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.”

Are you looking for new career opportunities while currently employed? Searching for a new job can quickly become a full-time job. How do you look for a new job and avoid conflicts with your existing job? Here are some tips on how to professionally manage both job-hunting and your current job at the same time.

Avoid advertised jobs

The temptation to look for jobs online is high when you’re currently employed. Job-hunting online feels non-intrusive to your current job. The thought of your dream job showing up tomorrow in your inbox is tempting, but highly unlikely (less than 4%). Even if it did, think about how many others you’ll have to compete against to win the job.

An unconventional job-hunting approach is what leads career changers to jobs fast. According to The Wall Street Journal and Forbes

“Between 50 to 80% of job openings are not advertised!”

The benefits to concentrating your search on unadvertised job openings while being employed is that there’s no competition for the jobs. With no competition, you avoid lengthy application processes, which can be frustrating in a role where you’ve already mentally checked out.

Stop looking for a job

To tap into the huge market of unadvertised jobs, the first thing you need to do is to change your mindset. Consider the path to your next job as a learning journey, not a job hunt. Do you have unanswered questions about the industry, companies or role you’d like to move to? Use your career change as an opportunity to discover answers to your questions by asking contacts for advice.

When you ask contacts for career advice from a learning mindset, you’ll get an open and welcoming response from others. When asking contacts for a job or referral from a job-hunters perspective and you’ll get a cold shoulder. Which do you use?

Asking for advice works wonders in a career change while employed. Here are several reasons why you should consider doing it.

  • it opens doors in industries, companies and roles of interest
  • it appeals to human nature and works everywhere
  • it provides access to difficult to reach hiring managers
  • it gives you an opportunity to expose your talents to relevant managers
  • it builds confidence, insight and focus unlike online job-hunting

I recently facilitated a job-hunting workshop where the students adopted this successful approach to getting advice and subtly selling themselves to hiring managers. One woman went from great uncertainty about what she wanted to do in her next job, to knowing exactly where she wanted to work using this approach.

“In less than 3 weeks, she landed 17 meetings with hiring managers!”

How do you find time? 

Hiring managers prefer to hire people they know. By asking for advice meetings in the industry, company, or roles that interest you, you increase your exposure in a subtle but highly effective way. The more hiring managers that know you, the easier it is to land an unadvertised job (or get one created) that’s perfect for you. So how do you find time for advice meetings?

Job Search | Ian JenkinsIf you work in a results-based work culture, then you probably have the advantage of home-office or flexible work-time. Use this to your advantage and plan advice meetings accordingly. I’ve booked them just before or after business trips, doctor visits, and personal events that take me away from the office. Consider using breaks and lunches as possible meeting times. I’ve found that it’s easiest to squeeze in advice meetings with contacts when they’re positioned informally, over a cup of coffee, and no more than 30 minutes long.

What about confidentiality? 

If you are in a job-hunting mindset, the issue of keeping your hunt confidential becomes an obstacle. However, when you’re looking for advice there is much less risk. If the contact I’m speaking to is connected to my existing employer in some way, I do ask them to keep this meeting confidential despite it being an advice meeting.

Job search | Ian Jenkins
The Career Outline Template

I never recommend bringing a resume (“CV” in Europe) to an advice meeting. As you meet contacts, you’re building new relationships. Establishing trust early on is critical. If you ask for an advice meeting and show up with a resume, it’s game over. They immediately assume you want a job under the premise of asking for advice. That’s why I recommend creating a one-pager I call a Career Outline. It describes your strongest skills, interests and work environment preferences.

By presenting yourself through a career outline, contacts quickly understand what you offer a potential employer. This makes it easy for them to make useful recommendations and referrals over a quick cup of coffee so you can get back to your current employer.

Don’t be surprised if a hiring manager sudden presents you with an awesome job opportunity in an advice meeting. It frequently happens with this approach. With a fresh approach to looking for your next job, there’s no reason to hold-off, even if you’re currently employed.

Thanks for reading.

– Ian Jenkins

Tristan had been job hunting for 7 months. He continually revised his resume and cover letter, but it never got him in the door for an interview. He expanded his job hunting approach from online job boards to offline job fairs and association meetings. Nothing. Not one interview.

After investing two years of his life in graduate school, he was starting to question if he had made the right choice. He’d left his wife and 5 year old daughter behind in the hopes of advancing his education and securing a job in Europe. He desperately wanted to be with his family again. First, he had to find a job. Time was running out. His student visa was expiring in 5 weeks.

The Question

Job Hunting | Ian Jenkins
Job Hunting Obstacle: Avoid asking contacts for jobs

As an foreigner looking for a job in Europe, he was at a disadvantage. Tristan’s local language skills were poor, his employer would be required to apply for a work visa on his behalf and he had no professional network. He wasn’t sure how to overcome what felt like impossible challenges.

When he asked his contacts if they knew of any job openings, the response was often cold. Asking for a job made others question his employability. With no other options he put his challenge in the hands of others by simply asking for their career advice.

When he asked for advice, the response from hiring managers was dramatically different. Managers welcomed him to coffee meetings where they answered his career related questions.

In the advice meetings, he often asked the same set of questions to help him discover his next opportunity.

  • How did you start in this industry / company / role?
  • What do like about this industry / company / role?
  • What don’t you like about this industry / company / role?
  • How does someone with my background follow your footsteps?
  • Who else should I connect with to get additional career advice?

The Mindset

Tristan’s breakthrough happened when he re-framed his job-hunt. He altered his question from asking for a job to asking for advice. This one question changed his life. It opened doors to hiring managers who had previously ignored him. During his advice meetings he received valuable insights on how to overcome his challenges as a foreigner in Europe.

Job Hunting | Ian Jenkins
Job Hunting Tactic: Ask for career advice, not for a job

It took Tristan only four advice meetings with hiring managers to land his dream job! He started with an administrator from the university and within 3 additional advice meetings, a hiring manager he met created a job for him on the spot.

Within weeks, his family reunited with him to create a new life together in Europe. His beautiful wife and daughter are excited about the possibilities ahead. All it took was a simple question, a request for career advice to change the life of a job-hunter and reunite his family.

The New Job Hunting Approach

Take achieve breakthroughs in your job-hunt using this approach, temporarily suspend your job hunt and refocus your time on gathering advice.  Why? The number one determent for job-hunting success is face-to-face time with hiring managers. It’s the tipping point job-hunting activity. It leads to more than 80% of your success as a job hunter.

1. Ask for advice

By asking for career advice you gain valuable exposure to hiring manager that asking for a job won’t get. It elicits a positive response because it’s ego gratifying and no-risk. While subtly presenting yourself during the advice meetings, you’re gaining access to the 80% of jobs available that aren’t advertised.

2. Prepare Your Questions

It’s common that job hunters and career changers have unanswered questions regarding their next step in their career. Use those unanswered questions to drive the agenda in a informal advice meeting with hiring managers. What you’ll learn can save you years of frustration in jobs that aren’t a match for you.

3. Don’t use your resume

Although there’s thousands of books, blogs and articles providing fresh approaches to crafting your resume, the advice meeting is NOT where you want to present your resume. The reason is you’ve ask for advice, not a job to secure a meeting. Nothing creates distrust faster than showing your resume and conveying an ulterior motive in an advice meeting. Leave the resume at home and instead bring a pen, notebook, and list of 5 questions to the advice meeting.

4. Ask for a referral 

During the advice meeting, your contacts will bring up new ideas for you to consider in your career move. Ask for referrals to contacts that can help you discover more about these ideas of interest. If you’ve built trust and managed the meeting professionally it’s common to walk out of a meeting with at least two referrals.

Lessons learned

  • Asking for career advice is a small change in a job hunting strategy that can yield big results.
  • Face-to-face time with hiring managers is the most important metric of success for job-hunters.
  • Gathering advice from industry veterans will provide valuable clarity in your job search and often lead to jobs that are unadvertised.
  • Don’t bring a resume to an advice meeting. The exposure with hiring managers in advice meetings will position you for opportunities without using a resume.

Thanks 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