Your digital footprint is critical when you’re searching for a job. Recruiters and hiring managers likely will search you online - both to confirm your credentials and get a glimpse of your identity beyond how you present yourself during interviews. In fact, many employers have moved past the resume, and don’t put any weight on this historical staple of the job application process.
A LinkedIn account is a living, breathing extension of your resume and a key networking tool. Think of it as your own branding tool. It’s also the main search tool for hiring managers and recruiters to find people with the skills and experience they desire.
Here are a few ways to leverage the existing tools and information in LinkedIn:
- Follow the companies, CEOs, and senior leadership of the companies where you’d like to work someday. They will often post new open positions on LinkedIn as well. You can also set up alerts within LinkedIn when positions at your targeted companies become available. Not only is this a way to stay on top of new job openings, but you’ll get notified about new articles posted by the company and its leader, a great way to stay on top of what’s important to their business.
- Publish your own articles on LinkedIn, writing about something of interest and topical in your field to build credibility and your image as a thought leader in your industry. Tag people and groups you want to engage and add hashtags to maximize your post’s reach. Pro-tip: Posting between Tuesday and Thursday, either early in the morning, lunchtime or early evening, as well as 10am and 11am on Tuesday are when LI users are most engaged (according to Hubspot research).
- Join LinkedIn groups within your professional field, your educational institutions, or other professional networking groups.
- Ensure your LinkedIn profile contains keywords that will match the job descriptions of desired roles, since LinkedIn recruiting tools match profiles to job postings based, in part, on keywords identified by recruiters for the specific roles they seek to fill.
- Seek endorsements and recommendations from past and present colleagues to demonstrate your leadership qualities and strengths. Choose wisely on who you ask, since you surely will be asked to reciprocate.
Create a Landing Page
A landing page is a single-page website. If it’s done well, it can generate topic discussions during your interview or can even help you get the interview in the first place. When you create your own page, post it on your LinkedIn profile, Twitter account, and anywhere else you have a digital account. It's not as daunting as it sounds and will set you apart since not many people take advantage of free landing pages (especially mid-career professionals). It’s one more tool to create the desired profile you want online. Not only does a landing page add more personality to who you are, but it also provides context. If you’ve engaged in personal or charitable pursuits that highlight your skills, add those too. As an example, “conceived, planned, and executed the first annual fundraiser walk for the Melanoma Foundation in my community after a neighbor succumbed to the disease, which has continued annually for 8 years and raised over $500k for cancer research.“ That information illustrates leadership, perseverance, empathy, compassion, organization, and the ability to bring others along to achieve a common and worthy goal.
Additionally, you could include an area on your landing page called "Self Improvement" where you could list favorite TED Talks or business book reviews with top takeaways from each. Consider things that provide an additional layer to who you are, what you’re interested in, and how that could be valuable to an organization.
Here are a few companies that offer free landing pages.
Wix: They have a free basic version with plenty of different templates to choose from and that are easy to use. The price for paid versions ranges from $13 to $500 per month. The Combo plan is the cheapest at $13 per month, and gives you an ad-free site. The $17 per month Unlimited plan is best for freelancers.
Site123: I was able to set up a basic website in 30 minutes. Very user friendly. The upgrade (if you want to pay for it) includes your own domain name for $142 per year. If you choose not to pay for a domain name, your URL risks looking a bit spammy but that is what you get for using this free tool.
A Word About Resumes:
Some would argue that resumes aren't being used much anymore because if you have LinkedIn, why duplicate it? However, many companies still ask for one. A well-written resume is a living document and it should always change according to the role you are applying for at that moment. Keep it up to date. Before you send it to an employer, have a few friends look it over. You can find plenty of modern templates online through websites such as Canva and Resumonk. These are super easy to use and you can save it to pdf easily. Taking care to create a more modern looking resume illustrates you keep up on trends.
If you don't hear back from the company even if you feel like you are a "perfect fit", send a kind follow up. Keep on connecting with others, building your network and relationships, and believe in yourself. It will happen.
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Emily’s vision for illume hire developed as part of her journey from a startup-curious sales and media professional to co-founder and CEO. Her passion is to provide resources to support professionals with 20+ years experience. Emily was part of the founding leadership team of Age Equity Alliance, a non-profit focused on the benefits of an intergenerational team.