While having an employer focused LinkedIn profile is immensely helpful in getting the job you want, it is only the first step to achieving success with your job hunting process.
Competition is fierce today and you don’t want your success to be dependent on the chance that a recruiter or potential employer will just stumble across your LinkedIn profile. Nor do you want to place all your hope on the resume you submitted.
Thankfully those are not your only choices when trying to get a job you really want.
You can take an active hand standing out and get noticed by the right people. Once you have their attention, you can help them to know, like and trust you, which is just as essential to getting the job you want as it is for any business earning the clients they want.
As I mentioned in my previous article on creating an employer focused LinkedIn profile, you must develop your own personal brand and then build a corresponding employer outreach strategy that will help you get in front of the right people, establish your credibility and build relationships.
Here are the steps to create and implement an employer outreach strategy on LinkedIn to complement and strengthen your job hunting process and make it efficient and effective.
Key Steps To Create An Employer Outreach Strategy On LinkedIn
If you have already figured out your why, who your ideal employers are and then used this to update your LinkedIn profile, you are ready to start the first step of your employer outreach strategy: research.
This research will greatly benefit all of your job hunting tactics.
Do Your Research
The first part of any outreach strategy should be research. You need to learn as much as possible about the companies you are interested in, such as:
- How big is company?
- Where are they located?
- Who is their target market?
- What challenges do they help their target market overcome?
- What are their challenges?
- What language do they use?
- What is the company culture?
- Do they currently need to fill any positions?
- How do they like potential applicants to apply?
- Do they have a HR department and who is in that department?
- Who is the decision maker(s)?
The best place to find the answer to many of these questions is on the company website as well as on their LinkedIn Company page and the profiles of their employees.
LinkedIn Company Pages
The LinkedIn Company page is a great place to get a quick overview of a company as well as potential job opportunities.
Start by following the Company Page of any of the companies you are interested in being hired at. You can search directly for a specific company or use a term or industry to bring up more general results.
Once you are on the page of a company you are interested in, you can see general company info like size, website, quick overview and recent updates. You can also how many employees have LinkedIn profiles and how you are connected to them.
Click on the number of employees to get the full list. If it is a large company, you can narrow down your search results by clicking Advanced in the top left corner and typing in a keyword like Human Resources or VP.
From here you can further narrow down your results or click on the profile of the person you are interested in communicating with.
In addition to the information you can read on their profile, there are two other quick checks you should do. The first is to look at their recent activity.
To find this, click on the down arrow beside the InMail button at the top of their profile and click on View recent activity.
On this page you will be able to get a quick view of anything they have recently posted, published or engaged with. This tells you both how active they are and what they think is important.
The second thing you should do is review their Groups. This has several purposes.
After looking at a few profiles, you will get a sense of any possible trends about which groups people belong to. This is important as it will help you decide which of those groups to join yourself. The reasons you would want to join (up to 100) of these groups are:
- It grows the size of your own network full of potential employers (meaning you can find them and they can find you).
- If they are active in the group, you can appropriately engage with them and contribute to the group (will get you noticed and build credibility if done correctly).
- You can send a free message to them, even if you are not connected. (Important Note: keep in mind you only get 15 per month for all of the groups you belong too. You also wanted to be very selective about when and what you include in any messages as this can hurt you more than help you.)
The other important information located on a Company Page is any posted job openings. If a company has posted one or more of these, you can find them under Careers located in the bar on the right or in some cases the Careers page accessed through the navigation at the top of the page.
If you want to see all the different employment opportunities that are posted on LinkedIn, the best place to get an overview is on the LinkedIn Jobs page, accessed through LinkedIn’s main navigation bar at the top.
From here you can search for a position by job title, company name or keywords in the top search box.
You can also filter jobs by location, seniority, company size or industry.
LinkedIn will also list any jobs posted in your network under Discover jobs in your network. This is one of the reasons that you want to have a good sized network, join relevant groups and follow relevant companies.
On the right side of the page you can also access your Saved jobs, Job alerts and Applied jobs. If you have the budget, you can get bumped to the top of the applicant list with their Premium plan for people who are job hunting.
After you have finished researching potential employers and have found out their preferred application process (which you should follow as precisely as possible), you need to determine if and what other measures would be appropriate for you to take to improve your chances of being selected for an interview.
Your first hurdle will be to get noticed. This isn’t an easy thing to do. You need to standout not just from possible competition but also from the general noise that most people are bombarded with everyday online.
Post Daily Status Updates
A great way to become more active on LinkedIn is to post daily status updates. Your goal is to stay top of mind with your network and increase the chances of your profile being viewed by someone who can help you or might want to hire you.
Try to post a daily status update with valuable content or a thought provoking statement. Remember this in a business network so keep it professional and relevant.
This will show potential employers that you are up-to-date and active within their industry and while doing so you also stay top of mind with all of your network, increasing the odds your connections will think of you, if and when a potential opportunity comes up.
Interact With Status Updates Of Others
Few things are as effective to get you on the radar of people within your network, than engaging with their updates and posts.
Commenting and sharing always has the most impact.
Be sure to only comment or share in ways that make sense or this can have a negative impact. You aren’t going to convince them to hire you with one comment, so make sure that you are on topic and that your comment will showcase you in a positive way – think about it from their point of view.
Depending on your network size and what has been posted, aim to engage with two to five people a day.
Engage In LinkedIn Groups
If in your research you found an active group to join that contains potential employers, you may want to become part of the conversation.
It is important to take a bit of time to get to know how each group functions and what is considered acceptable. When you feel comfortable, begin by commenting on other’s posts. Look to be a part of productive conversations only. Stay away from ALL negativity.
View LinkedIn Profiles
Another way to get noticed can be by viewing the profiles of potential employers, as you will show up on their Who’s viewed your profile page. Note that if they have a free account, only the last five people will show up on this page, so it can be beneficial to visit their profile from time to time. (If you are doing the research I shared above, you will be doing some of this anyway.)
To ensure that your LinkedIn settings are set correctly for this, learn more about LinkedIn’s Privacy & Setting page.
Establish Your Credibility
While you are working on getting on the radar of potential employers, you can also work on building your credibility – both as someone who is knowledgeable and experienced in their field but also someone who is professional, helpful and reliable.
There are a number of ways to tackle this.
First, go back to your answers to these questions:
- Who is their target market?
- What challenges do they help their target market overcome?
- What are their challenges?
You should also know how you would be able to help them overcome their challenges and be a productive member of their team.
This is information that you will include in a variety of ways…within your profile, in your LinkedIn Publisher posts and in your status updates.
I can not stress enough the importance of having recommendations on your profile, which speak to your skills, experience and character.
Recommendations are an essential element in showcasing social proof. Similar to a review of product in an online store, people are far more likely to buy the product if it has positive reviews.
However, this does not mean that you should have just anyone provide a recommendation.
Recommendations must come from people who know you and your work well, such as a previous (or current) employer, a client, a co-worker, a professor, a friend or someone else who can speak about you or your work.
Potential employers are able to learn more about the person recommending you, so choose wisely when asking for recommendations.
LinkedIn Pro Tip: When you are asking for recommendations while looking for a job, this is an excellent time to mention what kind of job you are looking for and ask the person if they might be able to help you or introduce you to someone who can.
Add Rich Media
Showing people is far more powerful than telling them – and you can show them with rich media added to your LinkedIn profile.
Adding rich media is a fantastic way to share your skills or showcase your portfolio in the form of images, videos, presentations and documents.
Make sure that whatever you decide to add to your profile will enhance your image rather than detract from it.
Highlight Your Knowledge & Expertise With LinkedIn Publisher
If you are comfortable creating content, publishing long form content on LinkedIn Publisher is a fantastic way to build credibility and highlight your knowledge on your topic. It also adds a visual element to your profile and helps you to stand out.
In your posts you want to address the questions discussed earlier that showcase not only your knowledge of a potential employer’s target market and their challenges but also the challenges a potential employer is facing and how they could be addressed.
LinkedIn Pro Tip: To be even more successful with your posts, use the language that your potential employers are using when they speak about themselves and their clients.
Again it is very important that you create professional looking LinkedIn Publisher posts.
As well as the engagement that you participate in (in your newsfeed, groups and Publisher posts), there are other strategies that you can use to further build relationships with key people from the companies you are looking to be hired by as well as your network in general (who can further support your job search).
Ask For Introductions
Sometimes, the best way to approach a potential employer is indirectly.
There can be great value in being introduced by a mutual connection, ideally someone who knows you and the other person well. This to is a powerful strategy in utilizing social proof.
Like asking for a recommendation, it is a good idea to share why you would like to connect. Ask your mutual connection if they know the person well enough or would feel comfortable making an introduction.
LinkedIn makes it easy for you to see how you are connected to another person on the right side of their profile, under How you’re connected.
If you don’t know your mutual connection well, then you might want to work on building this relationship first.
Connect On Other Social Media Platforms
While you are working on building relationships, it can be beneficial to complement your LinkedIn efforts by reaching out and having conversations with the individuals you are targeting on the other social media platforms they use.
The goal is not to come across as pushy or creepy, but to use the other social media platforms to start or continue a conversation.
Platforms like Twitter are a great place to start up a conversation in a casual way, which can later be moved to LinkedIn.
Send A Personalized Connection Request
After you have created a professional looking profile and established some credibility, you will want to look at connecting with individuals who work for the company you would like to work with.
The most important thing to remember when connecting is to PERSONALIZE YOUR CONNECTION REQUEST.
While it won’t hurt to mention that you are looking to grow your network while you are job hunting, you may not want to start out by telling them that you want a job with their company. An even better approach is to find another compelling reason you would like to connect with them, especially if there is some benefit to them.
LinkedIn Pro Tip: It is important to note that if five or more people hit the Spam or I Don’t know this person when they ignore your invite, you will find your LinkedIn account restricted. You will know this has happened when you need to enter an email address every time you want to connect with someone, severely hampering your ability to grow your network and put your employer outreach strategy into action.
Stay Top Of Mind
Once you have connected with a potential employer, you can send them a message.
Your message should provide them with value to help you stay top of mind. You don’t want to send a message more than once every week or two and it should not include anything self-serving, which will only hurt your efforts to build a relationship.
Great things to include in these messages are interesting (and relevant) industry stats or links to industry news or helpful content. Remember to think about how the content will be perceived by the person you are sending it to.
Your message should be short and can say that you thought of them when you read the article or stat.
If you can get noticed, establish your credibility and build relationships with key individuals within the company you wish to work for, you will have a greater advantage over the other applicants you are competing with. You can do this by creating an employer outreach strategy on LinkedIn that is built to complement your other job hunting activities.
What has been your experience using LinkedIn to find a job? Share in the comments below. Know someone who is currently looking for a job? Please share this resource with them.