Finding Jobs on LinkedIn – How to Do It Properly

Common sense dictates that finding jobs on LinkedIn should be easy. It’s a professional networking site, after all.

It therefore stands that getting a job through the platform should also be straightforward. Especially if you want to work from home or land your next, full-time remote job.

From personal experience, I can’t say that this is true. Emphasis on personal. Jobseekers get hired through the platform every day. Yet apart from the odd freelance contract or two, it hasn’t happened to me.

Surprisingly (or perhaps not…) I’ve come to realize that telecommute options seem to be even more scarce.

While I still haven’t managed to even land an interview, something clicked with me a while back. I realized that I and every other job seeker is sitting on a potential goldmine for new opportunities. What’s more, this has nothing to do with their job search feature.

linkedin job search engine
On that note, digital nomads and remote workers may appreciate that you can exclusively search for telecommute jobs in place of location. A step in the right direction, at least.

Those who do manage to meet recruiters, land interviews and get hired through the platform are doing it differently. They go beyond simply setting up a profile and connecting with everyone they know.

They’re taking LinkedIn more seriously… as a networking platform.

NOT as a job search engine. If anything, I’ve realized…

…as a “job board”, LinkedIn sucks.

Technically, the job search feature is fine. Like I pointed out, you can actually use it to find remote-friendly, work from home jobs. However, there just aren’t that many advertised. What’s more, most of what you do discover have already been posted elsewhere (Indeed, Stepstone, Monster and on remote job boards).

For the most part, I’ve found the search feature to be somewhat redundant. The job suggestions would be useful if the jobs suggested hadn’t already been posted somewhere else.

So, remember this: LinkedIn is not a job board. It is a social networking site for professionals. A place to gather new connections, expand your network and polish your personal brand.

Finding jobs on LinkedIn starts with your network

The word network cannot be emphasised enough.

Connecting with people you know (or don’t) is certainly part of it, but that’s really just the beginning. It’s just an introduction. Real networking happens by having conversations which further serve to develop relationships with your connections.

Part of networking lies in giving – doing things for other people without expecting something in return. Endorsing skills, suggesting people for jobs you know they’re be suited to, etc.

In turn, this could very well open you up to future possibilities. Someone may return those favors. Pay it forward, or backward… I don’t know, I didn’t watch the movie.

pay it forward movie
Not enough chainsaws

Building your network can start with the basics I previously mentioned: people you know. Friends, acquaintances, people from school, old work colleagues.

You probably already have a handful of connections. What comes next is growing your network.

This could very well mean getting out there and physically meeting people at industry-related events, meetups etc. The good thing about social media, however, is that there are many other ways to grow your network without actually leaving the house.

For the remote workers and digital nomads among us, this is especially important. Just as we can do our jobs from (almost) anywhere, so can we network from (almost) anywhere.

Take a look at the following points if you really want ideas on expanding your network. Bear in mind that these points are also great for increasing your own visibility (to employers and recruiters).

Seriously, get involved in online communities

If you’re a digital nomad, you’re shooting yourself in the foot if you’re not involved in at least one thriving digital nomad community. Even if nomading isn’t your thing, joining online forums and discussion groups related to your industry (or to remote working/networking) is a great place to exchange ideas, get inspiration and yes, maybe even land a job.

You can further use these communities to build up your LinkedIn connections. If you get on with someone, don’t be shy. Ask to connect. Offer to endorse a few skills. Remember, people like it when you have something to offer (it doesn’t even have to be big).

Join LinkedIn groups

LinkedIn groups serve the same purpose as online communities, except they’re all gathered on the site. There are tonnes of communities, too. Really take the time to research them, see how active they are and what content is being shared.

Note: You can of course connect with random strangers in your industry, hiring managers, recruiters etc. But should you? Personally, I don’t. I also don’t respond to random connections, unless they write a message explaining why.

Involve yourself in discussions

On both LinkedIn and elsewhere… but especially LinkedIn. Like, comment and share content that is relevant to your industry/working style and engage with people. This gives your profile more visibility and will show off your expertise and areas of knowledge. Which recruiters and hiring managers may pick up on.

Share your own content (if you have some)

Not just your blog content – but also a few well thought-out posts or even your own articles. You can use LinkedIn Pulse to publish or even repurpose articles from your blog(s). And no, as far as I’m aware there is no duplicate content penalty.

You don’t even have to post that frequently, you just have to be consistent (and yes, I am very much failing at consistency). This isn’t Twitter (which is actually why I prefer it… too noisy for my tastes).

Really give your profile some TLC

Fill it out as much as possible, highlight relevant skills, try and get people in your network to endorse those skills… and make sure you have an interesting profile biography. It doesn’t have to be long, but it should capture the attention of the right people.

You can also let recruiters know that you’re available. Don’t worry, though: the platform keeps this information from your current employer if you’re working.

How this has helped me (so far)

I stated earlier that I still haven’t gotten an interview through LinkedIn, even though I’m currently looking for a new job. I have certainly been getting interviews, but not here. Yet I have noticed that my chances have become higher because…

  • More people are looking at my profile (this is partially because of sending around 8 job applicants a week, I’ll admit).
  • People are liking and commenting on my articles/posts and reshares.
  • I am engaging more. I’ve been using online communities to discuss aspects of remote work and have already connected with quite a few people.
  • Recruiters are approaching me.

Basically, I can see the beginnings of it happening. Just this morning, a recruiter from a company in Berlin expressed interest in my profile. That may lead to an interview if I like the job specs.

If you’re an impatient person (like I am), all of this can seem very long-winded and not really worth the effort. However, times have changed and for the most part, “jobs for life” are no longer a thing. You’re probably going to spend a lot of your career looking for new opportunities.

Building up a good network will not only serve you to land your next position (remote or not) but could very well serve you with an excellent resource for the rest of your career.

Personal Branding: Creating Your Mark

Personal branding isn’t taught in schools.

Which is a good thing for me, because I would’ve failed.

Most people like talking about themselves. When it comes to job applications though… many of us fall miserably short – myself included. Most of us aren’t great at highlighting our strengths and literally selling ourselves on paper. Again, this is something I fall victim to. That’s despite being quite good at writing sales copy.

The good news is there’s plenty of information about it on the Internet. The even better news is that creating a personal brand for yourself isn’t difficult! The majority of us just want to find a job. Even a bit of quick, slightly-better-than-average personal branding can make you stand out from the pile of CVs sitting on your potential employer’s desk.

kitten
There’s also plenty of information about cats… which may distract you.

All marketers (digital or not) are familiar with branding. A brand is the mark of a product or service. It’s instantly recognizable. It has its own style and flow. Logos are the ultimate example: many of the most successful logos are simple and can be recognized even during sunset, against the skyline. Just take a look at McDonald’s…

mcdonalds logo

Even if lights malfunctioned, the outline of Ronald’s Golden Arches would still be recognizable. There are very few people in the world nowadays who don’t know what McDonald’s is or where to find one. Pretty much anyone who has ever been anywhere know exactly what that giant M is pointing to.

So that’s just branding. Now it’s time to get personal…

What is personal branding?

With this type of branding, the product you’re advertising and selling is yourself. Or, more specifically, your experience and skill set. That’s what often gets a lot of people: it scares the shit out of most of us. It means we have to examine ourselves, recognize our weaknesses and really dig deep to find strengths that employers want to use.

The truth is, it’s not really that scary. You simply package what you’re good at then give it a bit of a “brush up”. Put it in front of the right buyers, and they’ll salivate all over it.

chocolate cake
If you try offering them cake, be prepared to deliver.

In my first blog post, I talked about shameless self-promotion and mentioned that I disliked it intensely. Many people are awful at marketing themselves (myself included), primarily because they feel it to be embarrassing/icky. What’s helped me in this situation is to create an emotional disconnect and view my brand as a product, a project.

Personal Branding Tips – Building the foundation

I could give you stock personal branding tips like “Start with what you like most”, “Be honest but no too honest” or “Don’t brag but don’t hide your skills”. These have a lot of truth in them – but they tell us nothing about how to actually build your brand. Zilch.

You already know what you’re good at – if your job history is anything to go by. Since most personal brand builders are aiming to snag employers/clients, it shouldn’t be too difficult to list your skills. The trick is finding a starting point for “publishing” this list, making it look attractive and -ultimately- ensuring that the right people see it.

Your CV already does that. But it’s crap. Because all CVs are boring.

In most industries these days (outside of online-based ones), it’s still a very good idea to have a website. Failing that, a blog is better. Most tips regarding personal branding sometimes overemphasize the beauty of a blog/website. It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece. It has to be a showcase, something that clearly displays everything you can do – as well as your greatest achievements.

cupcakes
For example, bakers can well display a portfolio of the beautiful cakes they make.

If you’re floundering and looking for a myriad of personal branding tips to get you going, stop. Gather your best work: bakers, get your cakes ready. Copywriters, compile your portfolio. Candle-makers… Get pictures of your lovely candles.

  • Create a portfolio site. With the countless free website builders around, this is pretty easy. WordPress it up, Joomla the crap out of it (or try Wix… very slow, but useful if you’re scared of HTML).
  • Do try to make it look nice. Like I said, it doesn’t have to be masterpiece. However, it shouldn’t be an eyesore (and no flashing/spinning/undulating images… this isn’t Geocities in the 90s).
  • Blog about it! You don’t have to, but it helps. You also don’t have to blog often… Once a month should do.
  • Promote it: Put the link to your portfolio in your CV. Link it to whatever social media accounts you have (personal branding definitely calls for the likes of a LinkedIn account!).

So, when getting your personal brand off the ground… That’s pretty much it. Personal branding tips will also dictate that you actively promote it. How much you do this, however, depends on you. Freelancers who are always on the lookout for new clients should dedicate a little time to getting their voice out there.

megaphone
Megaphones probably aren’t the best way, though…

Personal Branding Tips – A few ideas

Once you have a solid basis, you can take a look at a few tips to bring your personal branding further. Sharing your knowledge is a great way to get interested parties reading your blog. Twitter it, Instagram it, Facebook it. If you’re a writer, use your own unique voice (and establish the “voice” of your own brand first). SEOs can optimize their sites and track the analytics.

When it comes to discussing professional topics, I’d actually recommend LinkedIn and Twitter. Sure, Twitter’s not as “serious”, however I’ve found it to be a valuable source of knowledge and insight… All while letting you have a little fun. While LinkedIn is more “stiff” – it is actually a brilliant place to craft your professional persona.

Shameless Self-Promotion: Starting Off as a Digital Marketer

I’m not new to the digital and online marketing game. I’ve been doing it for over six years, beginning as a humble copywriter (at first working with content mills *shudder*). Eventually, I was taken seriously enough to work in what some might call a “grownup” job. I did SEO in the online dating industry. That being said, I believe any job that gets the bills paid on time is a grownup job. Though some might disagree…

There’s a lot to be said for self-promotion: and what I can is… I hate it. I don’t like writing about myself. However, in a professional context it helps to get the word out. It’s much easier to big-up dating sites, dental offices in random US towns I’ve never heard of and countless other products (even VoIP… though I had to research thoroughly into what VoIP was back in the day). So, the first step was creating my own site.

Building a Professional Website/Online CV: Where to start?

If you work in any marketing job, you’ll probably want to have your resume or CV out there for everyone (who is relevant) to read. So, it makes sense to have a website. Whilst my web development skills are currently still nascent, I do know my way around HTML and CSS at least. However, during the last week I’ve needed to get things done fast. So, I chose Wix.com to help me build a professional site – quickly.

wix landing page
Beautiful… but SLOW

I must say I found it confusing at first, coming from a coding background. I eventually got the hang of the tools. Although you can’t actually code anything yourself, the Wix site builder does helpfully indicate what titles and paragraphs are (h1, h2, etc.) for SEO purposes (which, to be honest, would be ridiculous if they didn’t…).

The site actually looks quite nice. There are a lot of themes that you can easily customize and quite fast as well: the site was up and running in a few days, and all I had to do was add content, chop and change things until it turned into something I could bear to look at.

My biggest problems with the Wix.com website builder?

I live in Germany. The word “Wix” in German (pronounced “Vix” and spelled “Wichs” by Germans) sounds like something very indecent that you ought to do in the privacy of your own room. While potential clients and employers may or may not be German, there will probably be a few people who’ll have a good chuckle.

Practically speaking, the site is very slow when it comes to loading (it does have a ton of features to make the site-building process as easy as possible). It took a good few seconds. While I’m not expecting the site to rank high on search engines, it doesn’t look very good for a digital marketing strategist to have any site that takes an eon to load.

I do plan on leaving it for now, though. The site looks nice, clean and displays my work experience, portfolio and projects clearly and efficiently. However, I think I will be migrating it to a new provider in the very near future… Lessons learned!