Searching for a job can be ridiculously frustrating and overwhelming. Add on the fact that 50 percent of resumes submitted with online applications are eliminated automatically for not containing specific keywords, according to TopResume, and you’ve got yourself even more stress.
As if filling out endless applications with very little response isn’t exhausting enough, you’ve probably been told you should optimize your resume for each application and seek to connect with someone at the company in hopes that they’ll refer you. That takes extra work that isn’t guaranteed to pay off.
The process is brutal. And even worse, it’s a total numbers game and can take the wind out of your job search sails very quickly if you don’t get regular call backs or interviews.
There has to be a better way. And I’m here to tell you there is. I’ve tested the formula and it has worked for me and others.
It’s all about personal branding, specifically on LinkedIn.
As you develop a personal brand, employers will seek you out, not the other way around. That means less exhausting applications and more qualified prospects for a career change you’ll love.
And even if you’re not looking for a new job, this formula will still help you advance your career in diverse ways.
The first step in the process is to optimize your LinkedIn profile. I’ll skim over this part. Hopefully, you’ve already done most of these things:
• Create a custom URL that includes your name so you’re easier to find in searches (it’s good for SEO)
• Have deliberate, concise messaging in the “About” section of your profile
• Include links and portfolio work at the bottom of the “About” section
• List your current and previous jobs in the “Experience” section and give proper detail to each, just like you would on a resume
• Pick a few people you’ve worked with and give them an unsolicited recommendation — most likely they’ll give you one back (if they do, add it to your profile when prompted by LinkedIn)
Here’s an example of how I’ve constructed the “About” section on my profile.
Once you feel like your profile is a good representation of who you are and what you’ve accomplished in your career, it’s time to start creating content and engaging with others on LinkedIn.
Like any other social media platform, LinkedIn has an algorithm that favors certain types of content more than others.
Right now video is popular on LinkedIn and video posts generally get much more attention than other forms of content on the platform.
Want proof? Let’s take a look at my own posts over the past several months.
This post consisted of a caption and a screenshot that I uploaded. As you can tell, it got minimal engagement with six likes and no comments.
Contrast that with a video posted just a few weeks later.
The video post garnered five the likes of the other post, nine comments and 2.2K views. It was filmed on a smartphone in my basement, so the production value isn’t out of reach for the average person.
Let’s look at another example.
In this post, I shared a link to one of my favorite articles on Business Insider with a custom caption of my own.
Thirteen likes and four comments later, I was bummed because I expected more people to see and engage with the post.
Now, let’s look at another video post that addresses a similar topic.
Once again, the video post came out on top in regards to views and other engagement metrics. But that’s not even the most amazing part.
Every time I posted a video, I recognized more recruiters visiting my profile.
I started paying attention to metrics like this one that would appear in my notifications.
Whenever I posted a video, I appeared in more searches and had more profile, recruiters and colleagues alike. Some of those views led to interviews and others didn’t, but it felt good to know that I was appearing in searches rather than spending my time doing all of the searching.
I took things a step further by occasionally repurposing the videos and posting them to my personal Facebook page and YouTube channel. It’s important to note that I uploaded each video natively to each platform. I did not just upload the video to YouTube and then share that link to LinkedIn and Facebook. I’d done tests on that in the past (check out the image below) and saw much less engagement.
Within weeks of posting regular video content and uploading it natively to LinkedIn and sometimes the other platforms, former colleagues started reaching out to me about freelance or consulting opportunities. I was simply reaching more people in more places and quickly became known as a “video marketing guy.”
To stay top-of-mind, you have to have constant, positive touchpoints with your audience. According to SalesForce, “it takes 6 to 8 touches to generate a viable lead.” My video posts were easy touchpoints with my network and interviews with recruiters or opportunities for contract work were my leads.
I loved what was happening with my personal brand, so I kept producing video content and posting. As the months passed by, I saw more engagement on my posts and many people would tell me in person that they were loving my content.
Now, you might be thinking, “How do I know what to post?” The equation for me was simple. I’d ask myself, “Does this add value to my network? Does it fit my personal brand?” If the answer was yes, I’d make a video and post it.
Along the way, I learned how to optimize my content so it performs as well as possible on each platform. I learned how important a custom thumbnail is and how closed captioning on videos can increase watch time.
The video below will teach you how to add a custom thumbnail and closed captioning to your LinkedIn videos. The same process can work for Facebook or YouTube. A custom thumbnail will draw attention to your post when it pops up in a user’s timeline.
Captions are invaluable on LinkedIn and Facebook because video content will autoplay for users with the sound muted. Using captions will keep them watching your video even if they aren’t in a position to have the audio playing.
As I continued to post videos on my own profile, I encouraged friends to do the same. I also noticed other people in my industry who were having their own success with similar strategies.
Ultimately, my story has been a happy one. Months after I started doing this I was offered my current position and, along with it, a bump in pay and responsibility.
But I won’t stop there. Even though I got a great job, I’m still posting video content to LinkedIn and other platforms because I want to continue to be a thought leader in my industry and grow my personal brand.
Remember, the key to all of this is to have a giving mentality. As you seek to add value to your network through the content you produce, you’ll stay top-of-mind. The more that happens, the better your chances are for being referred to a new job or being found by recruiters.
Now it’s your turn. Put it to the test and hopefully you’ll never be caught in an endless cycle of job applications again.
Bobby is a full-scale content producer who enjoys writing articles, making videos and posting to his food Instagram account, @bobbyeatsit. He’s been published nationally and writes on a variety of topics. He’s known for his positive attitude and can-do spirit.