In the workshops that I run, we often have some fantastic questions come up from professionals looking to develop their LinkedIn presence and stand out in the eyes of recruiters and hiring managers.
The workshop session earlier this month was a great example and many thanks to all who asked for advice. Here’s a quick selection:
Question: Darryl, how do you recommend expanding your network via LinkedIn in order to reach out to people who could possibly help us get the likes of internships etc.?
- There’s a lot to be said for targeting maybe half a dozen companies that you would like to work for. This focuses the process. Be sure to have a clear vision of why it is you want to work for them. Also, be able to articulate this in the setting of a telephone or face to face interview. Once you have your list, follow the companies on Linkedin and any other platforms where they have a social media presence.
- Before we can reach out to the right people at these target companies, we need to identify them. LinkedIn has some fantastic people search tools to help with this. We can, for example, locate people who have the title ‘analyst’ at ‘Deutsche Bank’ and based in ‘London’. The search feature also incorporates Boolean operators. Here’s a great video from Mark White about how powerful the revised search function is and how to use it https://youtu.be/pdCVuc_V9n4
- You should also be up to speed on the job search features within LinkedIn. In the same way that you can search for people, you can search for jobs – including using the keyword ‘internships’. I did this only last week and it unearthed some fantastic opportunities at Lloyds Bank https://twitter.com/DarrylHowes/status/968065568086650881
- You could try reaching out to people who have registered as mentors on LinkedIn. Here’s a post on how this works: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8430203/8430203-6371669867543826434
- It also goes without saying that you should make full use of the employability and professional development services within your University, College or professional body.
Question: Should I try connecting with University alumni? Is this a good way to expand my network and start conversations with the right people?
- Absolutely! This is a great way to focus and make good use of your search time. The alumni connection often pays dividends for those former graduates who feel a strong affiliation to their place of study.
- Before reaching out to anyone for this purpose, check to see if they are short-form posting or writing Articles. What are they ‘Liking’ and commenting on? I’d also recommend conducting a Google search and checking out other social media feeds in their name, including Twitter. The latter can be particularly useful in identifying interests and objectives. If you understand these, there’s a better chance of connecting.
- Some feel this is a little too close to ‘snooping’ on others. I’d draw a comparison with meeting someone at a party and first asking them about their interests and hobbies, before we spout forth on our own views and opinions. In other words, it’s an expression of good manners.
- Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Reach out to a number of people. Be realistic and bear in mind that
a) not everyone is active on LinkedIn and your message may not be seen.
b) not everyone feels closely connected to their former place of study.
c) providing information, advice and guidance to others will always be subject to the present and immediate time constraints that the ‘mentor’ is under. Be respectful of this and ‘just move on’ if necessary.
Question: I’ve been looking at the LinkedIn Career premium account? Do you think it is worth getting?
- Hmmm. The LinkedIn Career product offers Premium features for job seekers. These include direct messaging to recruiters, the ability to stand out as a featured applicant and more detailed information on ‘Who’s viewed Your Profile?’. The cost is about £25 per month, with the first month free.
- Is it worth it? Most LinkedIn users take advantage of the free offering. Those that pay tend to be salespeople using Sales Navigator or recruiters using the Hiring product. Basic (free) LinkedIn still offers some very good search features. These help find the people you want to engage with, as well as lots of other goodies. For internship seekers, the answer is probably ‘No’. (but see below).
- An internship seeker in my November 2017 class came up with a canny workaround. They took out a paid subscription, but very carefully diarised to cancel their card continuing authority just before the free month expired. They claimed this allowed them to identify very closely a hiring manager who looked at their profile. They were able then to follow up the conversation offline (the blog above says more about how ‘Who Viewed Your Profile?’ works). If you decide to try this, remember to cancel before the charges kick in.
- You can go Premium at https://premium.linkedin.com/jobsearch/features . Or click the ‘Reactivate Premium’ button on your Homepage.
Thanks to all for your brilliant questions! If there are any more, please do contact me at +44 (0)7821 510 814 or firstname.lastname@example.org