Welcome to the busiest season of the year: schedules are filled with holiday shopping, end-of-year planning, get-togethers, winter weather prep, and so much more. It can be difficult to keep on top of your job search when the rest of life is so busy. My best advice is to create a simple, consistent job search schedule and stick to it. To get you started, here’s a sample schedule to help you master LinkedIn in just 15 minutes per day.
Start your week with a five-minute scan of the feed on your LinkedIn homepage. Your network may be sharing interesting articles and you may come across valuable insights from your chosen LinkedIn Today channels or the Influencers you follow. If you see an article that interests you, quickly skim it and click “like” to acknowledge the person who posted it.
Spend the next 10 minutes searching for jobs that are posted on LinkedIn. A recent study by Bright.com reported that Monday is the best day to look for a job, so don’t procrastinate! Many jobs allow you to apply using your LinkedIn profile, so you can quickly submit your application. If you’re a Job Seeker Premium subscriber, don’t forget to click “feature my application” so you can appear at the top of the list of job applicants for jobs where applications are collected on LinkedIn.
Scroll through your feed again for the first five minutes. This time, comment on the status updates of a few of your connections. Even a simple “Congratulations!” on a job change can nurture your relationships and help you stay top of mind, which may prompt others to review your profile and even recommend an opportunity they hear about.
Spend the next five minutes visiting your favorite LinkedIn Groups. Post some thoughts on a Featured Discussion or do a search on your area of interest and comment on a discussion related to that topic. To get the biggest return on your time investment, you can post a discussion yourself. Asking a simple, professionally relevant question generally attracts the most comments, such as “What is your favorite all-time marketing book?” or “What tech trends are you predicting for 2014?”
Take the last five minutes of your Tuesday to make sure your LinkedIn Inbox is clear. Respond to messages and connection requests to show people who reach out to you that you are eager to build and nurture your professional relationships.
Start today in your home feed for five minutes, and focus this time on sharing your own status update. What’s on your mind today? Was there an article you read that you found particularly valuable? Share that and add a sentence or two of commentary with your own expert opinion. People are more likely to comment on your update if they feel they are talking to a person and not to an article.
In your next 10 minutes, spend time expanding your network by using LinkedIn’s Alumni tool. Finding classmates and connections from your alma mater can be a great way to get your foot in the door at a company of interest. You can search by specific company, industry, job function and even your college major. If you find someone who could be a great contact, reach out directly with an InMail or connection request. Here’s an example of what to say in your outreach.
I am a fellow UNC alum and came across your profile on LinkedIn. I admire your career in the healthcare tech space and was hoping you might be willing to network with a fellow engineer. After five years in the corporate sector, I’m hoping to transition to a start-up as you did. Would you be willing to connect so I can follow your success and perhaps pose a question or two? And, of course, please let me know anything I can do to support you.
Again, start with the feed on your home screen. Like or comment on at least three posts today to keep the momentum of your networking going. Consistency is crucial; the more active you are, the more active people will be in return.
In the next 10 minutes, search through LinkedIn’s three million Company Pages to research employers that might be a good fit for your skills and talents. One way to explore new possibilities is to view the companies that LinkedIn suggests you might be interested in. For each organization, visit that company page’s Insights tab. Check out the “People Also Viewed” area to find companies doing similar work to that organization, thus expanding your list of target options.
If you see an interesting job posting on any company’s page, take a look at the “Former Employees You May Know” list and reach out to one of those contacts to get the inside scoop on that organization. Here is a sample outreach:
I hope you are well – it’s been a long time since our days at The Times! I’m really impressed with how you’ve built such a successful freelance career. I’m currently transitioning from editing to public relations, and I saw on LinkedIn that you once worked at ABC Public Relations. Would you be willing to share any insight on the culture there or what type of applicants they look for? I’d appreciate any tips you might be willing to share. As always, please let me know if there is anything I can do for you.
All the best,
Today, spend your first five minutes endorsing the Skills & Expertise of people in your network. LinkedIn will provide prompts on your homepage or you can click over to the profiles of the people who appear in your home feed and take time to review their list of Skills & Expertise and endorse the qualities you can vouch for. Often when you endorse other people, they will consider returning the favor.
Spend the next five minutes maintaining and reviewing your own profile. When it comes to the endorsements you’ve received this week, make sure they reflect the personal brand you want to communicate to recruiters. If, for instance, someone has endorsed you for a skill related to a former career or a skill you no longer want to pursue, it’s okay to delete that skill from your list. If there are skills you’d like to be endorsed for, go ahead and add those yourself even if no one has endorsed you for them yet. You can even re-order your skills to put the most relevant ones on top.
Next, take a moment to reflect on anything you accomplished over the past week that might be a valuable addition to your profile—a freelance project that you can add to the “Projects” section, for instance. When possible, include a visual example of your work, such as a PDF document or short video (as long as you have permission from your employer or client for whom you produced the work). Remember that your profile is a living resource, just like you. As you gain new experience and achieve new things, be sure your profile reflects the most up-to-date version of you.
Finally, if you have any new messages or connection requests, respond to those before you head off to your well-deserved weekend.
As you can see you don’t need to spend hours every day on LinkedIn to make the network work for you. The key is developing your goals, finding your most effective networking methods and sticking to them. Good luck, and see you on LinkedIn!