Social media now plays pivotal role in the recruitment process, for both job hunters and employers. Employers will often base their entire candidate sourcing process on LinkedIn, for example. Employers will also post their jobs on Facebook and Twitter, knowing that their army of followers may well hold within it the perfect candidate match for their corporate culture. Job hunters will follow companies that they want to work for, and network with friends to find out about newly available jobs.

We have looked at online job search tools in a previous article. In this piece we are going to talk about how job hunters can use LinkedIn in a dynamic, active, impressive job hunt process. The process that will set you apart from the majority of other candidates looking at jobs in your sector.

Why LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is the largest business network in the world, with around 300 million users. It is geared very much towards careers and opportunities, and also features the majority of the people in companies with recruitment responsibilities. It is a perfect place to find the people you want to work for.

Using LinkedIn to stand out from job applicants

Target some companies.

The first thing to do is to target companies that you want to work for. These companies don’t necessarily have to be advertising jobs right now, although it helps if they are. Do a bit of research on the web to find out which companies are located within your commuting distance, and have the kinds of roles that you are looking to do.

Daniel, Financial Recruiter at Express Group suggests that “the bigger the list, you can develop, the better. As you move through the recruitment process your options will drop off as you fall out of the recruitment process through the filtering process of companies, or through you decision not to proceed. If you only start with 3 companies at the start then by the end of the recruitment process you may only have one offer (if you have any). If you start with 12 or 15 companies, then you will formally end up with 4 or 5 final interviews.”

Daniel adds “Imagine the posture you will have in an interview when you can say that you are speaking to 4 other leading companies in the industry, and that you’re coming to a stage where you are making your decision. This can help you with negotiating salaries, as well as, of course, helping you to choose the company that you like best.”

Target some people

Once you’ve got your list of companies it’s time to start finding the people you need to be speaking to. LinkedIn is an amazing tool to achieve this. You can search the company name and then senior roles within the company. Don’t be afraid to go high. If you are looking at a sales executive role, then you could contact the national sales director and ask “who is the best person to be speaking to about a role in your company”. They will probably be mightily impressed by your approach, especially if you talk a little bit about why you want to work for the company.

This approach only really works if you are targeting companies that you know a little bit about, so do follow them on social media channels, and read about the roles that people are doing in the companies through LinkedIn and on the various job boards. You can also read press releases from the companies and do a search for newspaper articles on the Internet. If you truly take the time to understand the company you will already be one step ahead of most candidates looking roles.

Make a phone call

If you can find a phone number of the person you want to speak to then it is a great idea to make a phone call, rather than sending email. Respect their time, and keep it short and sweet. Be positive, be relatable, and be yourself. This is your opportunity to make a great first impression. Have a set of questions ready for them.

In which areas are you looking to expand your teams in the near future?

What skill gaps may you be looking to fill within your department?

How has your department done since the downturn of 2008?

You have to be sensitive and diplomatic in the way that you ask questions, and different questions will work for different roles. The aim of the conversation is not to get a job there and then, although it is often possible to go a long way to doing so by impressing with your approach. The aim of the call is to send the responsible person your CV and cover letter with a commitment to call them back. You then need to tailor your cover letter and your CV to the roles that you have identified may be available, and send over the CV swiftly. It’s a good idea then to make a very quick call to make sure that they have received your email.

Follow-up

At the 2nd call it’s a good idea to agree a time for a follow-up call. Don’t be pushy, as they may want to fit you into their recruitment process, rather than working outside of it through phone calls. The important thing is to display your efficiency and go-getter attitude.

If you follow this process, you are far more likely to achieve success in your job hunt. It takes time to do all of these things, but time that is worth the investment. You will end up with a job in a company that you have chosen, and has chosen you. You will have impressed people high up in the organisation and therefore will have better promotion prospects. You will have had more options to choose from at the final stage of interviews and therefore will have picked the best role for your career progression.

Become an active jobseeker on LinkedIn, rather than a passive jobseeker, throwing out CVs to hundreds of jobs getting hundreds of CVs, or posting your CV on CV banks and waiting for jobs to find you.