evidence of your success and the only outcome you want is the mental reaction from a reader that is "I would like to meet this person". Job Done!
Start the profile with a first paragraph that describes the benefits of you. This is not a resume, "sell the sizzle not the sausage" i.e. your product features not the product benefits. It's the full range of benefits and solutions that someone will get when they hire you, what can you do for them. Think about who your next boss will be, think about their likely challenges and issues –– what achievements will they need you to deliver –put something in your own words about the benefits of you, and include lots of action words, the action oriented tense is what you want…
So ideally like this, have one or a maximum of two paragraphs that describe the benefits of you.
After these two paragraphs and still in the profile section – you need 3 or 4 bullet points which are your major achievements in the last 3 or 4 years,
To get a sense of how to do this - see Laszlo Bock's great advice (Google head of HR)
I recommend the following even more specific sentence structure
PAR or SAR:
Problem/ Situation, Action - what you did, and Result, what the outcome or results were (in $/%/# if possible) leave the softer benefit achievements for the last couple of bullet points
If I was making these up it using this format it would be using 'I' and 'action verbs', e.g.…..
In a challenging and diverse global operating environment, I led the creation and implementation of improved leadership structures and the deployment of new practices in operations to successfully enable revenue growth of 250% in 4 years
- With a fragmented regional client base and needing to meet diverse client needs across Asia, I have transformed the way we source and manage our new business and used an 80/20 approach to develop a new range or core customer centric solutions for Asia, successfully winning 10 new projects this year with a profit contribution of US$250MM over the next 5 years
For all the other resume type job responsibilities and duties (yawn!) - you can then put under the individual job descriptions in the profile if you must. Make sure that each individual job in the detailed profile also has a quick summary of the benefits you achieved in that specific role too.
The other thing that you will see some of the LinkedIn employees doing is weaving a personal narrative into the profile summary, this can also work I think.
An Offline BIO
Your Profile Photo, the Headline, plus your Summary Paragraph, including the bullet point achievements now also becomes a real world bio too.
Create these in a PDF attachment – a third of a page is long enough - it fits on a screen and will only get a 3-5 second glance - and use this when you are reaching out to connections and seeking to meet or arrange calls with people. Again the objective is to just get a "I want to meet this person" reaction.
The Headline, the summary and the individual jobs and education sections when put together then also form your 2 page (ONLY) resume that you can use to send to HR ideally after you have actually got the job from your great connecting and networking with business decision makers.
STEP 2: GET ACTIVE
Raise your LinkedIn activity to get noticed by head-hunters and senior business leaders.
I suggest you set aside 30 minutes a day to read industry news and views and other topical leadership stuff and share perhaps one interesting industry relevant article a day in your status on LinkedIn (Set up several targeted google alerts to get notified when relevant stuff pops up)
Also join as many industry relevant groups as you can, then follow all the companies who you might want to work with and follow relevant influencers: then start commenting on things/liking other people's shares and comments. Actively comment on other peoples stuff always in a highly constructive way – i.e. Thank people for their view, say what you like about what they said first, then add your own thoughts. Don't become a troll – steer well clear of confrontations or strong disagreements, you are all about generating positive perceptions.
STEP 3: GET NETWORKING
Find and invite to connect with as many people as you can, staying within the constraint of people who are at least aware of you, or where you share many connections, or at your previous employers. Stretch your thinking on who knows you – professional associations, industry bodies, clubs and societies, even your dentist! You don't know who they know and maximising your contacts will maximise your second level connections to whom you will be relatively visible and who will be the easiest for you to reach out to.
Turn off the feature that hides the fact that you have viewed other people's profiles and then go and just visit the profiles of loads of industry leaders and industry recruiters you want them to start looking at you.
- Bottom up: Find at a minimum 200 people at the 1st level of your network that you know really well. (Force yourself to do this, person number 200 will be someone you forgot about who will turn out to be really useful in your search!). Prioritise these. High, Medium , or Low in terms of relevance to your search and because you do know them all, go meet the first 10 on the HIGH list, or buy them a coffee – just ask for their advice and use the opportunity to share that you are exploring options and practice sharing your LinkedIn summary in a highly conversational way. Engage them in sharing their challenges and issues, practicing asking loads of open questions. Also practice bringing value, from all your reading and posting of news articles – experiment with "saying", that reminds me of …(article you read, news item, person you met, etc.)… and share it afterwards.
Top Down: Search on LinkedIn for 10 companies you would like to work for. In that company search for the person (or people) who could be your next boss. Find out who you know who knows that person (if no-one, then continue bottom up networking until there is someone, or move on to the next likely target). Your intention here is to get to a point where you can send an InMail or email that begins with "X suggested I should reach out to you to connect…" X being someone else who you have permission from to name drop.
- Critical Tip: One final real world tip that is vital when connecting or networking. You need to practice asking "Who else do you think it would be useful to connect with?" and when they say, as they will, "Oh, I can connect you with so-and-so" You MUST step in and so "Let me do that for you, I will reach out and connect and say we spoke" then get the contact details. If they still insist on connecting you MUST say NO let them off the hook "I really appreciate that and its great if you can, however, please relax about that I will see if I can find their details, there is really no need to go to any trouble for me". This is really really important. If they go back to their desk with the intention of making a connection, we are all too busy these day and they will never actually do it. Instead of a contact you will create a sense of obligation to you instead, this will kill your networking and lose you connections. They will forever be feeling bad that they meant to do something for you and never did and you really must let them of the hook completely. You are about leaving strong positive impressions not obligations and that is truly all you really need to do.
Finally don't wait until your profile is perfect - get something up there and get started and then refine along the way.
Get going and good luck!