It can be exhausting to send out job application after job application and hear nothing back. I know — I used to spend hours doing it. I’d spend all day applying to jobs only to crash at dinnertime, defeated, and wake up and do it again the next day. It wasn’t until I learned the tricks of using LinkedIn and Twitter more effectively that I started to get more interviews and more offers. Here’s how I do it:
Use LinkedIn for its connections
Before you apply to a single position, ask yourself why. Why are you applying for that specific role? Do the research upfront to pinpoint specific target companies, documenting your ideal places to work in a spreadsheet. Then, search for your target companies on LinkedIn to see who you know with connections there, and send a quick message: “Hey <Name>, I’m currently looking for a job in <department> but I’m not sure where to start. Do you know someone I could talk with to learn more about what it’s like at <company?>”
Tell your network you’re looking for work
On LinkedIn, you can set your profile to be “Open to Work” for recruiters and hiring managers. Include specific keywords and positions you’re looking for in your “About Me” section. That way, recruiters are more likely to find you. You may also want to post something like: “Hey everyone, I’m currently looking for work in <x department>, specifically around <whatever you’re looking for.> Do you know someone hiring? Let me know!” (Note: Only do this if you’re actively out of work. You don’t want your boss or anyone at your company to see that you’re looking! Awkward.)
Use hashtags to your advantage
Looking through hashtags on LinkedIn or Twitter can be another way to see if there are positions open or interesting people to connect with. Search for common hashtags in your field like #careers, #advertisingandmarketing, or #womeninstem, and look for accounts that retweet job opportunities on Twitter, like @WritersofColor for BIPOC-friendly writing positions. Many HR departments for larger companies have their own Twitter handles, so look for conventions like @companyname_careers.
See if it’s a brand fit
Twitter is a great way to learn more about your target company. It’s also a good place to double-check any company news before an interview. For instance, I applied to a position at a large company only to see they were trending on Twitter — because of a massive data breach. Not the kind of place I’d want to give my social security number to!
Apply to a real person
When applying for jobs, make sure you search on LinkedIn for the hiring manager. Start on the company website to see the executive team, find your prospective department, and then dive down the LinkedIn rabbit hole until you find the right person. (Before doing this, check the job description — sometimes they literally tell you who you’d be reporting to!)
Addressing your cover letter to a real person matters! It shows that you can do the research, take initiative, and go above and beyond. You can also see if your connections know someone…
Find the inside connection
Once you have your target companies in mind, mine your LinkedIn connections to see who knows who. You should be able to see the names and company titles of every connection of the people you’re connected to — so when I saw a friend of mine working with the copywriting team at a position I was eyeing, I reached out for an introduction and landed an interview within the week.
It’s not always going to be easy. But as your network grows, it’s more likely that you’ll be able to wield it to find the job opportunities that aren’t posted. Just remember that when you’re networking, make sure it’s not all about you — if you have friends looking, or see a post like the one I encouraged you to draft in step two, see how you can help them, too.
Originally published on September 28, 2020.