By Mac Prichard
Looking for a new job is a time full of fear, uncertainty, and doubt. We all have days where we feel like we have more questions than answers. But the good news is, there’s a tool you’re probably already using that can help advance your career with a few simple strategies. LinkedIn can give you new avenues for creative development, new opportunities for connection, and new job opportunities with a few clicks or taps on your device. Let’s explore a few of the common fears that job seekers have in today’s job market and how you can get past them by using LinkedIn.
I’m too nervous for networking.
We all know that industry-specific networking events are a great way to make new connections that could lead to landing your dream job. And even introverts can network in-person with the right approach (and conversation starter). But not everyone is able to attend events, and the awkwardness of asking for favors from a connection can send everyday social anxiety through the roof.
The Strategy: Start a conversation on LinkedIn.
Instead of worrying about networking, focus on your own sense of curiosity. Reach out to people on LinkedIn and let them know what you’re looking for, but put your attention on being a warm and friendly conversationalist by focusing on the other person instead of your own agenda. Focusing on the other person can help curb insecurity and allows for connections to develop organically. Pretty soon, you’ll start building a network of professionals — and you’re likely to make a few new friends too.
I don’t know how to make new connections and feel stuck in my professional bubble.
If you’re new to town it can be intimidating and daunting to start building your network from scratch. How do you make new connections organically, without seeming desperate or like you’re asking for too much help? After a certain point, it can feel like you’ve hit a networking dead end, but there’s one tool on LinkedIn you might not be taking advantage of.
The Strategy: Reach out to fellow professionals in groups and private messages.
There are thousands of professional groups on LinkedIn; undoubtedly there’s one for your particular area of professional interest. Contributing to these groups—by adding thoughtful comments to existing conversations, sharing relevant news articles, or even sharing jobs that you find—helps you stand out as a well-rounded professional and connect with new professionals.
Another tip for you: don’t be afraid of strangers. Instead, mine your current connections for new people to meet! Look at people who work in the industry where you want to be, then see who they’re connected to in your community. Make a short list of folks you’d like to meet, then ask your first-degree connection to make a quick email introduction. All of the outreach can be conducted through the LinkedIn messaging platform, so this is an easy, foolproof way to grow your network exponentially.
Changing jobs is hard. How will I handle the rejection?
Why do people stay in jobs they hate? Because they’re safe. Even if you desperately want a new job, it’s really scary to leave what you know for something new and undiscovered. With every decision in which you say “yes,” you also say “no” to something else. In all transitions and changes, there is risk. Every change includes a choice to sacrifice or compromise in some way. Plus, there are the pesky questions in the back of your mind, asking, What if I can’t get another job? What’s going to happen when it doesn’t work out?
The Strategy: Use LinkedIn to find new creative avenues.
One of the best ways to overcome fear of change is to build up your personal sense of openness and creativity. Do things that remind you of your ability to learn, grow, and learn new things. Look for opportunities on LinkedIn to volunteer, participate in job fairs, or other avenues that will open up your sense of possibility. Update your LinkedIn profile to reflect your personal interests, as well as your professional skills. Continue to engage in new activities and connect with new people on LinkedIn during your job hunt, and you will not only keep your spirits up, but you will also ensure that you’re a more attractive candidate when you land interviews. And if fears resurface after a rejection or misstep, practice positive self-talk. Imagine you’re talking to a beloved friend about their job search, and use that advice on yourself!
There’re dozens of qualified people in my industry. How can I possibly stand out?
Industries like tech, healthcare, and apparel are the hubs of the Portland job market. Unfortunately, an increasing number of high-wage opportunities also come with fierce competition for local job seekers. In a sea of talented, qualified, bright local professionals — how can you possibly catch an employer’s eye with your LinkedIn profile?
The Strategy: Share articles on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is more than just a collection of professional profiles; it is increasingly a publishing platform where people share articles and ideas. With an audience of over 450 million users, LinkedIn publishing has become one of the best tools for building your professional profile with insightful content.
Whether you’re sharing an interesting article, commenting on someone else’s post, or writing your own thought piece, adding new content helps you stand out from the crowd. You’re no longer just another lifeless, corporate profile. It shows you stay informed and that you have something to say! Plus, LinkedIn articles tend to generate a lot of reader feedback. This helps you to build your online network and supports your job search.
Start by sharing an article with your own commentary included. It’s a simple way of growing your personal brand and getting your skills and ideas in front of others. I’m a big fan of this tool and I enjoy sharing my perspective on LinkedIn’s publishing platform with local job seekers.
Contributed by: Mac Prichard — Publisher, Mac’s List
Mac is the founder and publisher of Mac’s List, where he writes regularly about job hunting, leads classes on job search skills, and hosts the “Find Your Dream Job” podcast.