If you clicked on a link to read this, you are probably eagerly waiting for my magic tips on getting the interview that you deserve and want. My guess is that you have been putting in application after application, but no one is responding to you. You are beginning to think that the energy that you have put into your job search is a waste of time, and you may be on the verge of giving up.
Before I give you my tips on becoming more marketable to recruiters, I want you to take note of the most important tip of them all: Do not give up. Although the job search journey can be rough, long, and down-right depressing, you cannot give up on yourself and the process.
The most important thing that you need to do before you start your job search is to invest more time and energy into your LinkedIn profile (and if you don't have one, you need to get one asap). LinkedIn is the largest social media network for professionals, and according to Jobvite, 94% of recruiters are active on LinkedIn, but only 36% of candidates are. Even more, most people that are on LinkedIn do not take out time to optimize their LinkedIn profile to the fullest.
After you read this post, incorporate my 4 tips into your LinkedIn profile, and I promise you will have recruiters running to your inbox.
1) Create a headline to reflect who you are, and what you are looking for.
Your LinkedIn headline should clearly tell people, who you are (your name), what credentials you have (i.e. MBA, MS, etc.), and what you are looking for (or what you are currently doing if you want to stay in the same field). For example, "HR & Management Professional" is better than "HR Professional at XYZ Company." While it is great to advertise who you are working for, this information can go in the "Experience" section of your profile. Also, by having information on what you are doing or the type of career that you are seeking, recruiters can find your profile at a quick glance when they are searching for candidates with specific keywords.
When I first updated my LinkedIn profile after graduating from college, my LinkedIn headline read, “Brittani Hunter, Assistant General Manager at American Campus Communities." After I went to a few personal branding seminars and did my own research online, I found that this was not the most effective headline, especially since I knew I wanted to be introduced to more opportunities outside of my 9-5. I then changed my headline to, “Brittani Hunter, HR & Management Professional/Freelance Blogger." Since then, I have received more requests from like-minded professionals in HR, management, and journalism simply because of my headline. Whenever you want to find more LinkedIn connections (followers), you can use any search query and anyone that has that associated name in their profile will appear. For example, if you go to LinkedIn, and search for “Human Resources" a list of anyone that has “Human Resources" in their headline will appear. Check out a copy of my LinkedIn headline below:
2) Do not treat LinkedIn as just your online resume.
While LinkedIn contains your job history and contact information just like a regular resume, it is so much more. LinkedIn can allow you to easily network with others, and connect with recruiters. It is important to be active on LinkedIn by joining groups, sharing articles with your connections, and by engaging in discussions and posts. By doing so, you will be able to drive more traffic to yourself, and you will be more marketable. The benefits of networking with people in the discussions or groups will be valuable; you will be able to meet recruiters, get first-hand knowledge of upcoming jobs, and connect with people that work in your desired field.
The first time you engage in LinkedIn discussions, it may feel a little weird – or at least it felt a little weird to me because I was engaging in conversations with people that I had never met or seen in my life. Nonetheless, I got over it and started adding my input in certain posts on LinkedIn that were interesting to me. One cool feature with LinkedIn is that when you begin to join in on LinkedIn discussions, you will be notified when someone comments on the discussion. Normally when this happens to me, I will receive an email and a notification from the LinkedIn mobile app. In my experience in engaging in LinkedIn discussions, it has helped me obtain more connections, and even several requests to interview for new opportunities. A few months ago, a recruiter from a management company really liked my comments and my input on the discussion of recruiting using social media. A few days after the discussion began, I received a message from the recruiter in my LinkedIn inbox about an new job opportunity. Although I wasn't actively looking for a job and didn't interview, this alone proves that you never know who you may meet or can impact by being active in LinkedIn discussions.
3) Toot your own horn.
On LinkedIn, you are able to list your skills and include portfolio information if you have one. Often times, we shy away from telling the world all the amazing things that we are good at. Just like Marianne Williamson said in her legendary poem Our Deepest Fear, "Your playing small does not serve the world."
"We are all meant to shine." Use LinkedIn to shine and talk about how great you are. Whether you want to discuss how well-versed you are at Photoshop, creating websites, or at Microsoft Excel, you should take advantage in tooting your own horn. Also, be sure to include links to your portfolio or website if you have one (and if you don't, invest time into creating one).
When I first started blogging, I didn't have enough courage to tell the world about it. I had even created my own site using Wix and started a weekly blog, but I didn't promote it on LinkedIn at all. I eventually got over my insecurities, and I began to promote my blog posts on LinkedIn, and I even listed the skills that I gained from blogging and creating my site using Wix. A few months ago when I decided that I wanted to increase my network and write for other people, I used LinkedIn as my digital resume/portfolio and it has helped me land several contributor and editor roles, including this one on xoNecole :). The new positions that I have received has given me access to more platforms to display my writing skills and passion, and is has helped me connect with more people.
4) Let others toot your horn, too.
The recommendation section of LinkedIn is something that I love. On LinkedIn, other people can post recommendations to your page and this will also show recruiters how awesome you are. I recommend that you get at least 3-4 recommendations. You can get one from a professor, client, past employer, current employer, or from a co-worker. I know you are probably wondering how in the world will you be able to get the recommendations and it's simple - you ask for them. When I first read about the benefit of having LinkedIn recommendations, I reached out to literally everyone (there was no shame in my game!).
This is the script that I used and sent to everyone, and I recommend that you use it too:
I hope you are doing well. I'd like to ask a huge favor — Would you write a quick LinkedIn Recommendation for me? I would love it if you'd mention my hard work ethic, my team work skills, and my organizational skills. If you have any questions or if you would like for me to write a recommendation for you, please let me know.
Do you think you could write that out in the next week or so? If so, I'll really appreciate it.
Thanks in advance for your help,
Here are 4 things that you should take from the script that I used:
1) Make it quick, and to the point.
My message to each person was only 90 characters. No one wants to read a whole novel, so make sure you get to the point and make your request clear.
2) Tell them exactly what you want.
If you look back at my script, you will see that I requested them to talk about my "hard work ethic, my team work skills, and my organizational skills." You should know, it is nothing wrong with telling them how you want the recommendation written. Be strategic in your recommendation requests. If you want your old boss to talk about how well you did managing a budget, tell them to put it in the recommendation (it doesn't hurt to ask).
3) Offer to write your recommendation for them.
Some of the reasons why people refrain from writing recommendations is that they are either a) extremely busy or b) have horrible writing skills. In either case, you can save the day by just writing it for them. By the way, no one can brag about YOU your better than yourself!
4) Give them a deadline.
You never want to ask someone for something without telling them when you need it. If you don't give people a deadline, more than likely, they will put it on the end of their to do list and you may never get it.
Now that you have my magic tips, get on LinkedIn and optimize your profile!