Progress in Place

We find ourselves in unsettling times. Yet during this moment of unease—when pulling together as a community is our first instinct—we are asked to stay apart in order to preserve the health of our friends and neighbors. But it is precisely these times, when we face unprecedented challenges, that we need each other the most.

How can we do our part, yet still remain focused on moving forward in our lives? At NextGroup, we’ve been reflecting on these challenges ourselves. Although it may not seem obvious, sometimes staying in place—taking a pause in the day-to-day—can provide the best opportunity to refocus.

With this in mind, we have a few ideas to share. Since we can't easily network in real time, now is a perfect opportunity to enhance your digital presence and expand your network online via LinkedIn. Remember, 80% of all companies and organizations use LinkedIn to identify candidates. And while you're at it, reach out (virtually!) to a fellow job seeker as an “accountability buddy” to support each other during these difficult days.

Here are five easy steps to get going:

1. Complete your entire profile. Include a professional photo, which attracts 14 times more views than other types of profile pictures; use a targeted headline; write a key-word rich summary in the first person; list at least five relevant skills, which increases the chances your profile will be discovered and 31 times more likely you’ll be messaged!

2. Indicate you are looking for opportunities. Go to Privacy and Settings and walk through each of the items in the "Job Seeking Preferences" section to ensure you are letting employers know you are interested in new opportunities. This should also be included in your headline section.

3. Join groups and grow your network. Research LinkedIn groups that are connected to your target industry or job role. By adding yourself to these groups, you will automatically connect to other members of the group, which will allow you to reach out for informational requests and access to potential employers. If you haven't already, upload your personal contacts from your contact manager to LinkedIn, adding to your network online.

4. Access your network for introductions to people/ companies/organizations and roles you care about. 71% of jobs go to folks who have personal connections in the company. And most often, people in your network want to help. Craft a brief summary of your target employment opportunity and related experience/qualifications for that ideal role, send to your contacts in or related to the industry and role, ask them to let you know about any relevant opportunities and, if appropriate, request a 15-20 minute phone conversation to share thoughts and ideas.

5. Become a professional job sleuth! Search is your friend. Use LinkedIn to set up job searches for specific companies, organizations or career opportunities in your target industry. These can be broad and narrowed later as you see fit. When you find an interesting job, take the time to identify contacts who are either at that company or have contacts there. Share your interest with these parties--let them know you would like to learn more about the organization and its culture. Don't be shy—you are not asking them for a job. In any job search, information is power, making any and all intelligence valuable in your potential interview!

And finally, check out the free LinkedIn learning resource to become a real pro!

We hope these suggestions help. Please reach out if you have any questions, but most of all, stay healthy and well!

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