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How To Land The Job Using LinkedIn


I have worked many high profile jobs. But have never applied for one. Despite a plethora of job listings, it was always the companies that most interested me, not the positions. So I did my research, reached out to influential people at the company, and asked them for a job. 

As a result I have worked corporate jobs for some of the most sought after companies in the U.S. including American Eagle Outfitters, Williams-Sonoma, and Whole Foods, as well as prominent tech startups Radiant Logic and EveryoneSocial. 

Here’s how I landed the gig using LinkedIn:

1. Upgrade To LinkedIn Premium

First, it’s worth noting that it absolutely is worth the $29.99/month investment in LinkedIn Premium so you can have access to all the tools I mention in this article. The first month is free and you can cancel as soon as you get the job!

2. Narrow Down Your “Reach” Companies

Start by logging into LinkedIn. Then go to the top search bar and select “companies” from the drop-down menu. Leaving the field blank, click search.

From there you have this wonderful sidebar where you can start to narrow your list down. Select your location first (where you live or where you want to live), then decide on which industries you prefer (i.e. fashion, technology, or media). 

I also narrow mine down by company size. Having worked for companies who employ thousands, as well as those that employ dozens, I’ve learned that I prefer the latter over the former.

As a general rule of thumb, the larger the company the better it looks on a resume, but the smaller the company, the more experience you'll receive. Personally, I also think smaller companies are more fun. You get heaps more responsibility and you have much less bureaucracy. 

Because of this I select companies with 11-50 employees. More than that and the culture will likely be too corporate for me. Less than that and they might not be around for long!

If there are still more than ten pages of results, I’ll also filter by number of followers. Over a thousand is nice as it means the company is gaining notoriety in it’s field. It’s also probably a good place to work as a lot of employees are the first to like the company page.

Now that you have your list, open up a spreadsheet (I use Google Sheets) and label the columns as follows: company, contact, profile, submitted, followed up, followed up.

Enter your top companies into the company column. And if you can, rank them from best at the top, to worst at the bottom. (Like your reach schools and safety schools—might as well start with the best!)

3. Find Your Future Boss

Now we need to find your “contact person” at each company. This will essentially be the person you will haunt for the next few months (or weeks!) leading up until you land the gig. 

To find this person you’ll need to know 1) what department you would like to work in and 2) what role your boss would have. So for instance, in my most recent job search I know I wanted to be the head of marketing for a technology startup.

For this particular department/role, I know that my boss would likely be the CEO or CMO. If there was a VP of Marketing I wasn’t interested. It was important to me to be able to have room to move up to the VP position eventually. 

If the company is small enough, you’ll probably be able to go to the company’s page on LinkedIn and click “see all” in the right sidebar where it shows the list of employees. You’ll likely be able to browse for your future boss in there. 

If the company is larger, go to the LinkedIn search bar, select “people” from the drop down menu. Then enter the role and the company. For example: “CEO EveryoneSocial”. And there you’ll have it! Your person!!

Write this person’s name in the second column of your spread sheet, and put a link to their LinkedIn profile in the third column. Repeat for all of the companies on your list. 

3. Get Your Profile To “All-Star” Status

Now you need to make sure your profile is completely off the charts. Especially since I hardly ever use resumes or cover letters anymore. The LinkedIn profile has become the gold standard and that means yes, you do need a very beautiful and professional headshot. It’s your first impression!

Fill out as many categories as you can (without being too wordy) and make sure to list all of your accomplishments. Look at the LinkedIn profiles of people you admire and start to copy their tactics (but never their words) and Google articles on how to make your profile great. It truly is an art form.

It also helps to make it personal. Instead of writing bullet points about what you did at each job, write the story of that job. What you did for the company and how that prepared you for your next step. I employed this tactic for my profile and it worked wonders on my last job search. 

4. Contact Your Future Boss Through InMail

Now you’re ready to start your job search. Pick one day each week that you can devote a few hours to the job search. For example, Mondays. On the first Monday of your job search you’ll want to make your first introduction. 

Send LinkedIn InMail to the LinkedIn profiles of the contacts you put down on your list. Start with your favorites (those at the top of your list!) and work your way down to your safety jobs.

Here’s one of the more recent introductions I sent via LinkedIn: 

"Hi {name of contact}, 

I am a marketing executive who has spent the past six years working for tech startups in the San Francisco Bay Area. My husband and I recently relocated to Salt Lake City where I was immediately drawn to {name of company}.

It doesn't look like you have any openings now, but I would love to be considered if you foresee any marketing roles becoming available in the future. Please let me know if something becomes available. 

Thanks so much for your advice. 


Elle Griffin"

Important: keep these letters short and to the point. Your contacts won’t read anything long. Especially if they are an executive. 

5. Make Your Future Boss Your New Mentor

Nine times out of ten your contacts will get back to you in less than a week. And more likely than not, you’ll probably receive something along the lines of, “thank you so much for reaching out. We actually do have a position that will be available in the fall. If you’re interested, reach out to {email address} to submit your resume."

Bingo. This is amazing for many reasons, the greatest of which is that you now have a job to apply for that no one else is applying to. You are the only candidate, and you’re one that 1) took initiative and 2) has personal contact with the person or people that will be your future boss and 3) when you email your resume to HR you can say that your contact referred you to the position. In other words, you have an “in." A big in.

If they don’t get back to you within a week. Send another email or LinkedIn InMail. Something along the lines of: “Just wanted to follow up that you received my request! If there’s not a position available I’d love to talk more with you about working at {company name}. Let me know if you’re available + thanks so much for your consideration."

And if you still don’t hear back, send another one a week after that. And another the week after that.

For my first job out of college, Assistant Buyer at American Eagle Outfitters, I beat out 70 interviewees at an open format group interview because I had been emailing with the person who would become my boss for one year prior to the interview.

By the time of my interview, she had coached me through the interview process, given me the names of the people I would be meeting with, and sent me their addresses so I could send them hand written thank you cards afterwards.

Whether you get the job in a year (as I dd with my first job search) or in a week (as I did with my last job search) this strategy is guaranteed to get you in. And not just to any job. To your dream job. The one that doesn’t exist yet, that no ones even applying for, but that has your name written all over it.

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