How You Should Use LinkedIn to Help You Find a Job
It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
We’ve all heard that, and it’s tempting to think that job hunting through a social network like LinkedIn is a matter of working your connections and knowing the right people. But there’s a lot more to using LinkedIn to find a job than who you know. What you know and how you present your knowledge and yourself are also important factors in how to use LinkedIn to find a job.
In June 2016, shortly after Microsoft announced it would buy LinkedIn, Jeff Weiner, the company’s CEO, appeared on CBS This Morning1 to talk about the merger and give some tips on how to use LinkedIn to find a job:
- Update your profile regularly.
- Be specific about job skills. List them all.
- Emphasize your recent
“Be yourself, represent who you are,” Weiner said, adding that LinkedIn “is not a resume.” Rather, it is “a more dynamic approach to representing your experiences, your skills, your objectives, what you know, what you’re interested in within a professional context.”
Ronda Suder of TopResume saw the interview and wrote an article with additional tips for a LinkedIn job search2. More recently, Katie Warren published a piece in Business Insider with more “ways to use LinkedIn to find a job3.” Stevens-Henager College’s Career Services office has drawn on these articles and our own knowledge to bring you some tips to help you in your job search.
A Dozen Tips for Your LinkedIn Job Search
1. Start with a snappy headline.
Your name, picture, and headline are what come up in a search, so use a good phrase to describe yourself, rather than a job title. Instead of “sales representative,” try something like “expert at building relationships, growing sales revenue, and forming business partnerships.”
2. Use the Skills section of your profile.
List as many as apply to you. LinkedIn allows 50. Think about what you do, rather than your job title. If you design shopping bags or gift bags your skills could include graphic design, advertising copy, and editing. As you start typing in your skill, pay attention to the autocomplete suggestions. Look at the suggested skills that come up based on your profile, too. You may have a skill you don’t think of as a skill.
3. Spread the word.
Tell people you’re looking. You can even announce it in your headline: “Writer looking to write her way into and out of paper bags.” Don’t be afraid to be playful. And let recruiters know as well. In the Career Interests section of Your Dashboard, set the Let recruiters know you’re open button to On. You can leave recruiters a note, up to 300 characters. LinkedIn hides this notification from your current employer.
4. Build out your network.
One way to do this is to import contact lists from Gmail or other sources. Another is to connect with colleagues at your current or past jobs, if you haven’t done so already, and to connect with their connections. Read this LinkedIn post4 for suggestions on connecting with alumni from your school.
5. Research and follow the companies you want to work for.
This is a good way to keep apprised of new openings, which you can apply for through the LinkedIn listing.
6. Create job alerts.
Besides following the companies you’re interested in, you can create alerts for specific jobs or job types, and for specific companies.
7. Use Advanced Search.
This option can tell you things like which of your connections is connected to a particular company. Then you can ask your connections about culture, pay, and other things you want to know.
8. Ask for an introduction or referral.
Clicking on a job posted on LinkedIn will bring up a job description in three boxes. The first box gives the job title and company name. The third box is the job description. Between the two is a box that comes up if you have a connection who can provide a referral. Click the Ask for a referral link on the right side of the page, choose the person or people you’d like a referral from, and click Message.
If you write an article, post it or a link as an update—videos too—and other things you do professionally. Share items in your feed as well, comment on other items, and like them.
10. Join some LinkedIn Professional Groups.
Use Advanced Search to find them. Groups can be a great way to reach out to potential employers, especially if you don’t have a connection who can refer you. See if an employer you’re interested in is part of any LinkedIn groups you belong to, or join a group they belong to.
11. Write to potential employers.
Keep the note short and personal. Don’t use a LinkedIn template, and remember this is not a cover letter. Look in the person’s profile for a detail or shared connection you can mention.
12. Vary when you post.
Maybe it’s the lack of cat videos, but people don’t use LinkedIn at work as much as they do Facebook, so try posting after work, or at different times of day, and see how people respond, and who responds, at different times.
Make That a Social Networker’s Dozen
Now that you’ve followed these tips on how to use LinkedIn to find a job and you’ve been called for an interview, don’t neglect to prepare for it!
13. Research the people who will be interviewing you.
Don’t find yourself in the position of the hapless jobseeker referred by an employment agency who didn’t give you any information about the company, then was asked in the interview, “What do you think of our website?” Find out as much as you can about the company and spend some time on their website. Check LinkedIn for information about the company division and about your interviewers.
For more information about preparing for your career, visit our Career Services page. To learn how Stevens-Henager College can help you gain the skills and knowledge to start a great career, or advance one, visit our Request Info page today and ask about our degree programs.