Never Apply for a Job Again--How to Use LinkedIn to Attract Job Opportunities
If you are unemployed, you know that searching and applying for jobs is the worst. Scouring postings, emailing your resume, and crossing your fingers isn’t an effective job search strategy. Instead, wouldn’t you prefer to attract right-fit job opportunities right to your inbox?
Now is the perfect time to create a LinkedIn profile. The opportunity to network with other professionals is at an all-time high since COVID-19. But if you are using LinkedIn to apply to jobs, it also means your resume could be buried in a deluge of applications. If your resumes keep getting rejected or you can’t even get an interview, you might be using LinkedIn wrong. Or at least ineffectively.
LinkedIn isn’t just a job board—it’s a powerful, but underutilized, social platform. Which means a lot of the old social media rules apply: post good content and make sure it gets seen.
When you post regularly, you increase traffic to your LinkedIn profile, which is a much better representation of your personal brand than a resume.
When I was laid off from Disney due to COVID-19, I started looking for work alongside thousands of others. But after a series of auto-rejection emails, I felt like it was a waste of my time. Instead of searching for jobs, I wanted jobs to find me.
So, I stopped applying and started posting. Every lead I acquired was a direct result of my LinkedIn posts.
Every. Single. One.
By posting consistently, I attracted job opportunities right to my inbox. I grew my network by almost a thousand connections, received offers for speaking opportunities, and received over 37,000 views of my profile in the past three months. I even had a post go viral—reaching over 1.8 million people as of this writing.
Creating a presence on LinkedIn isn’t rocket science, but it takes a purposeful approach. And you DO NOT have to be a marketing professional to successfully attract job offers.
If you are tired of endless rejection emails and you want to take control of your job search, read below for some content ideas and practical tips to increase profile views and job opportunity DMs.
*I’ve also included a bunch of helpful links at the bottom of this post if you would like to learn more about content marketing, social media, storytelling, and more.
When The Walt Disney Company announced 28,000 jobs would be eliminated, the news made national media.
When I received my call the next day, I had a lot of feelings and I felt compelled to write. I knew there were others (27,999 others, in fact) who were having the same experience.
The post did well on LinkedIn—connecting me with Cast Members from all over the Company who offered support in solidarity. It was also picked up by the LinkedIn “Editor’s Picks” team, a group that features posts linked to top news stories.
It’s not always the “best” posts that are selected—sometimes it’s the fastest. And since I posted within a day of the news, thousands more eyeballs saw my story as it circulated alongside trending coverage.
You might not always have a pandemic or mass layoff to write about, but you can still insert yourself into important conversations to gain exposure for your profile.
Be aware of what’s happening in the news that might affect your industry and be the first to offer thoughtful commentary. Follow applicable hashtags and thought leaders to stay up to date.
Share a relevant news article from a reputable source and include your opinion.
Sometimes it’s about speed over perfection—but if you can produce quality quickly, that’s best.
Follow LinkedIn’s news sources and comment on the top news stories found at the right hand side of your page.
Read this helpful post from LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/help/linkedin/answer/72665/news-on-linkedin?lang=en
If you receive emails from the LinkedIn News Team, they might reach out to you for your thoughts on a particular topic.
Regardless of job title, people are people—and we all share common human experiences. If you can tap into those shared experiences, you will reach a wider audience and win advocates.
Since I was laid off, I’ve used LinkedIn as a professional journal to document my journey. Thousands of other people are experiencing similar hardships.
When I finally landed a job, the messages came pouring in—strangers I’d never met who were happy for me because they had followed my posts. It was heartwarming. Many shared they had felt defeated during unemployment but had found new inspiration knowing they weren’t alone.
When you share your authentic self with others, it can give you the warm fuzzies. But it also provides an organic way to grow your network. When you create connections with people based on common ground, you will have a community eager to help if you ever find yourself in need of a job.
Share your journey—the good and the not so good.
If you find a topic that resonates, don’t be afraid to double down. I referenced my Disney separation journey multiple times—when I went to clear my desk, the day we were officially separated, etc. One post even found its way onto Facebook and took off there, as well.
Like a good documentary, people like to see behind the curtain. We spend a lot of time curating our professional brand because we want to impress potential employers.
But there’s a reason employers ask for your biggest weakness during interviews. It takes self-awareness to share your warts. They want to know you can adapt, and so do your LinkedIn connections. People don’t relate to perfection. They relate to foibles, self-discovery, and growth.
Between your #hustle and congratulatory “crushing it” posts (on second thought, please don’t post those), sprinkle in some real moments. Moments you’ve misstepped, times when you almost gave up, embarrassing interview moments (we’ve all had them)…and then let us know how you handled it so we can learn from your imperfections.
Tell a story. Stories are interesting and will be remembered.
Share real moments and share the lesson learned.
Tap into pop culture or use a good metaphor—just keep it simple, no need to get all literary.
When it comes to storytelling, one of the best things I learned came from Donald Miller’s book, “Building a StoryBrand."
The hero of your story is not you—it’s your customer. Or in this case, your reader. And the best content you can create helps your hero accomplish their goal. You are the fairy godmother or Yoda, guiding your audience with sage advice.
When you share a personal story on LinkedIn, the story is not about you. You’re simply using your experience as a vessel to provide a takeaway for your readers.
In (almost) every LinkedIn post, I pivot away from my personal experience and turn it towards the audience to wrap up. My history teacher called this the “so what, who cares?” It’s great that all this stuff happened, but if you don’t spell out what it means or how it affects the hero, you’ll lose your audience.
Once you’ve written your “story,” go back and try changing the pronoun “I” to “you” wherever it makes sense. Include the audience in your revelation.
Identify your “so what, who cares?” first and work backwards.
Write with the motive to help others. This sounds simple, but if you write with the motive to make yourself look good and then try to cover it up with a “lesson,” people won’t be fooled.
Share what you know—it doesn’t even have to be related to your job! I have been sharing professional development resources, even though I’m not in an L&D role.
Share a book or documentary that you think your audience might enjoy—just be sure to include your spin or takeaway.
Always, always, always write for your audience.
Today, nothing exists in a silo. In 2021 passions, opinions, and personal values are baked into many company cultures. Companies (generally) want to hire candidates that are well-informed and purpose driven. And candidates expect their company to be a force for good and provide a culture they admire.
Don’t be afraid to take a stance. Your opinion is part of your personal brand and it could be the kind of passion a company is looking for.
One of my best performing posts was about gender disparity in the workplace. It’s a relevant issue which requires thoughtful discussion to progress towards equality. The post started with a personal story to hook the audience and then transitioned to why networking is particularly important for women. It was professional, positive, and relatable—and went viral. As of this writing, it’s been seen by over 1.8 million people, shared 300 times, and has almost 30,000 reactions and comments combined.
It’s ok to have opinions. And it’s ok to share them on LinkedIn if they are relevant and approached professionally.
Discuss something topical—what are your thoughts on your industry’s approach to COVID? Do you think marketing tactics should eliminate wasteful promotional products? It doesn’t always have to be hard hitting, either. I wrote a post about the Oxford Comma (which I believe is ABSOLUTELY necessary) and had some wonderfully fun comments from fellow grammar nerds.
Stay on brand and keep it classy. When I post about important topics, I try to keep the information accessible and positive. But I’m not afraid to correct someone if they make a personal jab or step out of line.
Remember everything you post is forever, so if in doubt, leave it out.
WARNING: Not everyone will agree with you.
You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Yep, I went there. But this cliché holds true.
A lot of people don’t know what to post, so they just don’t. But if you want to figure out what works, you have to start trying. If you look at my early LinkedIn or website blog posts you will see they don’t follow most of the above advice and they didn’t receive even a fraction of engagement my current posts do.
It takes trial and error. It takes practice.
Post consistently. Even if you don’t need a job right now. Posting is great practice, good publicity (you know you want your boss to see how many industry books you’re reading!), and a great way to expand your network.
Set a goal—try posting twice a week to start.
Start with something simple—like a leadership book you recommend. Just get started.
Incorporate LinkedIn into your daily work routine. It’s an investment in your industry knowledge and contacts.
If you don’t have time to write something original, repost something you found helpful or interesting. Pull out a quote that resonated with you and give one or two sentences of your own commentary.
You’ve created some great posts, but what good is all that work if you don’t maximize your reach? Below are a few housekeeping tips and helpful links if you want to dig even deeper into this topic!
Text receives more views than video or photos. If you have a link, share it in the first comment.
Engage with your community. Comment, like, follow other people.
Make sure your profile section is top notch (for all those new peepers oogling it!).
Save your best posts to your profile, so people can peruse your other nuggets of wisdom
Turn on the “Open to Work” option on your profile.
Take a free inbound marketing course from HubSpot: https://www.hubspot.com/inbound-marketing
Increase your reach by optimizing your posts: https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/how-to-boost-your-linkedin-post-views-with-all-text-posts/540410/
Make sure your LinkedIn profile is top notch: https://business.linkedin.com/en-uk/marketing-solutions/blog/posts/content-marketing/2017/17-steps-to-a-better-LinkedIn-profile-in-2017
Get picked up by the LinkedIn News team: https://www.plannthat.com/how-to-get-featured-by-linkedin-news-editors-and-make-your-content-go-viral/
Don’t forget to use hashtags!: https://www.sendible.com/insights/how-to-use-hashtags-on-linkedin
Brush up on your storytelling skills with this article on writing from Master Class: https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-tell-a-story-effectively#how-to-tell-a-story-effectively
Download the first three chapters of Donald Miller’s “Building a StoryBrand” for free: https://storybrand.com/book/
LinkedIn is a great tool to use during your job search. But finding a job is a full time job, so it makes sense to invest your time wisely.
Applying to jobs the old-fashioned way is fine. LinkedIn is a decent search engine and job aggregator. But it shouldn’t be your entire job search strategy.
What could have taken me six months or more only took me three months of focused posting. I used content marketing to promote my personal brand and found a job that is even better than the one I was laid off from.
If you’re tired of the hunt, it’s time to stop applying and start posting.