If you’re trying to find a job, LinkedIn can be an incredibly powerful tool to support your efforts and accelerate your search so you land a role faster. But how do you use the platform to find a job in today’s competitive marketplace?
How To Use LinkedIn To Find A Job
Here are five ways you can be using LinkedIn to find a job:
1. Notify employers that you’re “Open to Work.”
A quick, yet often overlooked, opportunity to fuel your job search on LinkedIn is by using the “Open to Work” feature, which allows you to either notify only recruiters, or your entire network, that you’re open to new job opportunities.
According to LinkedIn, “If you specify the types of job opportunities that you’re interested in and your preferred location, [the LinkedIn platform] will help your profile show up in search results when recruiters look for suitable job candidates.”
As of when I’m writing this article, you can share the following job search preferences with prospective employers:
- Job titles
- Workplaces (on-site, hybrid, remote)
- Job locations
- Start date
- Job types (full-time, contract, part-time, internship, temporary)
Again, you can choose whether these job search preferences are shared only with people using LinkedIn Recruiter or with all LinkedIn members. And if you choose the entire LinkedIn community, a green #OpenToWork photo frame will be added to your profile picture.
2. Attract recruiters with a keyword-optimized profile.
Another opportunity to position yourself for success on the platform is to develop a keyword-optimized LinkedIn profile that draws in recruiters. There are three primary sections you’ll want to start with as you build out your profile:
- Your headline
- Your About section
- Your Experience section
LinkedIn Profile Headline
Let’s begin with the LinkedIn headline. Because it’s one of the first sections that users see when visiting your profile, you want to be very strategic and intentional with the content you include in your headline.
Additionally, your headline is an opportunity to add keywords that will increase the likelihood of your profile appearing in LinkedIn searches. Consequently, you’ll want to spend some time thinking about the types of keywords that a recruiter would type in the LinkedIn search bar if they were recruiting for your target role.
If you’re targeting a chief product officer role, for instance, you may consider adding keywords such as “product management,” “team leadership,” and “P&L ownership” to your headline.
I share several keyword-rich LinkedIn headline examples in this article on my blog and this article in Forbes.
LinkedIn Profile About Section
Next, let’s dive into writing your LinkedIn About section, which you can think of as a cross between how you would respond to the questions, “tell me about yourself” and “walk me through your resume” in a job interview.
Similar to your LinkedIn headline, you want to incorporate relevant keywords into your About section, once again thinking about which words a recruiter or hiring manager would type in the LinkedIn search bar.
You also want to include target roles here, because if someone is sourcing or recruiting for a position, one of the first search parameters they’ll likely use is the job title.
If you were targeting leadership roles in product management, for example, you would want to include job titles like “Director of Product Management,” “Senior Product Manager,” and “Product Manager” throughout your profile. If you’ve never held these roles, you can still incorporate them into your profile by including a section titled “Target Roles.”
LinkedIn Profile Experience Section
Now, let’s talk about writing your LinkedIn Experience section, as it’s another opportunity to strategically incorporate keywords into your profile, as well as capture the attention of prospective employers.
Rather than merely copy your resume onto your LinkedIn, which I strongly advise against, you want to again think about the roles you’re targeting and related keywords, then weave them into your position descriptions.
Importantly, you don’t want to simply stuff your profile with keywords. Instead, you want the content to be compelling and encourage a recruiter to contact you once they visit your profile.
However, you don’t want to give everything away on your LinkedIn profile. Otherwise, recruiters and hiring managers won’t have a reason to reach out to you.
3. Align your skills with target roles.
Another opportunity to attract recruiters to your profile is by adding relevant “skills” on your LinkedIn profile, as recruiters often search for talent with specific experiences when filling open roles. By having the right skills on your profile, you’ll show up in more recruiter searches.
As of the time I’m writing this article, you can add up to 50 skills to your profile and choose to prioritize your top three.
But how do you choose which LinkedIn skills to add to your profile? The quickest and most effective way is to visit a handful of roles of interest on LinkedIn, then select the ones that appear most often to add to your profile.
4. Search and apply for open jobs.
Of course, LinkedIn is also home to a robust job board boasting millions of job openings annually. The platform allows you to search for roles using a broad range of criteria, including:
- Date posted
- Experience level
- Job function
Additionally, while the suggestions are hit or miss, LinkedIn can provide you with recommendations for roles it believes align with your profile and skills.
You can also set up alerts to be notified when new job opportunities are posted on the platform that match your criteria.
Another benefit of using LinkedIn’s job board is that you can quickly see which of your contacts and fellow alumni, if any, work at your target company.
Note: Once you’re ready to submit your application, be sure to apply on the company’s website, rather than through LinkedIn’s Easy Apply feature, as you want to guarantee your resume is submitted directly into their applicant tracking system (ATS).
5. Network with contacts at your target companies.
Last but not least, one of the best ways to use LinkedIn to find a job is to network with contacts at your target companies.
As a hardcore introvert, I love being able to identify and network with recruiters and hiring managers from the comfort and convenience of my couch.
LinkedIn enables you to connect with hundreds of millions of people across the globe. All you have to do is take the first step and put yourself out there.
After identifying any existing contacts who currently work, or previously worked, at your companies of interest, you can send out LinkedIn messages requesting informational interviews to learn more about their company, culture, and application and interview processes.
Final Thoughts On Using LinkedIn To Find A Job
While LinkedIn should only be one component of your larger job search strategy, it can be an incredibly powerful tool when used to its maximum potential, which includes spending time updating and optimizing your profile, leveraging the platform’s job board, and connecting with fellow users.
Oh, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that you can follow me on LinkedIn for additional tips and advice on how to find a job you love. You’ve got this!