As the world of work continues to evolve, keeping in touch with your network is crucial if you’re looking for a new job—whether it’s asking for a referral, preparing for an interview, or getting advice on how to bounce back from a layoff. The person who can help get you hired might just be one conversation away.
But when it comes to networking, it can be difficult to know where to begin or how to do it well. And let’s face it: it can sometimes feel uncomfortable. But how we stay connected isn’t what it used to be and includes so much more than traditional tactics like swapping business cards or making small talk at industry conferences. Here are three ways to engage your professional community today to land the role you want.
See who’s hiring in your network, and beyond
Tapping the right person at the right time is the magic formula that can help get your foot in the door. According to a recent LinkedIn survey of nearly 5,000 job-seeking members in the U.S., more than one third said they reached out to someone in their network to discuss their career plans.
However, identifying who can support you in your job search is often the hardest step. On LinkedIn, you can now see who’s hiring in your network—and your network’s network—when you visit the Jobs tab. LinkedIn will notify you when people in your first- or second-degree network are hiring. Finally, LinkedIn will surface members of the hiring team in job descriptions, all making it easy for you to stand out by reaching out directly to hirers and applying early.
Understanding who is hiring in your network is a great way to stand out when applying for a new job and extending beyond your immediate network can open you up to even more opportunities.
Ask your professional community for help
For far too long, being unemployed or let go from your job carried an unfair stigma. But this is changing, with people proactively sharing their layoff news on social media and asking for support in finding their next role.
Letting your network know you need help is easy on LinkedIn. Turn on the Open to Work feature on your Profile which lets you signal to recruiters privately, or the LinkedIn community publicly, that you’re open to new opportunities with an #OpenToWork photo frame. Over 16 million people have chosen to add an Open to Work photo frame to their Profile.
You can also create a post on LinkedIn that shares your career goals, opening the door to connections and conversations in your network, as well as new contacts who might also be able to offer introductions to people they know are hiring. Take Carey Flack, who after being let go from her job took to LinkedIn to share her top takeaways from her previous position, outlining the unique skills she acquired and how she can leverage them in her next role. A few months and multiple offers later, Flack successfully landed a job.
Sharpen and share your skills to attract hirers
More than 40% of companies on LinkedIn globally rely on skills to search and identify job candidates. To help keep your skills relevant with what employers are looking for, LinkedIn has compiled the top skills professionals have acquired in recent years and paired them with free corresponding LinkedIn Learning courses to help you learn them too. In-demand hard skills span customer service, sales and accounting, with top soft skills including leadership, communication and problem-solving.
Pro tip: Don’t forget to highlight your skills—and how you used them—within a specific experience or job on your Profile and in hiring conversations to show employers what you can do and the value you can bring to their organization. Then, when you search for jobs on LinkedIn, you’ll be shown roles that match based on the skills you have that line up with those listed in job descriptions.
Monica Lewis is the senior director of Product Management at LinkedIn.