- Leverage LinkedIn. Most people have no idea how powerful a tool LinkedIn can be. It is by far my favorite. Here are some ways you can optimize it for your benefit.
- Check Out Your Fellow Alumni. Open an advanced search. Under School, write whatever college you attended in quotation marks. Enter your postal code. Designate within 25 miles or whatever commute distance you are comfortable with. Click Search. You should get a list of professionals who attended your school. Check out the companies they are working for. If you are a recent grad, then focus on the ones who graduated in the last couple years. They may be more likely to hire grads if they have had successful hires in the past. Feel free to message the ones in the same field as you. Mention you are a fellow alumni. It's a great excuse and instant connector. Offer to take them to coffee in exchange for hearing their success story. Do not outright ask them for a job. Instead make a genuine connection. Let them know you are looking for your next opportunity and would appreciate them keeping you in mind if they hear of anything in their network. If you did not attend college, then brainstorm another instant connector you can leverage. For example, if you are a stay-at-home mom, fitness buff, or lifestyle blogger, find other stay-at-home moms, buffs, or bloggers who work at the companies you want to work at. Hang out where they hang out and leverage the coffee idea I mentioned above. Again, it's all about making a real connection.
- Build Your Connections. The more connections you have on LinkedIn, the more people LinkedIn will let you see. It is okay to connect with strangers. When people say "It's all about who you know", it is true. Most of the time, the people who get jobs are the ones who networked their way in. They still have to have the qualifications, but they only found out about the job or got the interview because they knew someone. I would recommend connecting with Recruiters, HR professionals, and individuals in your field. Make sure to customize the note in the connection request. It can be as simple as this, "Hi John, I'm always looking to connect with other local HR professionals. I'd love to add you to my network. Thanks so much, Raina".
- Join Groups. Join as many groups as you can. Start with your alumni groups and then professional associations. If you need ideas, look at the groups your idols are in and join those. Jump into the discussions. Make thoughtful comments. Read the discussions. Make connections and network to find out about local opportunities.
- Optimize Your Profile. Make sure your profile is SEO friendly. Basically, you want me, as a recruiter, to be able to find you. How you do this is by finding a job description online of a role you want and incorporating as many of those keywords into your profile. This results in people like me being able to find you when I do keyword searches for roles I am recruiting for. The more keywords in your profile and the more connections you have, the more likely you are to turn up in my search results.
There are endless possibilities when it comes to conducting a job search. It is a topic near and dear to my heart since I am on the other side of it, recruiting as a career. I know it can also be hard and frustrating. Do not give up. And if you need help, do not be afraid to ask for it. Be humble and positive, and you will go far.
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