Equipped to Lead and Succeed

Looking for a Job? Do What Maya Ayed ’22 Did

With a single post on LinkedIn, she landed a million impressions and a new job

by Maya Ayed ’22, USF News

In February 2023, I was laid off by a tech company in San Francisco. I wasn’t sure what to do. So I wrote a post on my LinkedIn page.

The first paragraph:

“Four years ago, I faced my greatest challenge yet — moving to the U.S. Today, I’m faced with an even bigger challenge — fighting to stay here.”

The response: One million impressions, 1,000 new connections, 345 comments, 10 job interviews, one coffee meeting, and a new job.

LinkedIn worked for me. It can work for you, too. Here is my LinkedIn advice to current USF students:

1. Say who you are and show what you offer.

What do you do? What sets you apart? What skills, talents, or gifts do you offer to employers and to the world? The answers to these questions are your personal brand. Put this brand on the “About” section of your LinkedIn page. Example:

Chief of Staff, entrepreneur, and community-builder. Tunisian & Belgian. Trilingual.

Use sensing technologies and AI to drive health innovations. Work to shift hormones from controlling us to empowering us. Aim to prevent hormonal imbalances and ensure their management.

Ask me anything about:

  • Moving solo across the globe at 17
  • Taking on a chief of staff role as a recent grad
  • Being employee #1
  • Launching consumer products
  • Staying healthy in the U.S.
  • Navigating frameworks/PM tool
  • Creating a brand for yourself

2.  Create your elevator pitch.

What is your elevator pitch? Can you say it aloud? In one or two sentences? To a hiring manager or to a person you just met at a career event?

This is my pitch: “I’m not the smartest person in the room, but I am one of the youngest — and the most curious.”

This pitch is not impressive, but it’s short and it’s the truth. I can say it without stumbling and without being embarrassed. 

3.  In your posts on LinkedIn, be bold.

Two years ago while I was searching for an internship, I wrote a post on LinkedIn. It started like this: “I’m proud to announce that I still haven’t received an internship offer this summer.”

Most posts on LinkedIn start with “I’m proud to announce that I have received an internship/job offer from XYZ corporation.” I knew I wouldn’t get any attention if I wrote a post like that, so I wrote a different post. It got 510 page views and 55 comments.

Remember that your goal is to stand out from the crowd.

4. Show more than you tell.

Most people tell on their LinkedIn page. If you show, you can stand out.

If you’re good at marketing, don’t say that you’re an “effective marketer.” Say something that
catches your readers’ attention. If you’re good at JavaScript, don’t say that you’re “accomplished at code.” Write something in JavaScript.

Don’t say that you are “creative.” Be creative. Don’t say that you are “proven.” Prove it. Don’t say that you are “international.” Say that you were born and raised in Tunisia.

Be specific about the skills and strengths you offer to employers: JavaScript, Excel, American Sign Language, analysis, empathy, enthusiasm.

5. Tell a story

Storytelling is the most important skill to master. Everyone loves stories, whether in movies, books, podcasts, or job interviews. Yes, job interviewers love stories. Whenever they say “Tell me about a time when …” they are asking you to tell them a story.

To catch your reader’s attention, start your story with something funny or dramatic or different (see point No. 3). Then, slowly reveal your story throughout your post. Here’s the LinkedIn post that has gained more than one million views:

Text from Maya Ayed LinkedIn page

6. Encourage Action

I had three weeks before I had to leave the country, so I made my LinkedIn post a challenge. To create a sense of urgency, I gave readers a call to action (CTA) and a deadline: “Let’s ignite a movement and show the world what a motivated and capable marketer can achieve in just three weeks.”  

It worked. I was even contacted about jobs that were not yet open.

7.  Create a Community

Before you start searching for jobs and before you ask anyone for help, create a community. Build your LinkedIn page. Put your full name at the top of it. Invite everyone you know to connect with you. And then start posting.

About once each week, post something you’ve done, something you learned, or something you find surprising. Above all, post something that’s useful or interesting to the people in your LinkedIn community: How to nail an elevator pitch. How you totally failed a job interview. How French bulldogs got their bat ears.

People like to learn. They also like humor (see point No. 3). And calls to action.

Show good faith. Give unto others. Share with your LinkedIn connections all the help, all the humor, all the candor that you’d like them to share with you. Then, when you call for help, you won’t be shouting in an empty room; you’ll be speaking to people who trust you, care about you, and want to help you — because you’ve shown that you trust them, care about them, and want to help them.

Maya Ayed ’22, a marketing graduate, is chief of staff at Amira Health in San Francisco and founder of the Gaya Collective.