80% of jobs today are found through networking and many open positions aren’t even posted on job boards. With statistics like these, you can’t afford to solely focus on applying to job postings and waiting for the phone to ring. If you’re going to be an active participant in your own career development, you’ve got to put yourself out there. So, let’s cut the excuses and get networking on LinkedIn.
1. Connect With People At Companies You Want To Work With.
A job doesn’t have to be open at a company for you to network your way in. In fact, the best time to network is when a job isn’t posted. That way when a role opens up, you’ll already be in the mix. Find the employees who work in the departments you’re interested in being a part of. Reach out and ask for some advice or if they’d be willing to have an informational chat over coffee or the phone.
2. Utilize Your Alumni Network.
Whether a job posting shows you alumni currently working at that company, or you research your alumni network to find contacts, this is a rich community to be a part of and engage with. You may have graduated years apart, but the bond an alma matter creates between professionals is rather strong. This is a group you should be concentrating on. And don’t make the mistake of only looking to network with more senior alums. Those more junior still have valuable insight to offer regarding the organizations they work with and can pass on a resume if it makes sense to do so.
3. Engage With The Platform.
The more active you are, the more contacts you’ll uncover. Take the time to comment on posts. If you keep commenting on articles that someone publishes, you’ll soon become “known” to them, despite never having met them in person. Study what’s being published in your industry and get active. Adding insightful comments will also provide you with a way to highlight your unique point of view and get noticed.
If you keep commenting on articles that someone publishes on LinkedIn, you’ll soon become “known” to them, despite never having met them in person.
4. Project Your Professional Value.
When you reach out to a contact, they’re probably going to view your profile before deciding to respond. Show your professional value with a well filled out profile and any public samples of your work. This includes articles published. Profiles with no pictures and limited to a job title timeline don’t offer a viewer any real sense of who you are, your personal brand or what your real strengths are. Keep your profile up-to-date and be sure it represents who you are and the career path you’re carving out for yourself.
5. Work Your Way Around Job Postings.
If the job poster is visible on a position you’re interested in, reach out to them directly. You want to make the poster aware that you’ve applied, but also express your excitement for the role. Be sure to click on the poster’s profile, too. You’ll be able to see if you have any connections in common who can facilitate an introduction. When viewing a job posting, you’ll also be able to see those in your network who can connect you to others at that company. However, don’t use LinkedIn’s canned auto-generated message to make the request. Edit it for authenticity and only use this avenue if you have a real connection to the person.
Once you’ve made a connection with someone at the company, introduce yourself and explain that you’re making a career transition. Then reference the position you’re interested in. Next acknowledge the fact that you’re not sure you’re a fit and that you were hoping they’d be willing to shed some light on the role and possibly offer some pointers before you apply. If you meet and hit it off, it’s quite possible that your new contact will offer to pass on your information!