Courtesy of Monica Lewis
- Monica Lewis is the senior director of product management at LinkedIn.
- Despite a downturn in many industries, she says job opportunities are still out there.
- Her job-search advice is to get specific with what you’re looking for and firm up your skill set.
As the senior director of product management at LinkedIn, I’m often asked for advice on landing a job, particularly now amid the economic uncertainty in many industries including real estate, tech, and retail.
While there’s no singular answer to this question, in my time at LinkedIn I’ve been able to learn from countless job seekers what makes for an effective job search. The good news is there are still opportunities out there, as the ratio of job openings to active applicants remains nearly double the pre-pandemic average.
Here are my top tips for finding your next role.
Figure out what you want and why
The clearer you can be about what you’re looking for in your next job, the better. Being specific helps give you direction — whether in researching companies, preparing for interviews, or asking others for help.
Ask yourself why a certain industry, job, or company appeals to you: Maybe you’re energized by the potential to make a positive impact at scale, or build something from the ground up, or be in a workplace with more flexibility.
Getting clarity on what motivates you may also help you find opportunities you hadn’t considered. Tech, for instance, isn’t just engineers and web designers — it includes roles in accounting, operations, sales, and marketing.
Prioritize your skill set
A LinkedIn report published last March suggested that more than 40% of companies globally, including LinkedIn, relied on skills to search for and identify job candidates on LinkedIn.
If you’re pivoting from one industry to another, determine which skills will transfer over to the new position. Identify your strongest relevant skills as a candidate and use your LinkedIn profile’s “skills” and “about” sections and your past job descriptions to show examples of how you’ve demonstrated them.
Keep finding opportunities to sharpen and adapt your skills via online courses, volunteering, or side gigs.
Network with people in similar positions
Once you’ve determined your goals and mapped out your transferable skills, try to talk to people who are in those roles to learn more about what their day-to-day is like. Start by introducing yourself and then explain the reason you selected them to reach out to. You could say something like: “I’m interested in moving from engineering to product management, and I saw that you made a similar transition. Would you have 15 minutes to share how you navigated the transition and any challenges along the way?”
If they agree to chat, do your research beforehand so you can ask intentional and informed questions that show your desire to learn and grow. Don’t lead by asking to be connected to someone on the hiring team. I recommend ending the conversation with something like: “Based on our discussion, is there anyone else you think I should connect with — maybe a hiring manager or someone who’s recently made the move I’m looking to make?”
You should view these conversations as tools to build relationships and learn rather than ways to land an easy referral.
Above all else, keep going
My top piece of advice is to stay the course. It may take a few swings to land your dream job, but it’s absolutely possible.
Rejection is a part of the process, not a failure. Use rejection as an opportunity to understand how you can better present your skill set and to see which companies your priorities align best with. Keep your skills sharp, share experiences with your network, build community with others who are searching and hiring, and, most importantly, be kind to yourself.