3 Steps for using LinkedIn to get an “early look” at being hired
One of the best ways to get an early interview for a job opening that has not yet been publicized is to “get in” with a decision maker before she even knows she’s ready to hire you. This way, when she recognizes that need and considers whether to hire a recruiter, post the job on LinkedIn, or otherwise advertise the position, you’ll be front of mind and potentially score an interview with her before your competition even knows the job exists.
Simply hoping you have the right relationships is not the most proactive way to score an early interview. So… what is? LinkedIn’s advanced search is the answer, but only if you use it properly and in concert with other LinkedIn elements, specifically your profile and network. Let’s use an example of one of the tens of thousands of military veterans returning from service in Iraq, looking for civilian jobs. With little tangible civilian business experience, his or her best bet to getting hired would be to attempt to get an “in” early in the manner we discussed above.
The 3 key steps this veteran should take are as follows:
- He should spend time updating his profile, making it look professional so that people looking him up will see current, high-quality information.
- Our veteran should then connect to as many people as possible, if he actually knows them (for example, family, friends, people he fought with in battle who probably would make an introduction to an employer for him, etc.).
- Here’s where the advanced search comes in. Once his profile and network are robust and ready to go, the job seeking veteran can search (and receive helpful results) for:
- Titles of decision makers in the industry in which he wants to work (CEOs or CFOs)
- Industries and/or companies and organizations that tend to employ many military veterans (Airlines/aviation, Aviation & Aerospace, Defense & Space, Management Consulting, and Maritime, etc.)
- Locations where he would be happy working (let’s use ‘within 50 miles of NYC’)And most importantly, he would be able to sort his results by relationship (in this case, we’d start searching for 1st and 2nd degree relationships, which are the easiest people to get to).
Click here to see the results for this search with your LinkedIn profile. I received 151 results. How many did you get? Notably, we all will have different results based on our LinkedIn networks, as this search only includes 1st and 2nd degree relationships. If you have found that you aren’t getting many results, it may mean that you didn’t follow Step 2 closely enough. The important takeaway here is this: You may already have a key relationship with someone who can make an introduction for you, but if you don’t connect to them in LinkedIn, this search will not let you know of that potential.
Once you have this list of people you can get to, you are now teed up to thoughtfully request an introduction, which will ideally be from someone you know to a decision maker in an industry of interest to you. Whether or not that decision maker has a job opening, he or she is still someone you should talk to. Being warmly introduced is a much more focused method of networking (where the other option is simply arriving at an event in the hopes of bumping into your next employer). Another potential gain from this introduction can result if that decision maker doesn’t have a position opening soon, but he or she has a peer in another company or division who does. And, of course, if at first you don’t succeed… Keep at this approach and you’ll increase your chances of finding someone who is just about to realize that they want to hire you.