Job searching isn’t likely to make the top of anyone’s list of fun things to do, so imagine if there were a way to make it a bit easier, faster, and more efficient. Pretty cool, yes?
Well, LinkedIn can do exactly that for you. It can expand your job opportunities, increase your odds of making the right connections, and improve your preparation for your upcoming interview, for starters.
In addition, it can be sharing all sorts of terrific things about you with people you’ve never even met (for example, hiring managers and recruiters) and making the case for why you’d be the perfect employer, both without you saying a word.
Leveraging LinkedIn for your job search
Not sure which elements of LinkedIn can help you find that perfect job? Here are the areas to focus on:
The most obvious option here is the Jobs tab in the navigation bar you’ll see at the top of every page. Once you’ve opened up the Jobs page, you can immediately begin searching for job openings via the “Find jobs” search box at the top of the page by entering a job title, keywords (like pediatric nurse, director of nursing, medical informatics), or the name of a specific organization.
From the Jobs page, you’ll also be able to set up your jobs preferences (for example, what locations interest you, what industries you’re interested in, and what size company you’d like to work for). Based on this information, LinkedIn will actively run a constant “background” job search for you, providing recommendations based on your preference criteria in the Discover page.
A second approach is to go directly to the LinkedIn page of a target employer (there are over 4 million company pages on the site) and see the jobs it has posted. The cool thing with this option is that you can filter these jobs by location, date posted, job function, industry, and required experience level, then save those details to apply every time you search that specific employer’s jobs. (If you’re willing to pay for the “Job-Seekers” LinkedIn membership, you can also filter by salary.)
A third approach is to tap into your LinkedIn American Sentinel Alumni group, and let people know what type of job you’re interested in. They may know of “invisible” or unposted job openings that you’d have no other way of hearing about.
You could apply directly for any jobs you see through LinkedIn, but a smarter option is to take advantage of the networking function LinkedIn also provides for each job.
That is, when it displays a job posting for you, it also displays what connections you have for that job – perhaps someone in your LinkedIn network or fellow American Sentinel alumni. This gives you an opportunity to reach out to your contact to learn more about the job and possibly get a personal introduction to the hiring manager.
Job-, employer-, and industry-research tools
LinkedIn also provides a number of ways to research jobs, potential employers, and industries – all helpful for finding the best job for you among the hundreds of ways you can deploy your nursing skills.
Peruse your connections and fellow group members to set up informational interviews with people doing the type of work you’re interest in, or working for employers that have caught your eye. What can they tell you about the work, the working environment, and employment prospects?
Find and reach out to recruiters at target companies by searching on the company name and the word “recruiter” in the LinkedIn search box (for example, “Humana recruiter”). And if you have the name of a hiring manager, rather than a recruiter? Find out everything you can about that hiring manager from their LinkedIn profile before your interview so you have a sense of who they are and what their career has been like so you can tailor your interview responses.
Monitor group discussions to stay up-to-date on key nursing and healthcare topics, so you’ll be able to discuss them knowledgeably in an interview.
Follow potential employers (just click on Follow from their LinkedIn page) to receive notices about recent announcements, job openings, promotions, and new company initiatives – again, great information to mention in a cover letter or interview discussion.
Does a premium job-seeker account make sense for you?
One of the questions related to job searching via LinkedIn is whether it makes sense to spring for the extra $30/month to get a premium Job-Seeker account. Perhaps, but the general recommendation is to first make the most of the free LinkedIn account capabilities, then consider a one-month trial to explore and test the added options of the premium option.
Among the additional and/or expanded features the premium account offers are featured applicant status (your job application automatically shows up ahead of any non-premium member applicants); full list of profile views (you see everyone who’s viewed your profile over the past 90 days, and how they found you); three InMail messages per month (enabling you to reach out directly to a hiring manager you’ve found); and advanced search filters that enable you to narrow your job search by company size, seniority, salary, and more. To explore the Job-Seeker option further, click on the Upgrade option in the far-right section of the top-of-page navigation bar.
And don’t forget your profile!
LinkedIn can provide a wealth of great job-search information, but you want to make sure not to forget about your most valuable job-search element, which is your profile.
Make sure that your profile is complete, showcasing the professional and personal strengths you’d most like to be known for –and hired – for. Have an informative headline (for example, “nurse manager specializing in critical care”), a positive summary that describes your best professional attributes (rather than your current job responsibilities), a photograph that looks both friendly and professional, and all profile sections completed as appropriate.
And don’t forget to round up at least several recommendations from previous bosses, key faculty members, or others who can speak to your smarts, professionalism, responsibility, delightfulness to work with, and character. This is called “social proof,” which essentially translates into if someone else of importance thinks you’re terrific, then heck, you must be!
The benefit of having a great LinkedIn profile “speaking” for you 24/7 is that if someone recommends you to a potential employer, that potential employer can find out about you immediately. You want your profile to be so thorough and well done that anyone seeing it will know just how much value you could bring to their organization even before they’ve decided to interview you.