Changing a job or career is never an easy task. Many of you think about it all of the time, but never actually go through with it because of the perceived amount of work that goes into the process.
While it isn’t an easy thing to make a major change in your life (they say nothing worthwhile ever is), it is time to put your best foot forward and make the effort. As someone who recently changed companies, I have been where you are. I put off my own job search despite being unhappy with my role and career growth potential for over a year because I just did not know where to start.
Then one random night something happened, motivation literally woke me up in the middle of the night—seriously. I heard a chime on my phone, it was a text message from a friend who just landed the job he had been working to get for three years. His back story is incredible, and as a former athlete his story would be great for you to hear at a later time, but let’s get back to the motivation he provided me, which he gave me in the form of three easy LinkedIn tips.
Update Your LinkedIn Profile
This one seems like a no brainer, but many job seekers seem to ignore LinkedIn because of the perception that it does not have the immediacy of Facebook and Twitter as a social network. However, that is not the case—in fact I would not be here writing for you today if it were not for the great connections you can make through LinkedIn.
What I want you to do this weekend (the sooner the better actually) is this. Remove one hour of scrolling through Facebook or getting into Twitter arguments this weekend, and take a look at your LinkedIn profile. Review your job history, read through those job descriptions and take a look at what you have done in your past. Pretend you are a prospective employer doing this, and ask yourself, “Would these things impress me if I was hiring someone?”
That is where I started when updating my personal LinkedIn account for a job search. Any prospective employer can Google your former company’s name and find out what that company did, they are coming to your LinkedIn to find out what YOU did. This is an opportunity to separate yourself from the crowd with data points, completed projects and a display of your work—take advantage of it!
Also, if you have a selfie as your profile picture—remove it now. Throw on some dress clothes for 5 minutes and have a friend snap a headshot of you. This really should not be all that difficult people, your phone is more advanced than most digital cameras on the market. If you do not think this matters, it does. The person who hired that friend I talked about before actually complimented him for having a professional LinkedIn picture in his interview.
Download the LinkedIn Job Search App
Stop whatever you are doing on your phone right now—whether that is sending a Snap to one of your friends, listening to Spotify or Tindering your life away. Don’t get me wrong, those are all entertaining apps but you need to add a more important one to your arsenal right now—the LinkedIn Job Search app.
For a generation that spends more time looking down at their phones, the ability to search for and view jobs by opening an app is fantastic. On top of this, being signed in through your LinkedIn profile will provide you the opportunity (if the job has this function attached to it) to apply right there in the app with your LinkedIn account. Seriously, it is easier than swiping left or right on a Friday or Saturday night!
Did you find a job you want to apply for and cannot do through the app? That’s okay, just simply hit the save button and then head over to your computer and log into LinkedIn on there. Most people can spend days trying to find two or three jobs they are interested in to apply for, you can identify two or three in five minutes—that’s a pretty powerful tool if you ask me.
Connect to Others (Even Recruiters) Who Message You
I know what you are thinking right now, NexGoal is a corporate recruiting firm that places former athletes in jobs—of course they want me to respond to recruiters who message me. Well, you caught me, kind of. Obviously the team here at NexGoal is great and provides our clients and prospective job seekers with an advantage they cannot get through job boards (click here to find out more), but there are other reasons for this tip.
First off, LinkedIn provides you an opportunity to connect with people all over the country and world.
Let’s say you talked to a presenter at a conference for a couple of minutes but forgot to get his/her contact information, that’s okay. Simply look him up on LinkedIn and ask to connect, and then send a nice follow up message that is not intrusive. Some will not reach back out, and that is okay—but those who do could be a key asset in advancing your skills and career one day.
As someone who writes about sports as well, LinkedIn and social media has given me a platform to connect with and write with some great websites over the years. Honestly, I am not sure those opportunities would have been there if I did not take the time to reach out to someone to ask for advice on how to keep advancing my writing career.
Now, let’s get to the recruiting side of LinkedIn—because it truly offers an excellent opportunity for job seekers. On a lot of job posts, you can actually see who the contact person (recruiter) is for that position, and that offers a huge advantage to job seekers in today’s market.
Gone are the days of submitting a resume to human resources and then sending a follow-up email to firstname.lastname@example.org hoping for a response. Now you can simply send the person who posted the job a message right there on LinkedIn to let them know you applied and ask what the next step is in the process.
So, next time you think that message from someone you do not know is spam, remember that person could hold the keys to your next job. Take the time to connect and spend a few minutes responding to their questions, you never know what opportunities are waiting once you hit the connect button.