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LinkedIn's Hidden Features that MBA Students are Using to Find their First Jobs Post-MBA...and so should YOU!

Courtesy of LinkedIn

Anyone who knows me professionally or personally knows what a huge fan of LinkedIn I am. Anyone who's at the early phases of researching and applying for an MBA program should absolutely have a LinkedIn profile that is up-to-date, functional, beautiful, and be relatively active on it (like, comment or post something once a week perhaps). I've had conversations with several of my friends' kids who are in high school about the advantages of starting young in growing your network and developing a personal brand that will pay out in spades when it comes time to being admitted into a top university or getting a job later in life. During your #MbaAdmissionsJourney, LinkedIn will honestly prove to be one of your best friends and most useful tools.

The same is clearly true when it comes to looking for a job, and frankly most people aren't even coming close to using LinkedIn to its fullest potential - and I'm talking about the FREE VERSION. For most people, there's no reason to be shelling out all that cash to pay for a premium subscription, when you can get so much for free. Let the corporate headhunters pay for that. You just need to be findable and then hirable!

Some time in 2023, LinkedIn added a feature to the ABOUT section, where you can indicate up to 5 Top Skills, from among the skills you've indicated in the SKILLS section of your profile. These 5 Top Skills are searchable keywords, and it's exactly the way hiring managers, HR directors, and head hunters are searching for their talent pools via LinkedIn. This of course means having your SKILLS section up-to-date and endorsed! So, how many skills should you list? The max is 100, but I advise my clients to have at least as many skills as years they've been alive. If you're just 27 years old, having 25-30 skills seems about right for this stage in your career. Let's leave a little room for growth. You want to be strategic about the skills you list, selecting the most frequent ones listed on the job descriptions for the jobs you are targeting. Then there's getting endorsements. Within 15 minutes, you can copy-paste a simple request to 100 of your contacts, asking them to endorse you for a few skills. Then within 48 hours, you should have a bunch of new endorsements, which always looks better than only you saying you're good at Advanced Excel, for example.

So if you're in the middle of your MBA program and that imminent urgency of finding that first post-MBA job is hanging heavy on you, let's talk about a few things you can do to make the process a bit easier:

Use LinkedIn's advanced search:

LinkedIn's advanced search feature is a powerful tool that allows you to search for job opportunities based on specific criteria such as location, job title, and company. This can be a great way to find job openings that are not advertised on other job boards.

To access the advanced search feature, click on the "Jobs" tab on the top menu bar of your LinkedIn homepage. From there, you can enter specific keywords related to the job you are looking for and narrow down your search by location, industry, company size, and more. You can also filter your search results by date posted, experience level, and job function.

One of the great things about using LinkedIn's advanced search feature is that you can see how you are connected to the hiring manager or the company. This can be useful in making an introduction or referral. Furthermore, you can see what GROUPS they may be in, found all the way at the bottom of LinkedIn profiles, within the INTERESTS section. By joining the GROUPS of other people on LinkedIn, not only do you demonstrate a shared interest, but you'll see items they post or comment on and have an opportunity there to interact with them. Additionally, unless you have a Premium account, you cannot message people on LinkedIn with whom you are not directly connected; messaging someone via the members page of a shared group does however allow you to circumvent this block. A word of caution: be mindful of how, how, and when you message someone like a hiring manager. It could be taken poorly if you don't do this correctly.

Another powerful feature is the "Open for" option, that allows you to search for people who are open for new job opportunities. This can be useful for recruiters and hiring managers looking for top talent or for job seekers looking for new opportunities.

For example:

Let's say you're looking for a mid-level management position in marketing in the New York City Metropolitan Area. You set the search location to NYC and then you search for your desired position. Using the filters, you can limit your search to part-time/full-time, experience level, remote/in-person, how recent the job was posted, and even salary expectations. What's also interesting is you can see who among your LinkedIn network works there, which could mean a massive boost in getting your foot in the door for an interview, the inside scoop on what the company culture is like, and even suggestions on how to stand out among the other applicants at this specific company, or even with a particular interviewer, if they can find that out for you.

On top of this, you can also save your search and set up job alerts, so that you will be notified when new job opportunities that match your criteria are posted. This can save you time and keep you updated on new job openings.

Bonus Tip!

Another new feature that LinkedIn has been rolling out throughout 2023 in many countries around the world is the "I'M INTERESTED" button. Go to the COMPANY PAGE of the company where you hope to be working next. In their ABOUT section (if they have LinkedIn Recruiter), you will see a little button that says, "I'M INTERESTED." By clicking that, your LinkedIn profile will automatically be shared with the HR people at that company, completely privately. For many people who are considering changing jobs, there is concern that their current boss will notice that they are looking around, and thus many people are nervous about putting that "Open to Work" banner around their profile pictures, and potentially for good reason in some cases. This pathway is far more discreet, although we must acknowledge that people do talk, so always be mindful of what you say and to whom.

In short, LinkedIn's advanced search feature is a powerful tool that can help job seekers find job opportunities that are not advertised on other job boards. It can also help you to identify how you are connected to the hiring manager or the company, and even people open for new job opportunities. Don't forget to save your search and set up those job alerts, to keep yourself updated on new job openings that match your criteria.

For more great LinkedIn Tips, check out this episode of MBA Waves:

Coming in May 2024: "Getting into an MBA in Spain"

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