New year, new job? How to use LinkedIn to win your dream gig

New year, new job? How to use LinkedIn to win your dream gig

It’s January. You’ve made a lot of resolutions. You’re going to eat better, exercise more, and—oh, yeah—this is the year you’re going to find the perfect job.

The job that you are excited to wake up to; the job where your skills and talents are appreciated; the job where you’re paid what you’re worth.

That’s an amazing resolution. But now what?

While I love the adage , “Do what you love and the money will follow,” finding work that you love takes some planning and a LOT of work. The first thing you have to do, besides knowing what you love, is research to see if there is a market for your skill set. Or if you can create a market for it.

I think LinkedIn is the best place to find out if the job you want even exists, so here are my four steps to job-search success using the world’s foremost professional networking site.

  1. Explore the Jobs tab

    The first thing I recommend to any job seeker is that they go to LinkedIn and check the Jobs tab to see if their job exists. Don’t worry yet about location, company, date posted, or any of the other filters. Just do a general search on the title—or titles—you are interested in.

    LinkedIn Jobs tab screenshot

    It’s important to note that people describe jobs in different ways, so you might need to think a little bit outside the box when doing your search.

  2. Optimize your profile

    Once you find a few jobs that look interesting to you, read through the job descriptions and copy-paste some of the job descriptions and requirements into a Word doc. You will use this later when optimizing your profile to reflect the skills and requirements for the job you were interested in.

    Now it’s time to optimize your profile. When rewriting your LinkedIn profile (or creating one for the first time), make sure that your profile reflects the type of job you’re looking for, not just your work history!

    Don’t lie or plagiarize, but do look at how all your experience led you to this step you are taking today. Rework your profile (and job descriptions) to reflect that. Emphasize the skills you want to promote NOW, not just the jobs you have done in the past.

    You can expand upon the Summary section, the Experience section, Skills, and even your Education to make sure that it reflects your current and future skill sets.

  3. Pull it all together

    Once you are happy with your profile, go back to the job section on LinkedIn and look for a job, location, and company you are interested in. Read through the job description. Make sure your profile reflects the requirements.

    One you find a company of interest, it’s a really good idea to see if you have any connections that work there. Fortunately, LinkedIn will tell you!

    LinkedIn connections screenshot

    If you don’t have any connections that work there, go to their Company page and see if you know anyone who works there. Just click on the job link and then on the company name—it will take you to the Company page on LinkedIn. You might very well know a “gateway person” who can gain you access to that company (and that job!) and not even realize it.

    Just click on the link that says, “See all – employees on LinkedIn,” and LinkedIn will actually show you who they are. You can send a message to your first-level connections, but also look at second-level connections too. After all, you never know who you might already know who’s not yet connected with you on LinkedIn.

    LinkedIn 'see all employees' screenshot

    From here you can simply invite that person to connect. You might say something like this:

    Hi (Name). It’s been a long time! I see that you’re now working for Company ABC. I’m going to get right to the point—do you have a few minutes that I can talk to you about the Company ABC? In this new year I’ve decided to make a big change, and I am researching companies that align with my skills, goals, and focus for 2018 and beyond. It looks like your company might be a great fit! I’d love 15 minutes of your time to chat about the company culture, and make sure I’m a fit for it—and it’s a fit for me! Will this Friday at 10 be good for you?

    You might not get a response from the first, second or third person that you reach out to, but that fourth one might be the very person to introduce you to the HR folks over at the company you want to work with. That will get you 90% closer to closing the deal on your new job.

  4. Get educated

    If, after a few of these informational interviews, you discover you do not have the skill sets that you need, don’t forget the amazing resource that is LinkedIn Learning. With a premium account, you get access to just about every type of skill set out there, from leadership and management software development to data science and business software and tools. If you need to learn something, this is—in my humble opinion—the most affordable way to do so. And the first month is free!

    LinkedIn Learning screenshot

Wrapping up

I hope I have been able to convince you that LinkedIn might very well be the “one-stop shop” for your new job in the New Year! Just remember:

  • Do your research: Make sure your dream job is actually a dream job—and that you have the qualifications it takes.
  • Brand your Linkedin Profile: Make sure that your profile reflects your future dream position, not necessarily your past resume.
  • See who you know: It’s likely that you know someone at a company that you were interested in working with. While they might not be the people to hire you, they could very well be the people who could introduce you to your future employer.
  • Don’t give up: Even if you don’t have the skills right now, there are ways to affordably get them using LinkedIn learning.

Did your job search succeed because of your LinkedIn prowess? Be sure to let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to explore our other great career posts, like these 7 communication tips to ensure a rewarding LinkedIn experience.