This article on passive job searching is part of the Coaching Collective series, featuring tips and expertise from Flatiron School Career Coaches. Every Flatiron School graduate is eligible to receive up to 180 days of 1:1 career coaching with one of our professional coaches. This series is a glimpse of the expertise you can access during career coaching at Flatiron School.
The internet has made it possible to easily find and apply for lots of available jobs in very little time. Unfortunately, it has also increased competition and made it less likely that applications will even be seen by hiring managers.
Active job searching (aggressively looking for and applying for jobs) can feel like throwing your resume into a black hole. Therefore, it is becoming increasingly important to engage in activities that make you an attractive candidate, which can result in the job finding you instead of you finding the job (Passive Job Searching)
A successful job search should focus most heavily on passive job searching, activities aimed at making you a more attractive candidate. To do this, it is important to focus on growing your online professional brand. Engaging in your LinkedIn community is key to becoming a credible candidate who stands out from others.
Let’s define what professional branding is, how LinkedIn differs from other social media platforms, and how you can use LinkedIn to stand out from others.
Personal Branding and the Job Search
Our brand is a combination of facts that create an overall picture of who we are and what we stand for. It is created by how we look, how we behave, our skills, and who we interact with. In short, it is created by how we show up daily. In today’s world, our brand is easily discoverable through social media platforms.
While job seeking, creating a strong personal brand can help you market yourself to the world by highlighting your skills and making you stand out to your professional community. Consistent activity and engagement on LinkedIn can reinforce your professional knowledge and make you more credible to recruiters and employers that may want to hire you. However, posting on LinkedIn is not the same as other social media platforms.
How is LinkedIn Different from Other Social Media Platforms?
Most social media platforms were designed for us to share our lives with our social network of friends and family. Linkedin was designed for us to engage with and grow our network of professionals. Social networking platforms are “me” sites where we post content about ourselves. Linkedin is “we” oriented and posts are meant to share content that our audience might find relevant and interesting.
How Do I Become a Passive Job Seeker on LinkedIn?
As a job seeker, your ultimate goal is for recruiters and hiring managers to notice you. The frequency that your LinkedIn profile becomes visible to others directly correlates to your success in finding your dream job.
Grow Your Network
Aim to grow your network to 500+connections. This will vastly increase the chances that other professionals in your industry will have a 2nd level connection with you (meaning you share a connection), will increase your professional credibility, and will increase the number of people who are alerted to view your activity and your profile.
Optimize Your Profile
Optimize your LinkedIn profile by making sure it contains lots of keywords that pertain to your field. This will make you more likely to show up in industry searches.
Interact With Target Companies
Follow companies and groups within your industry, and engage and connect with them. Spend 5-10 minutes a day going through your feed and looking for content to engage with. Watch for a group or company you follow to post something interesting or relevant to your industry. Comment on that post, or share it with your network with a detailed reason why you are sharing it. When sharing or commenting, it is important that you fully read the post and have something specific to say. Give thoughtful feedback or ask a good question about the post to encourage a continued conversation. You might even mention the author’s name to get their attention.
Make Your Own Content
Posting content (also known as status updates) is another way of increasing your visibility. Your posts can illustrate your expertise and interests in your field and keep others aware of your professional activity. As a professional new to your field, think of your posts as an illustration of your journey. The willingness to document your professional journey shows that you are enthusiastic about your new industry and you are willing to put yourself out there. Share about something new that you learned, a professional goal that you set and why, a project that you recently completed, a blog that you wrote, or an event that you recently attended.
Remember, Keep At It!
LinkedIn is a great resource for becoming part of a community. You can find many companies and people that can help you land the job of your dreams. The more you engage with this community, the more visible you become. The more visible you are, the more likely it is recruiters will find you. Then, you’ll be referred to or directly contacted by hiring managers and recruiters.
Start engaging today and watch what comes your way! Good luck!
About Kimberly McPoyle
Kim is a Flatiron School Career Coach based out of the Philadelphia area. She comes from a background in education. After spending 20 years raising 5 sons, she began working as an outside recruiter for mid-level software engineers and data scientists. Her passion for career coaching grew out of her excitement over developing relationships with her candidates and helping them find new and exciting opportunities.