LinkedIn recently announced a new option for job seekers and hiring managers, their Apply with Linkedin button. Adam Nash, VP of Product Management for LinkedIn explained the new button is part of LinkedIn’s strategy to help users put their best foot forward when applying for jobs.
“How people hire hasn’t really changed in 15 years,” Nash said. He explained that today, we have an opportunity to know who the people hiring are and to identify whom they know. “Business software needs to acknowledge those relationships,” he said. Distinguishing it from other online applications, the Apply with Linkedin button offers anyone using it information about how they are linked to the person posting the job and/or the organization, whether or not the job is posted in LinkedIn.
Most job seekers would agree the opportunity to immediately know if they are connected via their LinkedIn networks to the hiring manager or someone in the target company is a great resource. However, easy isn’t always the best approach for job seekers.
While this solution eliminates those pesky hoops job seekers usually need to jump through to apply for work, to best take advantage of the opportunity to apply using Apply with Linkedin, it’s important to keep a few things in mind:
• Complete your LinkedIn profile in full. Include your story in the Summary section and add your keywords in the Specialties section. Pay special attention to your Headline. (I offer detailed information about how to optimize your profile in a free sample chapter of my book, Social Networking for Career Success).
• If you are a student, don’t forget to complete LinkedIn’s student-focused sections.
• Ask for recommendations on LinkedIn. These endorsements fill our your profile and can help hiring managers reviewing your profile decide to interview you.
• Use LinkedIn’s add-ons to highlight your professional qualifications. For example, if you have a blog or a professional Twitter account, incorporate those options. If you read a lot of professional books, add the “Reading list from Amazon.” If you have professional presentations, upload them to SlideShare and link them to your profile.
• One hiring manager pet peeve is when candidates apply for jobs they are not really qualified to do. Make sure you closely review requirements and qualifications before applying for the job. Consider printing out the description or copying it to your desktop. Highlight everything from the job you are qualified to do. If most of the description isn’t highlighted, consider looking for a different opportunity.
[See 5 Job-Search Habits to Break.]
• You can tweak your LinkedIn profile before you use it to apply for the job. LinkedIn only supports one profile, so any changes you make will be reflected in the profile everyone sees. Prepare for this by keeping a copy of your original LinkedIn profile, in case you decide to change things back after applying for the job.
• Use the opportunity to customize your profile as much as possible. Look at that highlighted job description you created. How can you prove your skills and accomplishments match the company’s needs? The more your LinkedIn profile matches the job description, the better your chances of landing an interview. How you apply for a job can be the difference between getting a job or not. It’s crucial that your application materials make a case for you.
• Don’t ignore the opportunity to follow up with contacts associated with the job. Send a note to connect or request a referral via LinkedIn, or if you know the person well, you may want to pick up the phone and give him or her a call. Either way, it’s important to clearly explain why and how you are interested in the job and your qualifications so the contact knows how to help refer you for the position
Following these tips should help you optimize the Apply with Linkedin button and earn the attention your application deserves.
Corrected on 8/3/2011: An earlier version of this post misidentified the name of LinkedIn's new button. It's called Apply with LinkedIn.
Miriam Salpeter is a job search and social media consultant, career coach, author, speaker, resume writer and owner of Keppie Careers. She is author of Social Networking for Career Success. Miriam teaches job seekers and entrepreneurs how to incorporate social media tools along with traditional strategies to empower their success. Connect with her via Twitter @Keppie_Careers.