As a job seeker it isn’t easy to stand-out against the competition. One way to flip the odds in your favor is to use LinkedIn to connect with a hiring manager.

Have you ever gathered the nerve to call a hiring manager out of the blue? Chances are you were stopped by their assistant who promised to “pass on the message”. Did you ever hear back?

I remember applying for a job and calling the hiring manager 8 times over two weeks. Nothing would get her to pick up the phone. That’s when I turned to LinkedIn for help.

One of the benefits to using LinkedIn is that most people use their primary email address with LinkedIn. This means the message you send will end up in their inbox.

Here are three quick ways you can use LinkedIn to get around gatekeepers and connect with hiring managers so you stand-out from the other job applicants.

1. Connect Directly on LinkedIn

The first option is to connect directly with a hiring manager using a personalized message. When connecting as a job seeker, select ‘I’ve done business together’ and use your most impactful job title that’s relevant for the job you’re applying for.

Before you click ‘Send Invitation’, take a moment to personalize the message. Give them a reason to want to connect with you. Build intrigue and interest.

Here’s an example of what you might write.

LinkedIn Connection box
“Hi Tammy! I came across your profile while researching your job post for a senior marketing manager. The job description looks like a perfect match with my talents and experience. I would love to connect if you’re open to it. Thanks, Ian”

Now Tammy is curious about my profile. The easiest way for her to view it is to simply click ‘Accept’. After she accepts, there’s the added benefit of being able to send messages directly to her inbox.

2. Connect via LinkedIn Groups

Another approach to connect with a hiring manager is to review their profile and join a LinkedIn group that they’re currently in. LinkedIn allows members of the same group to send messages to each other without having a premium account, even if you’re not directly connected.

LinkedIn Ask To Join

I’ve recently used this approach to connect with several executives in order to avoid using the InMail function of the premium account in LinkedIn. Keep in
mind that many groups are closed and require an admin to gain access. For this reason, consider joining multiple groups in common with the hiring manager so you get in at least one.

3. Upgrade To LinkedIn Premium

If none of the methods above work, you can always pay for LinkedIn’s premium service which allows you to send InMail’s directly to a person without having to be connected with them.

The premium subscription can be very valuable as a job seeker because not only does it provide the ability to message anyone, it also provides enhanced search capabilities which is useful when you want to create a target list of hiring mangers or companies you’d like to connect with.

With these three approaches to connect with a hiring manager on LinkedIn, you’ll be able be able to eliminate gatekeepers, stand out from other applicants, and create a valuable relationship inside a company.

Thanks for reading.
– Ian Jenkins

“The beauty of LinkedIn is that it eliminates the power of gatekeepers.”

Ask career changers what consumes most of their time and they’ll say “searching for jobs” or “(re)writing my resume.” Unfortunately what takes up time and creates value are very different in a job hunt. Of all the activities in job-hunting, there is one that acts as the tipping point. It requires a small change in strategy, but has a disproportionate impact (up to 21x) on a job-hunter’s ability to land their dream job.

Dream Job | Ian JenkinsThe one measurable activity that has a disproportionate impact on a job-hunters success is face-to-face time with hiring managers. Despite jobs being distributed across more online platforms, hiring people is still a face-to-face process. By focusing on this metric of job-hunting success, it becomes easier to experiment with unconventional approaches for landing meetings with hiring managers.

Several years ago, I discovered a short-cut that bypasses the need for spending time writing resumes and searching for jobs online. These two activities lead job-hunters to the small market of advertised jobs which is full of competition and rejection. Instead, I sidestep the traditional process and jump right into face-to-face meetings with hiring managers.

Skip Freeman, author of the job-hunting book Headhunter Hiring Secrets, states that the recruiting industry norm is that it takes six first-time, face-to-face meetings to generate one offer.

“On average it takes six first time, face-to-face meetings to get one offer!”

What if you could land six face-to-face meetings with hiring managers this week, would that get you closer to an offer? It’s not difficult to do when you know the recipe.

Stop asking for a job

The ironic part about look for a job, is that when you ask people for help they become reluctant. Why? As you get farther from your inner circle of colleagues and friends, the less people know what you’re like as a person and as an employee. It’s risky to recommend someone you don’t know. It puts your reputation at risk.

Several years ago I got an unexpected call from a young, ambitious chap who had recently moved from the U.S. to Norway like me. He was in high-gear networking to find a job. Within the first minutes of the conversation, he was assertively asking me to connect him to executives in my network. I’m all for taking initiative, however this fellow was going about it all wrong.

One secret I discovered to getting people to open doors for me, is to stop asking for a job and starting asking for advice. Chances are you have questions about where you might apply your skills, how someone of your background gets a job in your target industry, and what trends are creating new job opportunities. Everyone loves to give advice, few like to give job referrals.

Don’t approach it like a sales call

Countless books recommend approaching job-hunting like a sales process. While there are many similarities, most of us don’t like sales and are turned-off by the analogy. Me too. Although there are many benefits from learning about sales best practices, I don’t benefit from the selling mindset when I’m job-hunting for my dream job. Let me explain.

Dream Job | Ian Jenkins
The Career Outline Template

When I job-hunt, I design a learning journey. After I create a Career Outline of my skill strengths, interests, and work environment preferences, I then present it to people in the industry I want to work in. My goal isn’t to look for a job, but to learn, to get advice from those in the market space where I want to work. As I progress with the process of gathering advice, my questioning gets more specific, the advice more pointed, and the list of target companies becomes clear.

Reframing the meetings around learning makes it easier to land meetings with hiring managers. Something that most job-hunters have trouble with because they’re in sales mode, not learning mode. Not only does this re-framing create precious time in front of hiring managers, it also elicits invaluable industry insights.

 Dream Job: Ready, Aim….

It’s not uncommon for job-hunters to not know what they want to do with their careers. I’ve been there too. 99% of us have been there. Before I start my learning journey, I spend time to clearly identify and my skill strengths in detail in the Career Outline. This 1-pager is quite different than a resume because it outlines what you can do for your future employer. A resume simply shows your previous results, which you may not want to do anymore or may not relate to your next job. This is especially the case if you want to change industries or roles or you’ve recently graduated from school.

After creating descriptive one-liners for each of my skill strengths, I then use this list to drive the discussion with hiring managers. By describing your talents in a simple and concise manner, hiring managers can then provide both direction and advice regarding the roles that fit your description of your dream job.

When I changed my focus from searching online and customizing resumes to landing meetings with hiring managers and collecting advice, I saw a complete reversal in my rejection rate.

“I went from being rejected 100% of the time, to landing meetings with hiring managers 100% of the time!”

It was just the strategy I needed to beat the odds and land my dream job in a tough job market.

Thank you for reading.

– Ian Jenkins

You’re in the midst of a job search. You need a job, but not just any job. You want the perfect job – the one you actually want to go to. You are not alone.

“A recent survey found that nearly three quarters of workers say they hate their job!”

If you want to be one of the lucky ones, you need to intensify the focus in your job search and use your time more effectively. Here are three ways focus influences your job search success.

1) Be Specific In Your Job Search

Do you look anywhere and everywhere when job hunting? Do you sign up for every job board in town, scan the local classifieds and blast your Facebook friends with your resume? If so, you are going about it the wrong way.

job search| Ian Jenkins
Job Search Tip: Focus is key to getting contacts to help you

Identify the strengths and skills that have contributed to your greatest successes and your proudest professional accomplishments. Think about your interests and how your passion for those activities influences your success on the job. Reflect on the prior work environments you have encountered, and be honest with yourself and your network. What did you like about your job? What did you hate? This combined insight will help you focus your job search more effectively.

Ask your LinkedIn network for career advice based on your specific profile. The experts there can help you further focus your job search and make the most of every outreach.

2) Ask the Experts

If you are trying to break into a new field or applying for a position that is new to you, the best way to learn is to interview someone who is already doing that job. Whether you are an IT worker dreaming of a career in marketing or an advertising executive who wants to work in the restaurant industry, expert advice is essential to a focused job search.

job search | Ian Jenkins
job Search Tip: Interview industry veterans to learn how to land your next job

Interviewing people who are currently employed in your chosen field may not be as difficult or intimidating as you fear. If you cannot find any local candidates, just head to the Internet and look for potential prospects. Reaching out to individuals on LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media sites is the perfect way to find people who are eager to talk about what they do and how they got their start in the industry they love. People love to talk about their careers, so grab your keyboard and get started.

Be sure to ask plenty of questions during your informal interview. If you are new to the industry, you may have a distorted picture of how it works and what it takes to succeed. Asking your interviewee what they like about their job is a great place to start, but do not forget to ask about the things they hate.

3) Get The Big Picture

Getting the big picture is especially important if you are dreaming of a career in a seemingly glamorous industry like television or radio. It might look like fun and games from the outside, but talking to someone in the bowels of the industry is likely to be an eye opener. A 2011 Gallup poll revealed that some 70% of workers hate their jobs, so do not assume that breaking into a new industry will be the answer to all your problems.

job search | Ian Jenkins
Job Search Tip: Get the big picture to discover how to get your breakthrough

At the very least, you will learn valuable things you need to know for your job search – like how people typically come into the industry, typical qualifications and the best way to reach out to the people with the power to hire you.

Armed with your new information, you can further refine your job search and narrow your focus. This will allow you to spend your time where it really counts, instead of casting too wide a net and ending up spinning your wheels.

You may find, for instance, that 90% of newcomers in your chosen industry arrive from the same industry-focused job site, or that networking is more important and job openings are rarely posted. No matter what the results, the information you gather will be extremely valuable at helping you focus your job search.

No matter what the circumstances of your job search, you need to place your focus where it is most likely to get results. There are plenty of to job search, but not all will be equally effective. Taking the time to fully research the industry, find the major players and fine tuning your job-hunting approach are all ways to focus your job search and get the job you want.

Thanks for reading.

– Ian Jenkins

Are you struggling to find a job or switch careers? Most job seekers don’t realize that their job-hunting method, not their profile, determines their success.

Richard Bolles, author of the book What Color Is Your Parachute, has researched job-hunting methods for over 40 years. He’s collected comparative statistics on the top 10 different methods job-hunters use. The results will surprise you!

What you’ll discover is that not all job-hunting methods are created equally. Knowing which ones perform the best, will help you avoid wasting your time and energy.

Watch the brief video below to discover the top 1o best job-hunting strategies and which one has a 86% success rate! (Click the video to watch).

The Top 10 Most Successful Ways To Find A Job

Here are the highlights, starting off with the least effective approaches to find a job.

#10: Online Job sites And Employer Websites have a measly 4% success rate! Yet, amazingly this is one of the most popular options for job hunters. At best if you have a technical background in IT, healthcare or within the sciences, the chances of finding your job using this approach can go as high 10%.

#9: Mail Your Resume To Employers has 7% success rate. Sending unsolicited resumes to employers is quite popular yet not as effective as one might think when it’s time to find a job.

#8 Answering Local Newspaper Ads has a wide range of success – between 5-24%. The reason for the range is the entry-level, lower paying jobs often find their placement this way. The higher the professional level you’re looking for, the lower the match rate is for this type of job search strategy.

#7 Search firms have a 5-28% placement rate. The reason for the wide range is that there are many different types of search firms (part-time jobs – full-time / entry-level – executive level). The level of competence in each firm varies as well.

#6 Ads In Professional Journal land a 7% success rate. he advantage to this approach is that is targeted, but the downside is that it’s very competitive.

#5 State & Federal Employment Offices have a 14% success rate. There can be lots of opportunities in your local government, just be sure to be patience as the hiring process can take time.

#4 Asking For Job Leads raises your success to 33%. This works particularly well if you have a large circle of contacts that have worked with you in the industry you want to work in.

#3 Knocking On The Door Of An Employer lands you a 47% chance of getting a placement. Keep in mind this approach works particularly well at companies that are smaller which often means their hiring managers are more accessible.

#2 Yellow Pages / Company Directories if you love selling you’ll love this approach. It has a 65% success rate. It requires that you call into your desired companies, identify the hiring managers and then describe the value you create for them. It’s not for everyone, but it does have a good success rate!

#1 Face-to-face Advice Meetings is the best approach because of it’s whopping 86% success rate!   Simply asking for career advice from contacts (instead of a job!) will open the doors to job opportunities that are designed around your skills strengths and knowledge.

I’ve tried all the approaches listed here and found that face-to-face advice meetings lived up to their success rate. Mastering how to do them radically transformed my job hunt and my career trajectory.

What’s your favorite method to find a job? Leave comment below and let me know your thoughts.

Thanks for reading!

– Ian Jenkins