1. Pick a Niche: In today’s competitive job market, very few employers are willing to hire a generalist. Even if you are a “sales person” or an “accountant,” many times that is still not specific enough to capture someone’s attention.
- You will need to do some sole searching to define what sets you apart from others.
- What industry, tools, technologies, techniques, experiences and successes make your career interesting to a prospective employer?
- You may also want to do a occupational assessment such at a Birkman to help direct you into areas which will align best with your core interests and passions. As Certified Birkman Coaches, we frequently are asked to conduct Birkman Behavior and Occupation Assessments for candidates in career transitions.
- This whole process works 10x better if you focus your profile on a specific niche market.
2. Profile: Transform Your LinkedIn Profile from a resume to a lead generating webpage that positions YOU as an expert authority.
- Does your current profile do you justice? Don’t write a CV/resume style profile. Think of your profile page as a lead-generation website. It should position you as an expert/authority, plus tell your story in a way that will resonate strongly with your target audience.
- Ideally there should be something there that arouses their curiosity. When your ideal prospect visits your page, you want them to instantly feel that YOU are someone that can help them.
- Headshot – high quality, professional, smile, & eye contact.
- Professional Headline – this should NOT be job title and company name. This is your “pick up line” – your value proposition or a statement about who you help and what specific results/value you deliver – e.g. “Helping Founders of start-up & scale-up SaaS software companies to accelerate their Monthly Recurring Revenue.”
Pro Tip: Use the iPhone LinkedIn to get more characters!
- Photo Banner – this is prime real estate! Choose something that positions you as an Authority and/or will be meaningful to your target audience.
Pro Tip: Add a tag line into the background of your photo banner to grab attention on your expertise.
- About – include your contact info and CTA (Call To Action)
- Get LinkedIn Recommendations – the more the better! Ask every client and co-worker you’ve helped in the last 12 months.
3. Network: Constantly Grow Your Network and build a community of your ideal target company, role or industry.
Grow your network aggressively. Unless you already have 30,000 connections (the limit on LinkedIn), then you’ve got room to grow. Aim to 10x your network starting today! “Connection Requests” are the new cold calling and this is a great way to open new relationships.
- Start using LinkedIn searches to identify your potential future boss or target company.
- Establish a Daily Routine of connecting with high value connections via LinkedIn;
- Set Yourself KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) just like any other business development activity.
- Begin a daily routine of sending 20-50 connection requests per day EVERY day.
- Maximum recommended connection requests is 50 per day before LinkedIn thinks you’re doing something suspicious.
- Aim for 40% acceptance rate or more. If you invite 50 per day, and 40% accept, that’s 20 new connections per day, 100 per week which is the maximum LinkedIn will allow/week.
- Some people will reply back and ask for your help – if 4% have a critical need, that’s 4 new opportunities per week! Even if you only convert ¼ into an interview, that’s one new career opportunity per week.
- You can use automated “connecting” tools like LinkedIn Helper but LinkedIn is cracking down on this. If you decide to risk it, use a cloud-based tool NOT a Chrome extension as this is more difficult for LinkedIn to detect.
- You can even outsource this activity to a Virtual Assistant (VA) through Upwork or Fiverr.
Pro Tip: Don’t connect saying “I’m looking for a job.” Instead, you want to leverage your “specialty” that they align with such as, “I’m connected with many influential leaders in the telecom industry and would also like to connect with you. You may find linking to my network will also help you.”
4. Outreach: Follow Up Proactively with your connections to start conversations, Some of which will lead to interview requests.
- Proactively follow up with your 1st degree connections via LinkedIn Messaging, both new and old connections (assuming they fit the profile of your ideal employer or consulting engagement).
- This process is the MOST IMPORTANT way of converting connections into appointments & interviews.
- Don’t ask directly for an interview or position – especially not in the very first message!
- This is a “lead nurture” process of building trust, rapport and human connection. Plus you don’t want to appear desperate or spammy.
- Create a 5 or 6 step message sequence, dripped out over time, with the goal of triggering a response – e.g:
- Upon connection – Message 1
- 2 line introduction with your specialty. “Hi Bob, thanks for connecting with me, I wrote an article on ‘5 Tips on How to ….” “May I share it with you?” PRO TIP: Use your phone and video the message, then send it via the LinkedIn app. They get to see you and know you better.
- 3 days later – Message 2
- Provide a short fact on how you have helped another company plus, a another teaser, “Do you want to find out more?”
- 4 days later – Message 3
- “I haven’t heard back, are you also experiencing any challenges in these areas ….?”
- 7 days later – Message 4
- “I know you are busy, is there anyway I can help take some of the load off of you?”
- 10 days later – Message 5
- If timing is not right, I’d be glad to connect when it is a better time. Remember I can help in these three areas ….
Once you get a response, take the conversation offline by converting them to a phone appointment.
Pro Tip: Using Video Email can achieve a response rate of up to 80%! Tools include:
5. Content: Build Your Personal Brand. Become a recognized authority and generate inbound leads
Why post content on LinkedIn?
- Stay front of mind by appearing regularly in the newsfeed of your 1st degree connections
- Build your personal brand
- Position yourself as an Expert Authority by sharing insight
- Leverage the “KLT factor” – get people to Know, Like and Trust you
- Attract new followers
- Generate inbound leads
How often should I post?
- Ideally 1x per day, Min 1x per week
- CONSISTENCY is key
- Spend 15-min/day creating and sharing high quality content on LinkedIn relevant to your area of expertise
What type of content should I post?
- Photos (this is so easy, only takes 5 min)
- Spontaneous selfie in working situations with relevant content.
- You attending an industry conference
- Capture key moments with you consulting or teaching
- Ask a question related to your field of expertise. Such as: Advice please! How would YOU respond to this text?
- Post something provocative but relevant like: Why we don’t hire many active candidates.
- Check out this great example: LinkedIn Content in 20-min per day:’ Lee DeSousza Recent activity/
Or you can take it to the next level and build content through more involved media:
- Articles / Blogs / White Papers
- Pod Cast
- Create your very own pod cast to build trust and credibility.
- Origin Stories and Becoming Desirable – By Kiernan O’Connor
6. Engagement: Leverage Social Selling by Using Behavioral Cues (i.e. Someone Engaged with a Post) as way to identify prospects and start conversations in a natural way
- When prospective contacts engage with your content, by liking, sharing or commenting, those are really warm leads …FOLLOW UP!
- You should strategically comment on other people’s content to:
- attract the attention of the person who posted the content and/or
- attract the attention of their audience
- Be INTENTIONAL about what content you engage with. Focus on:
- existing connections to build the relationship,
- prospective clients as a pre-cursor to reaching out to them,
- influencers who share the SAME target audience as you do.
- If you identify a prospect who has commented on your content – or someone else’s – use that as a reason to contact them, either inviting them to connect or sending them a message if you’re already connected.
Pro Tip: Keep your message short, mention how you found them, and ask a question to which they will feel compelled to respond.
Job hunting is not easy. It can be a full-time job in itself. However, their can be significant rewards financially and in job satisfaction if you are persistent and consistent. 70% of all people are hired through personal relationships – not recruiters. The more networking and relationships you build the higher your chances are at getting hired.
“Always keep your foot on the gas!”
Too often I seen job seekers land a few interviews and they relax thinking they have one of those opportunities in the “bag,” and too often I see where all of those opportunities don’t pan out. This leaves the job seeker back and ground zero. Therefore, I always advise people to never, ever take your foot off the gas until you sign an offer letter. Continue to keep your search active and alive. Having options at the time of an offer is also powerful negotiating tool during the offer stage, but that’s a topic for another article.
Good hunting. Stay social, relevant and diligent.
- The Million Pound LinkedIn Message: How One Single LinkedIn Message Opened the Door to a £1,000,000 Sale, by Daniel Disney
- Booked: The digital marketing and social media appointment setting system for anyone looking for a steady stream of leads, appointments, and new clients, by Josh Turner
- Linked Inbound: 8 Social Selling Strategies to Generate Leads on LinkedIn by Sam Rathling
- LinkedIn Unlocked: Unlock the Mystery of LinkedIn to Drive More Sales Through Social Selling, by Melonie Dodaro
NOTE: Credit to Mark Whitby for providing content for this article but substantially repurposed and edited for the benefit of job seekers by Tim Howard.
Other Job Hunting Resources:
Recovering From a Job Loss:
- Laid Off? Fired? Here are 5 ways to get over the Grief of Losing your Job.
- 5 Ways to use Mind Control to Land Your Dream Job
Finding Job Opportunities:
- Who’s Hiring and who’s Freezing – Candor
- Companies hiring right now
- Should you apply on-line? Here’s a better way…
Attracting Hiring Managers:
- Six (6) Resume Writing Myths and How to Get More Responses on your Resume
- Six (6) Powerful Ways to Attract More Career Opportunities on LinkedIn
- Put the X-factor in your job search
- How to Handle Common Interview Questions
- More Interviewing Tips
- Using the S.T.A.R. Method to tell better Stories during Interviews
- Prep’ing for Behavior Based Interview Questions/
Job hunting is a full-time job itself and companies are hiring. Within these articles, you will find ways to be more strategic and productive, than just applying on-line. We hope you find this helpful. Your diligence and technique will outperform your luck. Good hunting.
About Tim Howard
Tim Howard is the founder of 4 technology firms including Fortify Experts which helps companies hire the Best Cyber Talent on the Planet as well as provides expert consulting and NIST based security assessments.
In addition, he has a passion for helping CISO’s develop Higher Performing Teams through coaching, by creating interactive CISO Forums and by helping them create highly-effective team cultures.
He also teamed up with Lyndrel Downs to launch www.CybersecurityDIVAS.com to help promote the most influential women in cybersecurity and provide a mentoring program to help encourage and support more diversity within the cybersecurity industry.
Tim has been leading technology staffing teams for over 20 years and has degrees from Texas A&M University in Industrial Distribution and Marketing.
Invite me to connect: www.linkedin.com/in/timhoward