Job Search: How to Find Relevant Vacancies and Use LinkedIn to Make Contacts

This week’s post covers two areas which students and graduates often find tricky: finding relevant vacancies and using LinkedIn to make contacts.

Finding relevant vacancies:

Students often tell me their online searches for vacancies have brought up generic vacancies posted by recruitment agencies, rather than opportunities they’d like to apply for. I soon discovered that they could have been using the research skills developed during their degree to make their job search more effective.

Most people looking for jobs start their search with generic sites such as Reed or Indeed. However most employers start their search for staff by posting vacancies on their own site, rather than generic sites. So making a list of potential employers and looking directly on their individual sites is one way to make your search more effective.

Here are a few tips to help you identify relevant employers:

  • Start by thinking about exactly what you’re searching for: identify one or two sectors, areas of work or specific job roles and perhaps consider locations you’d consider working in before you start your search
  • If you’re unsure about which areas to target, you may find it useful to get in touch with us
  • Once you’ve got a focus, compile a list of relevant employers: use key words associated with employer brands, products, services or customer-base to identify potential organisations
  • Researching topics or issues that are current in the industry could also help you identify organisations that might be tweeting about that topic, commenting about it on a blog, forum or website
  •  Some employers use social media to engage with potential candidates directly, where as other employers use social media to direct you to their website with further details.
  • Don’t forget Instagram or Pinterest within your searches
  • Once you have identified a few employers of interest, check their sites regularly (some allow you to subscribe) and follow them on twitter to receive news and upcoming vacancies before they go liveStarting a LinkedIn profile and finding and connecting with contacts is something most students and graduates find daunting. Here are some suggestions to get started.
  • Using LinkedIn to make contacts:
  • Make sure your LinkedIn profile is professional and reflects what you are seeking, highlighting what you can do, your skills and achievements
  • The words you use in your description/profile will be key search words for employers and attract them to your site
  • Choose your words carefully to maximise your chances of appearing in employers’ Google searches
  • Connect with people outside of your normal social groups. You could start by searching for graduates from your course or university on LinkedIn and connect with them
  • Join groups on LinkedIn to gain industry knowledge, join in industry discussions and find contacts to add to your network at a later date
  • Use second degree contacts to extend your network further
  • When sending invites, include a personal message about why you feel it would be useful to connect
  • Remember to only invite people you already have a connection with e.g. you’ve spoken to them at an event, or they are a previous employer: otherwise ask someone else to introduce you.
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