Cox senior recruiter Julie Wesely shares her winning strategies for effective job hunting on LinkedIn. Here’s what you need to know.
One of the most valuable tools for a successful job search nowadays is LinkedIn. Why? It’s where you can share your skills and experience with employers, build your network and establish your online presence as a professional — plus, recruiters can search and find you on the platform.
Case in point: One of our very own senior recruiters, Julie Wesely, said she uses the platform as a search engine to find candidates with the right industry experience. She also appreciates it when job seekers take the initiative to connect with her, whether it’s to ask for advice on their resume or find out about a specific job opening at Cox.
“People go on LinkedIn all the time; it’s literally for social networking among professionals,” said Julie, who’s been a recruiter for almost two decades, including the last eight years at Cox. “In every recruiting position that I’ve been in, I’ve used LinkedIn to find people.”
Here, we break down our top tips on how to use LinkedIn to your advantage during a job search.
1. Update your LinkedIn profile with your target audience in mind
Your LinkedIn profile is an extension of your resume, so you want to keep both up to date for your job search.
“This is your resume in a virtual form,” Julie said.
When adding new content to your profile, consider who’s going to see it: peers, leaders, as well as other professionals or recruiters in your industry. And just like in your resume, you want to make sure you’re showcasing the types of skills, experience and credentials that’ll make you stand out for whatever job or career move you’re after.
2. Use quality keywords related to your job search
As Julie mentioned, LinkedIn is a networking platform and a search engine all in one: while job seekers can search for jobs they’re interested in, recruiters can search for candidates who meet their own criteria.
To increase your chances of showing up on a recruiter’s radar, make sure your profile has the keywords for the types of jobs you’re looking for. Your location, the roles you’ve held, the companies you’ve worked for and the skills and industry expertise you’ve developed all contribute as keywords for recruiters to find you.
“People are out there searching, and you don’t know who’s looking for you and your skill set,” Julie said. “On my end, I’m running a search for this skill set or this job title or this company, and that’s how I’m getting this list of people and start going through them.”
Don’t go overboard and include every single job you’ve ever had, though. Try to curate the experience for the types of opportunities you’re looking for now. For example, if you’re advanced in your sales career and are now looking for a leadership role, it’s safe to assume you don’t need to include that sales job you had while in college.
“If you see a job you like that you’re qualified for, look through its keywords and start using those keywords in your LinkedIn profile — that’s what gets you the calls,” Julie said. “You just need to make sure that you can prove to a recruiter exactly why you’re qualified for this.”
3. Check for completeness
LinkedIn assigns different strengths to profiles based on their completeness. The platform’s algorithm rewards those who have a completed profile and makes it easier to show up in search results for employers and recruiters looking for candidates.
This is where your LinkedIn profile differs from your resume. While you want to keep your resume concise and to the point, you can — and should — include more information on your profile that may help you get noticed by hiring managers or recruiters.
For example, you can reach out to a colleague or mentor and ask them to write a recommendation for you to display on your profile. And if you’re in a creative field, you can include links to your published work, portfolio, photos and videos.
Pro tip: Add your LinkedIn URL into your resume so you’re pointing recruiters and hiring managers to learn more about you online.
4. Make connections with people — especially when you’re *not* in job-hunting mode
One of main reasons we all got on LinkedIn in the first place is to make connections and expand our professional network. There are professional industry groups you can join, and industry thought leaders you can follow for inspiration. You can also lean on your connections for help and advice.
But it’s often a lot easier — and more pleasant — to establish a rapport with someone before you need any favors from them.
Julie recommends following companies you’re interested in and connecting with recruiters and leaders in teams you’d want to work in. That way, you’ll be able to see when they’re hiring and make it seamless to reach out about a specific job you want.
“There’s so much power in making those connections and then people can see you and talk to you,” Julie said. “Make those connections now, and you’re going to have support when you need it.”
Julie explains that when someone from her network reaches out about a job opening at Cox, she appreciates their initiative and, if they’re a good fit, will pass their name along, put them in front of a hiring manager, or point them in the right direction.
“I’m going to want to give them some sort of priority,” she explained.
5. Be aware of your words and actions online
How you act online can be a double-edged sword, so keep that in mind when you’re posting content or making comments or remarks online.
“Remember that you are either representing yourself or the company that you’re with, and that will stick with you,” Julie said.