LinkedIn has rolled out a new feature for job seekers – and it’s so easy to utilise…
With nearly 400 million professionals in more than 200 countries gathering in one place online, setting up a good LinkedIn profile should be the first thing on every woman’s to-do list.
And, while we already know how to upcycle our accounts (not to mention the words we should always avoid using on our profiles), we’re always willing to learn about any exciting new tools we can use to make our LinkedIn experience even easier.
Naturally, then, you can imagine how excited we were to learn about the new “Ask for a Referral” feature, which promises to get us all personalised references at the click of a button.
That’s right: on the desktop, you can click on the new job search filter to look for jobs “in your network” (aka just the jobs where you already know someone who works at the company). This can be combined with other filters, including location and industry, to help you narrow down the positions you may want to apply for.
Then you just have to scroll through the jobs on offer, before selecting the one that takes your fancy – and it’s at this point that LinkedIn steps in to help you get that reference. All you have to do is click the button to generate a list of contacts who work at the company, before choosing the person you want to reach out to.
Once this is done, LinkedIn will prompt you to write a message, offering pre-populated text that you can personalise to your inquiry (however, experts advise personalising your message somewhat, in order to remind your contact how you know each other, or what you have in common, before explaining why you’re interested and think you’d be a good fit).
LinkedIn will then send your connections a message, asking them to recommend you for the job in question. The recipient can then choose to follow up on your message by referring you to the job through whatever methods their company supports – and voila, you have a reference!
So, why is this feature such a big deal?
Well, referrals greatly help job seekers get a call back compared to an application sent on its own, LinkedIn says. If fact, you’re four times more likely to hear back from a recruiter at the company if you’ve been referred, and nearly half of recruiters say that referrals are the leading source of quality hires.
It’s worth noting that LinkedIn are not the only ones to sing the praises of effective networking: indeed, countless studies have shown that the larger your network, the more access to opportunities you have.
Mark Granovetter of Johns Hopkins University published a paper called The Strength of Weak Ties and his research found that weak contacts, even distant acquaintances, are often more powerful sources in our network than close friends.
According to the study, people found jobs through weak connections in more than 80% of cases – making LinkedIn’s newest feature all the more important.