You're Using LinkedIn Wrong for Your Job Search

2 min read

woman in gray shirt sitting on bench in front of MacBook
woman in gray shirt sitting on bench in front of MacBook

LinkedIn, the world's largest professional networking platform, has become a go-to tool for job seekers. Most people create a profile, update their work history, and start scrolling through job postings, hoping to land their dream job with a simple click of the "Easy Apply" button. But, here's the harsh reality: This approach is flawed and rarely yields the desired results. If you're using LinkedIn primarily as a job board, you're missing out on its true potential. In this blog post, we'll explore why you should change your strategy and how you can leverage LinkedIn to supercharge your job search through informational interviews and job referrals.

The Pitfall of the Easy Apply Button

When you submit your application through the "Easy Apply" feature on LinkedIn, you're competing with hundreds, if not thousands, of other applicants for the same position. Many of these applications end up lost in the abyss of digital submission portals, never to be reviewed by a human recruiter. It's a frustrating and disheartening experience, and by breaking free from this cycle you can immediately differentiate yourself from your competition.

The Power of Informational Interviews

In order to immediately differentiate yourself from the majority of job seekers, you should be looking to speak with somebody at the company you're targeting as soon in the job search process as possible. In practice, this means that after you find a role or company you are interested in, you should be seeking an informational interview before you click submit on your application.

Why Informational Interviews?

Informational interviews offer several key advantages in your job search:

1. Gain Valuable Insights: Speaking with someone inside the company provides you with valuable insights about the company culture, work environment, and job requirements. This information helps you determine if the company aligns with your career goals and values.

2. Expand Your Network: Networking is a critical component of job hunting. Engaging in informational interviews allows you to build meaningful connections with professionals in your desired industry or company.

3. Secure Job Referrals: Ideally, an informational interview can lead to the holy grail of job searching – an employee referral. Some estimates suggest that as much as 40% of all new hires result from referrals. Earning a referral significantly boosts your chances of landing the job.

How to Get Started with Informational Interviews on LinkedIn

Now that you understand the importance of informational interviews, let's get into the best ways to leverage LinkedIn effectively.

Step 1: Identify Potential Contacts

1. Company Employees: Search for employees of the company you're interested in. You can filter your search results by job title, location, or department to find relevant contacts.

2. Alumni: Look for alumni from your school who work at the company. Shared educational backgrounds can be excellent conversation starters.

3. Connections: Check your existing connections on LinkedIn. You might already know someone who can either become or introduce you to a valuable contact.

Step 2: Craft Personalized Messages

When reaching out for an informational interview, remember to keep your messages personalized and concise.

Check out these templates to help you get started.

--

Don't fall into the trap of mindlessly clicking the "Easy Apply" button on LinkedIn. To stand out in today's competitive job market, shift your focus to informational interviews. By connecting with professionals at your target companies, you'll gain valuable insights, expand your network, and increase your chances of securing those coveted job referrals. LinkedIn is not just a job board; it's a powerful platform for building meaningful connections that can shape the trajectory of your career. Start using it the right way and you'll unlock huge wins in your job search.