Winning Hacks for the Hidden Job Market

A job search to find unadvertised positions

I found my last three jobs on LinkedIn.  But I didn’t apply for any of the positions directly.

All three jobs positions were unpublished or unadvertised in job boards and company websites. I secured two of the jobs on my own by connecting directly with the hiring manager. The third job offer I secured was through a recruiter who found my profile on LinkedIn.

Before implementing the job search strategies outlined in this article, it is recommended that you complete and optimize your LinkedIn profile. Refer to LinkedIn: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet – A Visual Guide to Achieving LinkedIn Profile Perfection in 7 Steps.  Aim for an “All-star” profile where your profile is 100% completed.

Take time to fully optimize your LinkedIn profile

  • A professional profile photograph
  • Keyword optimized headline that succinctly includes your role/title and industry
  • A customized LinkedIn URL to make it easy for people to find you
  • A concise summary with a brief description of present and future aspirations
  • Additional contact information, relevant URLs, and media to support work experience
  • Effectively highlighted background section including detail of work experience
  • Skills and endorsements (these help in search ranking results)
  • Recommendations from previous colleagues
  • At least 50 connections
  • Participation in LinkedIn Groups (will be able to message someone you’re not connected with individually as long as you are in the same Group)
  • A profile that is switched to public
  • Premium membership (need this for using InMail)

Now, that you are armed with an outstanding LinkedIn profile, implement these tips and tricks to accelerate your job search strategies:

Use LinkedIn InMail in a targeted way

First, use the search bar to find an individual at a company you are interested in working at who has a job title close to the type of job you are pursuing. Ensure that this individual holds a more senior position than you do. Ideally, you are searching for the potential hiring manager or line manager for your next job position.

Next, send an InMail message to the individual you identified. InMail can be used to contact anyone on LinkedIn, even those outside your network and is included with a premium membership. Your InMail message should be a well-crafted teaser aimed at highlighting your skill set, industry expertise, and interest in the company.

As an example, I was job hunting for a Digital Director position so I selectively researched and then InMailed a small targeted number of Managing Directors and CEOs of advertising agencies and marketing companies I was particularly interested in working for.  I wrote a brief teaser InMail message that included my personalized LinkedIn vanity URL to drive views of my LinkedIn profile and requests for my resume.

InMail messages can have up to 200 characters in the subject line and up to 2,000 characters in the body, but my approach was to be to the point – to spark interest quickly and create desire to learn more about me.

My LinkedIn InMail teaser

Dear __________,

I am reaching out to you to inquire about opportunities at [Company X] in the area of digital marketing.  Currently, I am SVP Digital Marketing at Company Y and previously I was Head of Digital at Company Z.

Prior to my focus on digital and social media, I worked for 15 years in marketing, strategy, and innovation at Companies A, B, and C.

Attached is my LinkedIn profile for your reference

Thank you for your consideration,


Time spent researching and targeting pays off

This technique resulted in very high response rates with 3 out of every 4 InMails I sent out coming back with a reply to my inquiry or request for my resume and often request for an interview.  Instead of sending out countless resumes to job postings, I used my time to find hiring managers or potential future colleagues within my field.

Various techniques exist to utilize LinkedIn in the job search. I found that responding to job boards alone was not sufficient. Networking and engaging in LinkedIn Groups also generated some leads. In the end, selectively using InMail  has been the single most effective method for me in securing my next position.

I will be starting my next job as Head of Digital for a multi-national advertising agency thanks to this approach! Please reach out and connect with me.

What has been your best tip for using LinkedIn in your job search?  Share your comments below.

#JobSearch  #LinkedIn   #InMail  #HiringManagers


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