Linkedin has revolutionized the world of recruitment for employers and candidates alike.
With more than 10 million active job listings on the site, according to the LinkedIn blog, the company also has half a billion members in 200 countries and access to over 9 million companies.
So, is LinkedIn right in claiming that a job may be no more than a few clicks away? Maybe for some, but of course with so many fish in the sea, how can you hope to get noticed above the potentially millions of other candidates?
Your goal is to convince the recruiter that you are not only very keen but also a perfect match for the position. Whilst this may seem obvious, the ease of a one-step quick application offered by LinkedIn means many candidates apply without making any effort to individualize their application according to the role. This offers you a great opportunity to stand out above the rest.
Follow these 5 simple steps to get hired on LinkedIn:
- Submit your CV: Be aware if you decide to rely on your LinkedIn profile alone to showcase your career, an option now frequently used by applicants, the recruiter only sees a brief overview of your job titles, education, recommendations and connections. As a recruiter I would need to click on “View full profile” to see your LinkedIn profile page. Also, recruiters often need a hard copy to show to line managers and the PDF version generated by LinkedIn mysteriously omits important details from your profile such as language skills.
So, although it’s optional, do submit your curriculum vitae, as this means you are in control of what the recruiter sees. You will also have the opportunity to highlight the skills and experience specifically asked for in the advertisement. It may take time to adapt your CV to each application but, compared to the majority of candidates who use the quick “one click” option, you will stand out.
- Prepare a cover letter: These days very few candidates prepare a short letter highlighting their interest in the position and how they can add value. Although this takes time, it shows interest and will differentiate you from the other candidates.
Keep the letter brief, though (approx. 4 concise paragraphs) and address it to the recruiter directly if you have the name. In contrast to the many “To whom it may concern” application letters I get, I once received a letter starting “Dear Julie, I know that you must be so busy sorting through all the applications but I would love you to take time to.” I noticed the candidate, so much so, I felt like kissing the screen at that point, as it seemed someone had understood my hectic day and, in fact, she got hired! She was the best candidate for the position but her letter really made sure that she wasn’t overlooked.
As LinkedIn only allows you to forward one document of 5 MB, create one PDF document containing both your cover letter and CV in order to submit together.
- Check your contact details: If you apply for a job, make sure that your private email address is the one a recruiter receives. Too often the only contact email I have for candidates is their professional email address. Any reply referring to the recruitment will then be sent to the company address, which may cause unexpected problems for you.
- Optimize your profile: Even if you forward your CV to the recruiter, he or she will look at your LinkedIn profile. It is important to ensure your photo is professional, your details are up-to-date and your profile is informative. I quite often review profiles that have job titles and no further information – and this from candidates who haven’t forwarded any additional documentation to support their application.
- Consider your location: Your country of residence is part of your LinkedIn profile. If you are looking to work in a country which is not your place of residence, be aware that your application may not be received. LinkedIn offers the recruiter the possibility to hide applications from abroad. I was recently contacted by an American claiming to have applied for 200 positions in Europe without receiving a single reply. I wonder how many of his applications actually reached the hiring companies. You may need to contact the recruiter directly to check that your application has been processed.
This is also an issue when a recruiter does a direct search. Based in Switzerland, it is quite common for people to live in France, Germany or Italy and cross the border each day to come to work. However, be aware that if this applies to you, your profile may not be flagged in a direct search if the recruiter has pre-selected Switzerland as the source country. You may need to change your location to the country in which you want to be found.
The face of recruitment has changed dramatically over the last few years. LinkedIn has made it much easier to apply for positions and to be found in a direct search. However, the increased number of applicants also brings with it many difficulties. Make sure that you leverage the advantages LinkedIn has brought to the recruitment market to help you stand out from the crowd.
Julie Schladitz works as a recruiter and a career coach, helping executives and athletes manage their careers. For further information contact Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org