As my fiancé kicked his job search into full gear, I gently reminded him I was here if he needed any guidance. He took me up on my offer, and together we worked on revamping his resume and cover letter, along with his LinkedIn profile.
Pleased with the final products, he was ready to begin applying to roles he was interested in. “I think I’ve got it from here,” he told me, and so I gave him space to send applications into a black hole. Dozens of customized cover letters later and not a peep.
“Job searching sucks,” he said, incredibly (and understandably) frustrated.
As a career coach and job-search consultant, I know having an updated resume is essential, but with 85% of critical jobs being filled via networking, I also know the most effective chance of landing an interview is through building connections.
Once I explained this, he was ready to adopt a new approach to his search.
The techniques I introduced him to yielded more results in one day than he’d seen yet. It’s entirely possible to find work without applying to a job posting like hundreds or thousands of other candidates.
One simple and effective technique to open up more opportunities is through leveraging social media. As a job seeker, you can gain a lot of traction through being proactive in liking, commenting, and reaching out to other employers on LinkedIn. Here’s what you need to know to get started.
The Power of Boolean Searches on LinkedIn
LinkedIn’s especially powerful when used with Boolean search basics. Never heard of it?
Let me explain: Often times you’ll yield thousands of matching results if you just type in a simple keyword. Boolean search allows users to combine keywords with modifiers to provide the most relevant results. By doing this, you can easily home in on quality results that align with your background.
My partner found that this type of search increased his productivity and decreased his time searching as he no longer needed to sift through pages of irrelevant positions.
So, for example, let’s say you’re seeking a project management role but not one that requires a technical background. To avoid seeing a flood of positions that you don’t qualify for, you’d search like this:
Taking this one step further, you can now look at recent status updates that show people who are hiring for a specific role in your targeted geographical area. This would look like this:
What this is saying: Please show me all non-IT project manager roles in Los Angeles that are open. When you click the Posts tab, you’ll start to see status updates of new opportunities—often from hiring managers, corporate recruiters, or search firm recruiters.
My partner found this simple step incredibly effective for two reasons: It allowed him to see hiring managers and recruiters who had opportunities that matched his specific background, and it opened up a direct communication channel to encourage engagement with the hiring managers.
This ultimately allowed him to skip the “apply and pray” approach he’d previously utilized with no luck by following one of two options:
Option 1: Comment Publicly (if You’re Unemployed)
If you come across a status update that intrigues you, you can comment and “like” the status to express your interest. This is a great approach if you’re currently unemployed and comfortable with your network seeing your interaction. When the poster is notified of your “like” and comment, they’ll get curious and click on your profile to see if the interest is mutual.
Here’s an example:
I’m happy to see [Company Name] is hiring. I was impressed to recently read about the [specific research that shows you know what the company is up to!]. Congratulations! I would be interested in the [position title] as it would be great to contribute my [description of experience] to make this project possible
As an unemployed job seeker, this is the approach my fiancé took. His public commenting meant that other recruiters who were searching similarly often came across his comments. The posters followed up to his comment with a direct message (InMail) to continue the conversation, asking him to send over his resume for their review.
Option 2: Reach Out Directly (if You’re Currently Employed)
It’s important to remember everything posted in comments is publicly visible. If you’re currently employed and don’t want your network and employer to learn that you’re interested in new opportunities, I recommend clicking on the poster’s profile and sending them an InMail or invitation to connect directly.
A sample message may look like this:
Hi [Name of Poster],
I recently came across your status update requesting [position title]. After reviewing the job description and reading more about [Name of Company], I would like to reach out and learn more about the role to determine if it’s a good match for my [experience description] in the [type of industry] industry.
I’m looking forward to connecting. Thank you.
Again, this is an effective technique to open up a direct dialogue with the poster notifying people of new opportunities. It’s important to note in both options, a clear and engaging LinkedIn profile is incredibly important since it serves as your interim resume.
As the weeks progressed, my fiancé went on final round interviews with two companies—neither of which he applied to online. Would he have received an interview (and offer!) if he’d applied to these companies directly through the website? I guess we’ll never know.
But my prediction is he beat out several other applicants whose resumes will never receive so much as a second glance.