LinkedIn is notably one of the best social networks for professionals, whether you're looking for a new job or you just want to network with other professionals in your industry and area of expertise. But because LinkedIn is also one of the largest networks, with more than 500 million users and more than 10 million job postings, it can seem impossible to stand out in the crowd or to find what you're looking for.
Here's how we recommend using LinkedIn to land your dream job. [Don't forget to download your free LinkedIn checklist and guided brainstorming workbook.]:
1. Update your profile including your headline, job experience and summary.
Treat these sections like a resume and focus on your accomplishments and skills rather than a running list of your daily tasks. Your headline should be specific and include relevant keywords (i.e. "Sales Engineer Fluid Power at XYZ Company" instead of simply Sales Engineer or Sales.)
If you need some more advice on this area check out our blog post: Resume Tips to Land an Interview
2. Use a professional profile photo.
A good rule of thumb to use is asking yourself if you would want your boss to see the entire, uncropped photo and all that's happening in the background. If the answer is no, it's not a good profile picture for LinkedIn. Many people have nice photos of them that were taken at events, weddings, a night out, etc. Even though you may look great and you're dressed nice, it doesn't mean it's appropriate to use for LinkedIn.
If you don't have access to a professional headshot, you can put on a suit or your best professional attire and have a friend or colleague snap a photo in front of a solid color wall using your phone's camera.
3. Apply to jobs and share your profile with job posters.
LinkedIn Jobs allows you to search for openings by keyword, title, company name, and location. If you have JobSeeker Premium, you can even search by salary range and compare your skills to others who have applied to the opening. Many job postings will allow you to "Quick Apply" using your LinkedIn profile with an option to attach your resume / CV and cover letter.
Even if you're directed to the company's website to apply, you can (and should!) share your LinkedIn profile with the job poster. Sharing this information gives them a bigger picture of your skills and expertise than a single page resume is able to do.
Browse a few of our open jobs on LinkedIn HERE
1. Post content and updates relevant to your industry and skills.
In order to be perceived as an industry expert, you need to demonstrate your knowledge. A simple way to do this is to share relevant content and updates to your LinkedIn network. You can use an RSS tool such as Feedly.com to find blog posts and articles in your niche. You should be reading this information to stay up to date on your industry anyways, but now instead of simply reading it and moving on, you read it and share it with a sentence or two of commentary.
You can also post questions to your network or discussion topics to get your community talking. The more people who like, comment and share your posts, the more eyes there are on you and all you have to offer an employer.
2. Discreetly let recruiters know you're open to opportunities.
There is a setting that you can toggle on and off that let's recruiters know you are open to opportunities. If you are on the job hunt, we encourage you to turn this setting on. To do so:
- Login to your LinkedIn profile
- In the top left navigation, click on your profile picture that says "Me" with a tiny drop down arrow.
- Select "Settings & Privacy" from the drop down options
- Select "Privacy" from the top navigation
- Select "Job seeking" in the left-hand navigation
- Click "Let recruiters know you're open to opportunities"
- Toggle the option to "Yes"
1. Network with recruiters and hiring managers
Use LinkedIn for exactly what it was built for, networking with professionals. We do not recommend blindly shooting out connection requests to anyone and everyone, though. Instead, be strategic and thoughtful in your requests. Think of your ideal companies and roles, then use the search functionality to find users at those organizations and in similar functions.
Ideally, you will have at least one mutual connection with the person you want to connect with, but you can still reach out to 3rd connections (or further) as long as you do so with intent. Message the prospective connection with the reason why you want to connect. Dig deep into their profile for a unique interest or skill that you can relate to or express genuine interest in. If at all possible, relay how the connection will be beneficial to the other user as well.
Connecting with recruiters is pretty straight forward, but you want to find recruiters who are experts in your field for the best chance of success.
Are you in sales, engineering or operations in the Industrial Automation or Fluid Power industries? Connect with Aaron Thompson, Whitney Robinson, Patrick Allen, Greg Hill, Brian Kinlaw, or Adriene Battie
2. Write LinkedIn Articles in your area of expertise.
The next step after sharing industry / expert content written by other people is to create and distribute your own expertise. Your unique combination of experience and education makes you a uniquely qualified expert. Everything you've done and learned in your career can be consolidated and shared in multiple blogs or research studies, and LinkedIn Articles can reach a larger audience than simply sharing a link to an externally hosted site.
To write an article, navigate to your LinkedIn Homepage. Instead of sharing an article, photo or update, click "Write an article" at the bottom of the update box. From there you can add images, links, videos and even presentation slides to your post.
3. Join relevant LinkedIn Groups and participate in discussions.
There are thousands of groups on LinkedIn for almost any professional topic or demographic you can think of. Use the Discover functionality to find groups LinkedIn thinks you may be interested in, or simply enter keywords into the search bar to find groups more specific to what you're looking for.
These groups are for discussing industry (or other relevant) topics as well as sharing job opportunities. You may find several job postings within LinkedIn Groups that pique your interest, which you may not have found on your own elsewhere.
If you're not using LinkedIn to demonstrate your skill sets, search for jobs and connect with recruiters, you're not really getting much out of the platform. Think beyond the basics of having a profile, and truly experience all of the benefits it has to offer so you can stand out in the crowd and land your dream job.