When you think of social media, the first go-to sites are likely to include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snap. It may not be as exciting and engaging as other sites; however, LinkedIn is the destination and home for white-collar professionals. During these challenging times, with nearly 50 million Americans recently filing for unemployment benefits and millions more seeking out new opportunities, LinkedIn offers some smart insights and valuable advice to job seekers. Here are a few recommendations from top LinkedIn accounts that focus on helping people with their job searches and achieving their career goals.
Ed Han is a self-described “talent geek” and recruiter at a top financial services organization. Han is highly engaged on LinkedIn and offers intelligent ways for people to empower themselves in their job search. To those who are newly unemployed, concerned over the safety of their current jobs or simply seek out a new and better opportunity, he offers the following advice.
“There is a ton of competition out there right now due to furloughs and employer closures. The competition is tougher now than it’s been since 2009-2010.” Han’s best advice is to “do a little competitive intelligence: see how others with your job title are talking about themselves. Go to Indeed.com and do a search for your job title and industry, and see what others are doing with their résumés.”
Han suggests that you don’t necessarily have to reinvent the wheel. Look at how others are positioning themselves and portray their talents, skills and experience. You can then incorporate what works best to make yourself stand out in a crowded field.
Since video interviews are now standard, Han strongly suggests that candidates should inquire about the systems used by the company, install the requisite software on your phone or computer and then conduct trial runs to ensure that you work out any glitches. This way, you’ll be ready and more confident when the big interview day arrives.
Andy Foote is a LinkedIn brand and content coach and one of the most well-respected experts on how to utilize LinkedIn to its fullest potential and your advantage.
LinkedIn, unlike other social media sites, does not push or promote virality. It’s hard—if not almost impossible—to become a superstar on the site, like you see on Youtube or Twitter. They even curb the amount of first-degree connections. You may have only 30,000 people.
Foote offers sage advice for people who are active on the site. Unfortunately, many folks currently find themselves engaged on LinkedIn due to a downsizing or fear of falling victim to a layoff. He points out that it used to be that only “influencers”—people such as Bill Gates and Richard Branson—on “LinkedIn had the option of having a ‘Follow’ button, instead of the usual ‘Connect’ on their profile page.” Foote says that LinkedIn now offers this feature to all of its users and wrote, “I decided to go with the Follow option. The results were what I expected and hoped for.”
Receiving daily spam-type of connection requests is one of the most annoying aspects on the platform. On a daily basis, you’re likely to receive a large number of unsolicited requests from real estate agents, stock brokers and an array of others trying to sell or market something to you. It’s time-consuming and irritating to wade through the people that you actually want to connect with and those that are just trying to get something from you.
Once he switched from connections to followers, Foote noticed that he “got a ton of followers” and was happy to see that he received fewer “useless/crap connection requests.”
This one simple change, for those who are actively building up a network, may make it easier to take control of who you want to connect with. When searching for a job, especially in this difficult environment, it’s mission critical to build and cultivate a robust network of like-minded professionals. These allies can then potentially help you find the right people at the companies you’d like to work for, which enhances your chances of success.
Sarah Johnston is an interview coach, executive résumé writer and LinkedIn branding career coach. She offers her clients, as well as LinkedIn members, tips and strategies to successfully navigate their careers.
Recently, Johnston made the case for taking a temporary position, even if it is beneath your level of expertise and experience—to get through this Covid-19 brutal job market. Johnston wrote, “Hear me out: there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking a job to help pay the bills.” She referred to an email received from an unemployed job seeker who asked Johnston what she thought about him taking a part-time job at Home Depot as a sales associate while he looks for his next corporate “director of marketing” role. The person was concerned if this would be “career suicide.”
Johnston took the position that it makes sense to stay in the game. In light of the current economic condition and disruption to the job market, there’s little or no visibility as to what the future will look like. You can’t predict when or if there will be an appropriate position available next week, next month or one year from now. It’s prudent to take an offer that would serve as a “bridge.”
She says that the candidate should ask oneself, “Does it get you out of the house? Does this help you contribute in a meaningful way? Do you like tools? Can you learn anything in this role? Will you be able to maintain job search intensity?” If the answer is “yes” to these questions, then it “sounds like a great bridge job.”
Johnston says, “Bridge jobs can be a great option because they can impact your mood, get you out of the house and can give you an income boost, so that you can take more time to find the RIGHT next job.” She suggests that a person who takes a bridge job should then “work with a résumé writer to help you address gaps and develop a positioning strategy.”
Phyllis Mufson is a career coach that helps with career change and job searches. Mufson takes a holistic approach with her clients. She recognizes that while résumés, LinkedIn profiles and the nuts and bolts of interviews are important, so is working on your mindset and attitude.
Mufson maintains that most people are dealing with the “Covid-19 brain.” This is the feeling of being overwhelmed by all of the problems swirling around us. Mufson empathizes with job seekers, as they’re “dealing with feelings of grief, trauma and trying to cope with prolonged periods of stress, which drains your energy.”
When this happens, according to Mufson, “It’s easy to succumb to ‘micro-addictions’ to distract from reality.” This could range from binge-watching too much Netflix while eating junk food to drinking too much alcohol or engaging in drug usage. One way to counter these feelings is to substitute good habits for micro-addictions. Mufson tells people to “double down on your self-care.” For instance, she says if you meditate or do yoga for 10 minutes a day, then try for 20 minutes. The same holds true for painting, practicing a musical instrument or any other positive productive outlet that takes you away from the prevailing negativity.
Ana Lokotkova is a personal branding and career search advisor, résumé and LinkedIn profile writer and a job interview coach. She recently shared three strategies to help job seekers get back on “the confidence track.”
Ana offers engaging, positive and uplifting videos to reinforce her messages. It’s easy to lose confidence when you’re sending out résumés, completing long and glitchy applications and never hear back from the companies. It’s discouraging when you finally get an interview, then you’re left in the dark when the hiring manager ghosts you. Ana suggests that you should do the following when you feel yourself slipping into feelings of despair.
1. When those negative feelings start to creep in, (vividly) remember as many of your past wins and successes as you can. Where were you? What were you doing? This will trick your brain into thinking that those same experiences are happening now and help to re-energize you.
2. Stop asking “why.” “Why didn’t I get the job?” “Why did I get laid off?” Instead, ask “what” and “how,” so that your focus is redirected to a solutions approach. “What can I do better next time?” “How can I nail the interview with Company X?”
3. Invest in your written presentation. Make sure that your LinkedIn profile and résumé reflect your accomplishments in a way that demonstrates your value.
Kenneth Lang, a LinkedIn facilitator, LinkedIn trainer, business analyst and product owner, brings up a questionable practice that’s noticed by job seekers. Lang asserts, “There’s nothing worse for a job seeker than applying for a job that isn’t actually an available job—happens all the time.”
Lang heard about this from a presenter at a networking group, who referred to the practice as building a “talent pipeline.” The job advertisement entices job seekers to apply to a position that isn’t currently available. The recruiters, however, will create a “pool of qualified candidates able to assume recently vacated or newly created positions” for a later date.
He feels that if a company places a listing for a role that’s not currently active, they should—in full disclosure—add a comment that the opportunity is for a “future position and isn’t available now.”
Applicants can proactively use Lang’s finding to their advantage by asking, “When will this job be available? Is this a new or existing opportunity?”
Given the staggering amount of unemployment and underemployment, it’s important to learn as much as possible about the job market and investigate smart ways to make yourself stand out in a crowded field.