LinkedIn is one of the best tools to find a job right now.
In this article, I’ll show you 12 steps for how to use LinkedIn to get a job.
We need to do three things if you want to find a job on LinkedIn:
I’m going to show you how to do all of the above so you can get more job opportunities.
Your headshot is one of the first things people see, so if you want to use LinkedIn to land a job, make sure your profile photo is giving off the right impression. Choose a photo that’s clear, professional, and friendly-looking.
It doesn’t need to be stiff-looking (suit and tie), but you probably shouldn’t choose a photo where you’re drinking from a keg, either.
You can also upload a background image to make your profile stand out further. However, your headshot is more important because that’s one of the things employers and recruiters see before they even click your profile.
Next up, you’ll need a great LinkedIn headline. This is essential for using LinkedIn to get a job because everyone sees your headline – when you apply for a job, when they see you in search results, etc.
Don’t put “actively seeking positions” – that tells employers nothing about what you do or why they should care. Make your headline about your skills and how you can help them.
For example, you could say, “Experienced B2B sales professional responsible for $25MM in sales from 2017-Present”
Or you could say, “Recent Biology graduate passionate about cancer research; winner of ___ award”
You can see 10 full LinkedIn headline examples, and a detailed explanation of why NOT to say, “actively seeking opportunities” here.
Like your headshot, your headline on LinkedIn is one of the few things people see BEFORE even clicking on you… for example, when you comment on an article or a friend’s post, share a post yourself, etc.
So it’s very important if you want to stand out, make a good impression, and land jobs on LinkedIn.
Make sure you’re using all 50 skill slots that LinkedIn allows. This is a big part of how to use LinkedIn to find a job, because it will help you get spotted more.
Recruiters are constantly searching LinkedIn, and skills count as keywords in your profile, which means they help you appear in more searches!
For example, if a recruiter searches for “Phone Sales” and you’ve listed “Phone Sales” as a skill, it’ll make your profile show in their results.
If you need ideas of what skills to put, glance at your own resume, and look at colleagues/peers in your industry on LinkedIn. What skills are your coworkers and LinkedIn connections listing? Use that as inspiration for your own profile.
Next, make sure your previous work is in bullet format and easy to read.
You can put a one- or two-sentence description of each role before diving into bullet points, but avoid big blocks of text and long paragraphs.
These tend to get skimmed over, and you want your LinkedIn to get READ. So this is important.
Then, in your bullets, make sure you’re focused on detailed results and accomplishments. Put metrics, data, and numbers whenever possible.
For example, don’t just say, “responsible for managing customer questions and requests”.
Say, “successfully handled 100+ customer requests per week with a 99% customer satisfaction rating”
That’s going to make your bullets stand out a LOT more and make employers want to interview you more, because you’re showing the exact type of results you’ll be able to get them.
You should be doing this with your resume bullet points, too.
We’re almost done setting up your LinkedIn profile to job search effectively. The next step is to ask one or two colleagues to write an endorsement for you.
You can learn more about how to do this (including examples of good LinkedIn recommendations) here.
Even one or two recommendations will help your profile stand out from all the competition when you’re trying to use LinkedIn to land a job.
Not every employer is going to care about volunteer work and community involvement, but some do! So if you’ve done anything, put it on your LinkedIn.
LinkedIn has a profile section dedicated to this called “Volunteer Experience”.
One mistake many job seekers make on LinkedIn (and in their job search overall) is to only apply for online job ads and not have one-on-one conversations.
Hiring managers are more likely to trust you and interview you if you come recommended by someone they know.
So job seekers can gain a huge advantage by using LinkedIn for networking, not just applying to positions.
This article explains why networking is the fastest way to find a job (and how you can get started).
First, reconnect with former colleagues and tell them you’re job searching.
Don’t ask for a big favor (like an introduction to a hiring manager) right away, especially if you haven’t spoken in a while. But do tell them you’re searching; nobody can help you if they don’t know!
So, you might start by saying,
“Hi Bill. How have things been going for you at Microsoft? I hope you’re well! I wanted to let you know that I’ve started looking for a new position – hopefully a Senior Supervisor or Manager position in Software QA. Do you know of any interesting companies that are hiring?”
Next, start to build new connections. You could ask your existing contacts if there’s anyone in their next that they think you should speak with.
And you can reach out to new people at companies you want to work for. Ask for something very small to begin, like:
“I see you climbed the ranks very quickly to VP of Marketing. Do you have any advice for a newer marketer who hopes to accomplish the same?”
Complimenting someone on their career and asking one single question is a good way to open the door to a conversation. After a few messages, you could then ask if their group is hiring. But don’t do it right away.
And don’t attach a resume or cover letter in a first message to someone. This is NOT going to work. I get this all the time and it’s a big turn-off. It’s pushy and assumptive. Just start a regular conversation and you’ll be much better off.
You can also apply directly for jobs on LinkedIn via their Easy Apply feature. Search for job titles or keywords, narrow down by location and other search filters (LinkedIn has awesome filters), and then start applying.
If a job offers “Easy Apply”, you can submit your details and attach a resume in just a few clicks without ever leaving LinkedIn.
This is ideal because it saves you a ton of time and you don’t need a cover letter, either. (Nobody really talks about this, but if you’re just applying online and you don’t know the hiring manager and weren’t referred for the job, you really do NOT need to be spending time/effort on a cover letter).
And if a job doesn’t offer “Easy Apply”, you can click through the company website and apply that way.
The more active you are, the more you’ll get seen by recruiters, potential new colleagues who can refer you to their company for a job, etc.
One good way to get seen is following a few big influencers (like Bill Gates or Gary Vee) and commenting on their posts. When I comment on a “big” influencer’s post, my comment usually gets 10 likes. Whereas a regular comment of mine might get 0-2 likes.
Then you can go connect with those people who liked your comment. You’ll build more and more connections by doing this.
You never know when one connection will be able to introduce you to a hiring manager or get you an interview. So you need to just keep engaging and building your network if you want to use LinkedIn to find a job.
You can also post content yourself – just keep it positive and professional. You can post examples of past work, case studies, interesting articles you find, questions, and more.
The more active you are, the more you’ll get seen and potentially receive invitations to interview
You can get job search help, expand your professional network, and gather valuable ideas from other job seekers, all through LinkedIn groups.
You’ll find groups specific to job seekers, where you can share info about how you’ve optimized your LinkedIn profiles, resume/CV, and interview strategy.
You can also join industry-relevant groups to gain insight into new job opportunities in your field.
For example, if your dream job is to become a software engineer at a top tech firm, join some software development and tech industry groups.
See what other LinkedIn users are discussing and sharing.
You never know whether this info will help you find a new job (either immediately, or by helping you form long-term connections with people on LinkedIn).
And it only takes a few seconds to search LinkedIn for relevant groups and join a few.
Find groups by searching for relevant keywords, such as “job search” and industry keywords like “mechanical engineering” or “customer support” or “Silicon Valley startups.”
LinkedIn can notify you of new opportunities as they’re posted, even if you’re not online. This is the best way to hear when companies post new positions that you’re interested in.
You’ll get job alerts based on the type of positions you’re interested in.
This article from LinkedIn has more details on how to get notified when relevant companies post a new job.
This beats having to check in each day to see if a company has posted any new jobs. Plus, you’ll find out about jobs from new companies that you weren’t even aware of.
So always take the time to set up job alerts once you’ve completed your LinkedIn profile. It’s a quick step that could land you your next job.
Finally, put a link to your LinkedIn profile in the header of your resume (right after your phone number and email address).
This will show employers you’re modern and up-to-date and will get them to click over to your LinkedIn and see all the great content you’ve added.
This boosts your chances of getting invited to interview and lowers the risk that they’ll glance quickly at your resume and move on. Employers only spend 8-10 seconds reviewing your resume at first. Then, they decide if they want to read more or not. So a link up top can help you stand out and keep them reading for longer.
If you’ve read the steps above, you know how to use LinkedIn to find a job quickly.
Keep your profile page up to date and use it to apply to positions, but don’t forget to send out connection requests and network with new people, too.
Also join relevant groups, follow companies that interest you, etc.
If you commit to these steps, you’ll find jobs faster and get more offers.
As a first step, go upload a great profile photo so that hiring managers and recruiters will see and trust you.
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