Stop Applying to Jobs on LinkedIn: Here’s What To Do Instead

Written By John Sonmez

use linkedin to get a programming jobGo to LinkedIn. Scroll through jobs. Find postings you may have a good chance of getting hired for. Click on job posting. Upload resume. Submit. Repeat, over and over.

The programmer job process feels like a crap shoot, doesn’t it? You often feel as if you are sending your resume into the ether of the hiring world. You’re not surprised when you receive the “no-reply” or “we-aren’t-moving-forward-with-you” emails.

But you have nothing to lose by applying, right?

Wrong. You have everything to lose: at the very least, time and energy.

Most people these days apply to jobs through a job posting. A single job could have well over 200 applicants. When you submit a resume, a recruiter might look at it. They’ll look at your resume for six seconds, realize you don’t have what they want, and then move on to the next resume.

But I have good news for you: There’s a better way.

In this post, I’ll give you proven strategies that will help you attract interviews and land job offers. You’re going to get responses from real people. Sound good? Keep reading.

Shift Your Mindset From “Now” to “a Little Bit Later”

When I was job searching, I kept thinking “I want one yesterday.” Chances are you want a job, and you want a job now.

Keep the desire, but let’s temper it.

There’s a saying that goes “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?” You have to realize that you won’t start that new job tomorrow. In fact, even if you do get a new job today, you most likely won’t start that job until two weeks from the day you read this article.

Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, talks a lot about trusting a system in his book The Start-Up of You. If you trust a system that produces results, the job will come to you.

Stop holding your breath for the next role to come around. Breathe. It will come.

Identify and Connect With People of Peace

Every so often, life places people in front of you who can help you in unexpected ways—all you have to do is ask. I’ve encountered many of these types of people and benefited richly from them. I refer to these individuals as “people of peace.”

People of peace come in many forms:

  • The random connection you added on LinkedIn who can give you a referral at the company you’re interested in.
  • Friend of a friend you met at that one bar who’s looking to hire someone with your skill set.
  • Local alumni who could introduce you to someone who can hire you.
  • Old high school friend who’s launching a startup and wants to hire people they’re familiar with.
  • That one dude from your very first job who’s now a hiring manager at a big tech company.

Figure out who these people are for you. Reach out to them over LinkedIn in a personal and genuine way. Don’t make the message about what you can gain. Rather, try to add value to their day. Here’s how you can do that:

  • Highlight an accomplishment or work experience they’ve listed on their LinkedIn profile, and tell them in a genuine way why it sticks out to you.
  • Research news they would find interesting. If their company did something noteworthy, like launching a product or raising a Series A, congratulate them, and say why you thought it was cool.
  • Bring up a fond memory (e.g., the time you first met), and mention that to them.

As life places people in front of you in unexpected ways, take the opportunity to reach out. Keep the message personal and make it about them. Remember, your goal is to add value to the other person’s life. The people you’re reaching out to will realize you’re not just another contact looking to gain something from them and they’ll see you as a valuable addition to their network. As you maintain the commitment to adding value, they’ll be more than happy to help you when you need it.

Create Relationships Two Weeks Ahead of Time

Networking on LinkedIn does not have an immediate effect.

My suggestion? Make connections on LinkedIn with two weeks in mind.

Don’t ask for anything.

After you connect with somebody, use LinkedIn’s platform to engage with what they’re saying or doing. If you see a post on their feed, comment on why you liked what they posted. If you’re feeling bold, tell them why their post encouraged or challenged you. If you need a boldness upgrade, check out the 2-Hour Job Search

Liking a post is great, but you want to stand out from everyone else. You can stand out by taking the extra step to engage in a personal way. One of my favorite ways to engage with someone is telling them how their content compelled me to act. My connection, Austen, wrote a post about career advice from parents. You can see how I engaged with and commented on the post here.

If you don’t see any of your connection’s posts on your LinkedIn feed, view their profile, and see what they’ve been engaging with. Their post may not have reached your feed, or they may not be very active on LinkedIn.

After two weeks of engaging in a relevant way, “make your ask.”

How do you make your ask? Well, let me tell you …

Personalize Now, Scale Later

use linkedin to get a programming jobSome of you have gotten in the habit of copying and pasting your networking messages.

Stop this.

I like the way you’re thinking about creating systems, but please stop. Instead, craft personal messages that add value to the other person’s life.

Instead of:

“Hello, my name is Daniel, and I’m currently looking for a job. I noticed you’re at Amazon, and I was wondering if you could refer me for a data science role I was looking at. Can you help me?”


“Hi Ryan, I recently read about Accelerate’s roll-out for the enterprise data security system. Huge congratulations on launching that product. So many people will benefit, especially with more people working remote.

“Your data science content on LinkedIn has been really encouraging for me lately. I’ve been trying to break into data science and have benefited a lot from your posts. The bit about solving problems in the most simple way as possible was huge for my learning process.

“I wanted to reach out and see if you would have time for a 20-minute phone call sometime next week. I’d love to hear what you’ve found most satisfying and challenging in your data science work. I’d also appreciate your advice for how I can break into a data science career.


Personalizing your messaging is the most effective way to garner responses. If it’s any consolation, I personalize in a systematic way. Let’s break my messaging down:

Hi [person]

[Something you noticed the person or their company did that was cool]

[Something the person did or wrote you thought was helpful or admirable]

[Thoughtful call to action where you ask for advice]


Personalize your messages now, see what works for you, then scale. If you’re wondering if your messages are personal enough, feel free to check out the Linkedin subreddit. Redditors will be candid with you and guide you toward crafting the ultimate personalized message.

You’re Ready To Create Relationships and Land a New Job

It’s easy to spend time scrolling through LinkedIn. It’s easy to upload resumes and hit the “submit” button. But that won’t get you interviews, and it won’t land you a job.

As you take time to build relationships, I guarantee you will see results. You’ll land interviews, and you’ll garner job offers. You’ll be tempted to rush the process, but I strongly suggest you take your time. Networking may not give you the same instant gratification as uploading a resume will, but it will produce exponentially better results.

Do your due diligence in identifying people who can help you along your way. People are out there willing to help; you just have to ask. When you do ask, do so in a personal and genuine way. Copied and pasted outreach messages with impersonal undertones will hinder you from networking effectively.

Building genuine relationships takes a little more time. If you want a job, you have to be willing to invest in the people and relationships who can get you there.

You’re ready to create relationships, attract interviews, and land the job you’ve always wanted.