The process of landing a job is not something that everyone does every day…that is unless you have been out of work for a while. Let’s say you just graduated from college or perhaps you have gotten laid off from your employer and have not been in the job market for eons. There are three job hunting strategies that I would recommend you focus on. No doubt there will be competing priorities, but these really do make a difference.

Join LinkedIn and Actively Work the Process

When you first join LinkedIn, it can be overwhelming and let’s face it a bit intimidating. Just remember that everyone on LinkedIn started where you did – with nothing. Set small goals and as you make them, you can set bigger goals.

Let’s talk about what those first few goals should be:

Creating a compelling profile helps you with landing a job.

Your profile is the first thing someone will look at when they land on your page so the information you share should address the reason you are on the site. For example, you may be looking for job, accepting consulting assignments, wanting to connect with colleagues, or providing business and professional services. The clearer you are, the easier it will be for someone to know if you are the right person they want to connect or talk to. Here are some tips for creating a compelling profile:

Tell a story about your professional career. Here’s your opportunity to share your experiences, talents, skills and career progressions. Avoid copying your resume into your online profile – use this space to expand what traditionally goes on a resume. Note: you do want to have a good resume prepared as part of your arsenal.

Post a current photo.

The fact is you will get more requests to connect with a photo than without one. Why? People may be suspicious and assume that your profile is bogus. Make sure your picture is professionally done – this is not the time to use your Facebook photo.

Join special interest groups and actively engage in the discussion.

LinkedIn limits you to 50 groups. Consider joining 5-10 to start. Seek out groups where people congregate that you want to meet – it may be in your area of expertise or a regionally based group. Follow the conversations and jump in when you have something to add. This is how people begin to know and trust you. When they trust you, they will reach out to you – sometimes offering help.

If you do these two things when you first join LinkedIn, you will be surprised how comfortable you will get within a matter of weeks.

Knowing where to find the jobs helps you with landing a job.

The strategies for finding a job have changed dramatically over the last ten years. My advice – there are two places to find jobs: online and through networking. At the top of the list for job hunters is LinkedIn. Most recruiters use LinkedIn to data mine their candidates – that is why having a compelling resume is important.

The places to look online for jobs are easy to find, in fact, I have a list of them here. Many of the online services overlap each other, so pick a few that work for you.

The thought of networking petrifies many people. Why? It requires you to put yourself out there in the public and fear of being judged for saying the wrong thing gets in the way. Make no mistake; networking is a skill that requires practice for most of us. When you practice your networking skills, you build confidence as you become more proficient. This confidence is a necessary ingredient in the last area you want to focus on: interviewing skills.

Nailing the interview means landing a job.

If you are getting invitations into companies and you are not able to seal the deal, your interviewing style may be hindering your success. Because you don’t get a chance to “practice” interviewing as much as networking, nerves can set in quickly. There are a few things you want to accomplish in the interview process:

  1. Establish rapport immediately. After all, you are selling yourself to the company. In any sales relationship, you can make or break a connection with someone in a matter of seconds.
  2. Provide the information to your interviewer in a way that they want to receive it. Listening to what they ask and how they ask it will give you clues to how to answer your question.
  3. Move the interview to a conversation. The question and answer format is formal and stiff. When you move the discussion to a conversation, everyone relaxes.

Remember you are interviewing them to see if the company fits YOUR career path too. Making a bad decision about your next move can be a disaster.

As you have probably realized, landing a job takes a lot of work. Even with these three strategies, you will be spending a lot of time updating information, building skills and selling yourself. Just know, that if you need help, ask for it or get it.