Be Your Own Referral.

My initial thoughts about paying for a premium account on Linkedin were laden with skepticism. It wasn’t the money that pinched as it seemed fair to charge ~INR 1,400 a month to reach out to a world of recruiters, hiring managers and corporate role models. It was the effectiveness of the inmails that bothered me.

I started off inmailing recruiters while searching for a role in India, in the first 4-5 months of looking out. No response. Literally, 0 responses! In a short time my husband’s role got us to Singapore and I started inmailing the recruiters here – lukewarm response…around a ~15% response rate on average. Not bad!!! Then, very slowly and hesitantly I started inmailing Hiring managers. Now, these are the VPs, the Head of Departments and Directors that I was reaching out to, a person usually shy in personal interactions and hugely worried about invading inbox spaces of the senior guys. Guess what? The response rate shot up to ~50% for profiles that were a close fit.

There are things I learnt from my experience using Linkedin premium for almost a year now.

  • Geography matters – Don’t get me wrong. Linkedin is all pervasive and is popular all over. But while it has a global reach, it seems to have varying engagement levels. There is every possibility that recruiters in Singapore are more open to the credibility an inmail carries or that they value the proactiveness of a candidate using inmail to reach them vs. considering them intrusive. Maybe they simply visit their account more often and not just to ‘like’ or say ‘congrats’ to people in their network. My hypothesis is that the response rate is high in countries that place a very high emphasis on Industry Networking (online and offline), making them more open to getting inmails from non-connections.
  • People matter – I value the role a recruiter plays in the hiring process. But the reality is that they get bombarded with numerous choices in a single day and for your resume to stand out in the initial screening phase it has to tick off every pre-requisite, sometimes one that says MBA required even when you may have practically covered 80% of the JD in your previous roles. These are the times when you use the search function (another brilliant benefit of the premium account) to look for the head/senior of the team in the company you want to apply and shoot an inmail directly to them. Before landing the new role, I interviewed with 4 companies – one where I reached out to the Recruiter and the other 3 directly to the Hiring Manager. I am not exaggerating when I say the responses from the Hiring Managers came within a day.
  • Role matters – Inmailing for exploratory chats in case potential roles open up in the future rarely worked. Asking for advice or a chat to learn more about the industry also rarely worked. Cold inmailing for tangential roles did not work. An inmail works best when you see a role that is a close fit with your profile but you do not have a referral. There was at least one role every month where I was 100% sure I was the right person for it. These were the times I dreaded going the traditional route of applying on a company website, because who knew if my resume would even make it to the Hiring Manager through the various filters along the way. These are the times I wished hard I knew someone at the company who could refer me for the role. I kid you not when I say Linkedin lets you be your own referral. And that is awesome because now you can present yourself directly to the Hiring Manager the way you would want to. Be bold! Which gets me to my last point…
  • Content matters – A lot of people I know pay that extra money for the account, do all of the above and then when it comes to drafting the inmail, show mere interest in the role and leave it at that. Seriously?! When you inmail someone, you are already portraying yourself as a bold person willing to go that extra mile towards what you want (as long as you don’t keep stalking that person, which then borders on desperation). When you have an inmail that doesn’t match this personality, everything falls flat. The power of a short and creative inmail displaying your fit with the role is not to be underestimated. Be polite, be humble but be absolutely clear that you are the “One” for this role. Make your premium profile talk.

This is not a sponsored post!!! I do not work at Linkedin but I cannot discount how much the premium feature helped in my job search, converting me into a firm believer that if used correctly it can work wonders.

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