How To Take Advantage Of LinkedIn To Get A New & Better Job

UPDATED AUGUST 31, 2017: Original article published on August 18, 2016.

Job seekers need to be Marketing Specialists to achieve their career goals. It's no longer good enough to throw together a basic resume and click the Apply button for any and every job opportunity. Job seekers need to become experts in marketing themselves as products, their skills as features, and their background as benefits.

LinkedIn is a social networking site that helps you build your professional identity online and stay in touch with colleagues and classmates, discover professional opportunities and new ventures, and get the latest news and inspiration you need to be great at what you do. The tendency, however, is to create a profile and then forget to take advantage of this great networking tool.

In addition to serving as an online resume, job seekers can use LinkedIn to find and get a job if they use the tool to its full potential. So what does this look like?

How To Take Advantage of LinkedIn To Get A New + Better Job | Off The Clock Resumes

Start thinking of yourself as your Social Media Manager. You are a product that you need to sell using your LinkedIn profile. You have already created your marketing content (your profile), but now you need to get it in front of your targeted audience (your ideal employers). As a Social Media Manager, you need to focus on growing your audience (your Connections) and community engagement (liking, commenting, and building relationships online).

Like every great Social Media Manager, you should create a marketing plan. This doesn't have to be complicated or take a lot of time.

 

1. Set A Measurable Goal

The top four social media goals are (1) grow and build relationships with potential customers, (2) establish industry authority, (3) raise brand awareness, and (4) increase conversions or sales. Ask yourself:

  • Do I want to expand my network and get to know potential employers?
  • Do I want employers to see my profile and think, "This person is an expert!"?
  • Do I want to make sure employers know I'm looking for a new job?
  • Do I want to get more call backs and interviews as quick as possible?

 

Most job seekers will want to focus on all of these goals, but it's important not to stretch yourself too thin and focus on one goal at a time. Choose a goal and set a deadline for when you want to measure your results. For a job seeker using LinkedIn, start with a two-week or four-week plan. 


Marketing Plan Example:

GOAL: I want to expand my network and increase my number of Connections.

DEADLINE: September 1 (2 Weeks)


 2. Audit Your Profile

Assuming you've optimized your profile with a keyword-rich Professional Headline, a great Career Summary that tells your story, and a detailed Experience section that highlights your accomplishments and major contributions, you should do a quick social media audit of your profile. 

  • Will your ideal employers be on LinkedIn? If you're targeting small businesses or rural areas, you may not want to invest a lot of time networking on LinkedIn.
  • What will your ideal employers be looking for? Endorsements and Recommendations? Links to your portfolio?
  • Is your call-to-action clear and your contact information easy to find?
  • Have you added multimedia and visual branding to help your profile stand out more?

 

3. Develop A Content Plan

For a Social Media Manager, a content plan includes blogging, news announcements, videos, infographics and photos, customer testimonials, and more. These are key pieces of information that position the company (or job seeker) as an expert and encourages ideal customers (or employers) to trust you.

A job seeker's content plan doesn't need to be complicated or take a long time to create and implement. LinkedIn offers publishing features which operate like a blog. You can create a photo for your blog, write and publish the blog, and then share it to Facebook and Twitter. It's free to use if you have content to share. Each article should include a call-to-action either encouraging the reader to connect with you, contact you, or start a discussion about your article.

 

LINKEDIN PULSE ARTICLE IDEAS:

  • Relevant Tips or Industry Insights
  • Book Reviews or TED Talk Reviews
  • Case Studies (Do Sparingly - These should describe your strengths in solving a problem in the workplace.)

 

Your content plan should also include status updates. No, this is not the place to share what you found on your Facebook News Feed. Appropriate status updates include appropriate updates about your career or job search, motivational photos, or links to useful information such as developing leadership skills or industry news.

Your content plan could also include adding new Recommendations to your profile. When you receive a new Recommendation, add a status update and tag the person who gave the recommendation thanking them for their support and kind words.

 

4. Decide On A Posting Schedule

As a Social Media Manager, you should post new content to LinkedIn consistently. If you plan to publish articles on Pulse, plan to write and publish every other week or once a month. You should also plan to publish a status update a few times a week. Users don't typically use LinkedIn as much as Facebook, so you may not need to post daily to be effective.

Social Media Managers use tools to help with their content plan. Job seekers can get a free Buffer account and schedule status updates that will automatically post to their LinkedIn profile. A free Buffer account includes the iOS and Android app, up to 10 scheduled posts per profile, and an optimal timing tool to help you schedule your posts when they are most likely to be seen.


Marketing Plan Example:

GOAL: I want to expand my network and increase my number of Connections.

DEADLINE: September 1 (2 Weeks)

CONTENT SCHEDULE:

  • Every Other Wednesday: Publish Article on LinkedIn with a call-to-action asking readers to connect with me
  • Tuesday (Weekly): Share link about self-improvement or personal growth as a status update to provide shareable, useful information
  • Thursday (Weekly): Share a status update about something good that has happened this week, or share a status update letting my Connections know that I'm looking to expand my network and asking them keep me in mind for referrals 

How To Use LinkedIn To Get A Job

Did you know that you can use LinkedIn for less than 20 minutes a day to get a new and better job faster? We listed the top four social media goals earlier and how they translate to LinkedIn profile goals:

  • Increasing Your Connections
  • Establishing Industry Authority
  • Raising Brand Awareness
  • Increasing Interviews

 

Here's our recommended LinkedIn profile marketing plan for job seekers based on 20 minutes of daily activity on LinkedIn:

 

10 Minutes of Engagement

Start by liking or commenting on 2-3 posts in your News Feed every day. This notifies the Connection that posted the content that you are interacting with their content and puts you on his or her radar. This also "reposts" the content to show your other Connections that you are engaging and puts you on their radar.

Commenting is more valuable than liking content because it can be an opportunity to start a discussion. Don't just say, "Nice post!" Add your own perspective to the information provided or ask a relevant question. Make sure you are also responding to comments on your own status updates and articles.

Next, check who has viewed your profile recently and send Connection Requests appropriately. This is one reason why I prefer to use the LinkedIn mobile app rather than the website. You can find who has recently viewed your profile directly under your photo and Professional Headline on your profile. Click on the person to view his or her profile, then click on the three vertical dots in the upper right corner of the person's profile to select Personalize Invite. 

Here's an example of how to personalize a Connection Request to someone who recently viewed your profile:

Hi Joe,

I noticed that you recently viewed my profile, and I thought I'd reach out and connect with you. Is there anything that I can help you with? What led you to my profile?

Looking forward to getting to know you more,

Jane

Lastly, spend a few minutes replying to any private messages. You should spend more time on engagement if your goals are to establish yourself as an industry authority or expert (by commenting and starting discussions) or to raise brand awareness (by being active and responsive to other users).

 

5 Minutes of Growth

Join groups on LinkedIn. Using the website, you can find Groups by hovering over Interests (located on the Menu Bar at the top of the page) and clicking on Groups. Using the Discover tabs, you can find relevant groups based on your skills and background. You can also search for groups based on keyword.

Once you've joined a few groups, spend a few minutes every day asking or answering questions and connecting with others in the group. Send another Personalized Invite like this:

Hi Joe,

I recently joined the (Group Name) group. I see you are a member as well and that you work for (Company Name). I'm interested in working for (Company Name) particularly in the (Department Name). How do you like working there? Any words of advice for applying?

Thanks,

Jane

 

If you are not a member of any groups or there's nothing new in your group to engage with, you can search for and follow your ideal company pages. You can see and connect with employees or engage with company page updates.

You should be taking advantage of Groups or LinkedIn's search engine if your goals are to grow and build relationships with potential employers, to raise awareness that you are open to new job opportunities, or to increase your chances of call backs or interviews. LinkedIn will not be an effective tool for getting you a new and better job if you simply create a profile and do not use LinkedIn as a networking tool.

 

5 Minutes of Profile Touch-ups

Every once in a while, you should double-check your profile to make updates or additions to your information. When you make changes to your profile, you can turn on or off notifications to your Connections. You will see the toggle button on the right side of your screen as you're editing your profile. If you are making a lot of major changes, turn off these notifications.

If you're adding a new skill, certification, training, or accomplishment, you should turn on these notifications. It's important to keep your profile updated and current.

TAKE ACTION!
Spend 20 minutes on LinkedIn each morning for the next week.