Using LinkedIn for Your Job Search Discover How to Use LinkedIn to Find a Job and Enhance Your Career

LinkedIn is a network full of professionals, all seeking to connect with others in a variety of fields. Given that one of every 20 individuals on LinkedIn is a recruiter, it’s safe to say that there are many eyes looking for the best professionals to recruit for high-quality jobs. Learning how to use LinkedIn to find a job can help any of those professionals meet the high standards the recruiters seek, as well as create their own opportunities through promotions or lateral moves from one industry to another or even from one field to another. Read on to learn more about how to search for jobs on LinkedIn, what recruiters want to see and the best practices for finding the job or internship that’s ripe for advancement.

How Job Seekers Are Using LinkedIn to Their Advantage

Jobseekers face many hurdles these days, and one of the biggest is the resume. Nearly 70 percent of jobseekers have trouble portraying their experience effectively in a resume, and 50 percent struggle when they try to tailor their resume in response to a particular job opportunity. The good news is that LinkedIn takes a lot of the guesswork out of the traditional resume and creates an opportunity for individuals to showcase who they really are. Here’s how LinkedIn has changed the job hunt for the better:

  • Follow companies that catch your interest.

    Following companies is a great way to keep up on what’s happening with their business as well as trends in the field in general. This also provides information on big changes or shakeups, such as the development of a new department or the departure of a high-ranking employee.

  • Search a variety of job openings.

    With over 11 million jobs posted on LinkedIn, there’s no wonder that 77 percent of all available jobs eventually make their way to a job listing on the popular networking site. With so many jobs out there, searching for even the narrowest job title is probably going to yield a few leads. But don’t just look for jobs that focus on a particular title or keyword; look for related jobs as well. This broadens horizons and provides opportunities you might not have considered otherwise.

  • Become friendly with recruiters.

    When a recruiter posts something interesting, make an intelligent comment. Or take the time to say hello and mention that you are looking for a job that fits right within their wheelhouse. Recruiters are always happy to make new connections and are looking for new talent, so make it clear you just might be the person they’re seeking.

  • Offer numerous ways to get in touch.

    LinkedIn’s InMail service can be rather limited, so it’s vitally important to offer all your contact information right up front in the summary, if possible. Include email address, phone number, other social media handles, and any other pertinent contact information so you can be reached in a variety of ways.

The job search begins with a powerful, professional profile. Get the best possible profile by looking at our guide to creating the best possible LinkedIn profile. Here you’ll find an overview of LinkedIn tips to stand out from the crowd, common pitfalls and a roundup of excellent profiles for inspiration.

Creating a Professional and Marketable LinkedIn Profile

Using LinkedIn to Find the Perfect Job for You

Seeking out a job on LinkedIn has become much more competitive in recent years. Increase the odds of landing that perfect job by polishing up a great profile, and then use the job search tools to make the search and application as smooth as possible.

  • Step 1Start with the perfect profile.

    Take your time in creating a profile that really pops. Choose a headline that gets attention, write a summary that tells a story of your experience, and fill out every section on the profile—you never know what will catch a recruiter’s eye.

  • Step 2Choose connections wisely.

    Go ahead and add those college buddies—but also make sure to add those who have made a mark in their particular field, supervisors who will vouch for your skills and high-ranking individuals who made an impression along the way. “Make sure your contacts reflect positively on you. You want to make sure that you're conveying a professional image, so you'll need a good mix of people from various avenues of your life,” Pophal says.

  • Step 3Polish your profile before applying.

    Your profile is your first impression, so make it count. “Fill your profile out completely with as much detail as possible and, most importantly, make sure to proofread carefully to avoid typos and grammatical errors—in fact, it's a good idea to ask a few other people to take a look at your profile and provide feedback to you,” Pophal suggests.

  • Step 4Make good use of search terms.

    Now it’s time to start searching. Search based on job title, company name, keyword, or anything similar. Start with broad terms, then narrow things down. For instance, someone seeking a job in civil engineering might start with civil engineering and then search for terms in their specific field, such as Infrastructure or Bridge or Road.

  • Step 5Update your career interests.

    On the Jobs page, users can set career interests that will help LinkedIn determine which jobs to highlight as possibilities. Some career interests include location, industry, size of the company and experience. To update career interests, go to the dashboard section of your profile and find career interests.

  • Step 6Share interests with recruiters.

    LinkedIn can let recruiters know that you’re ready to be contacted concerning job opportunities. Do this from the Privacy Tab (it’s under Settings and Privacy under the Me icon). You’ll find it under Job Seeking Preferences.

  • Step 7Pay attention to Jobs You May Be Interested In.

    This will show up either on the LinkedIn feed on the homepage or on the Jobs page. These jobs match your profile in a way that makes LinkedIn think you might be perfect for the job. You can also have a list of these jobs sent to your email every day or on a weekly basis.

  • Step 8Use the filters.

    Filters can help you find a match between your experience and what the job requires. Some filters include Date Posted, Experience Level, Company and more. Just click on the Filters link at the top of the search page after your initial search results show up.

  • Step 9Save jobs to apply for.

    When a job catches your interest, save it by simply clicking Save on the job details page. This can also be done through the mobile app and the Job Search app. Then go through the saved jobs to narrow down the options to those that dovetail nicely with the next step in your career goals.

  • Step 10Start the application process.

    Some jobs will allow you to apply directly in LinkedIn; others will redirect to the company page for applications. Keep in mind that once the job application is done, the only way to modify or withdraw it is by contacting the job poster directly.

Getting Noticed by Job Recruiters:

“LinkedIn has become the go-to resource for most recruiters, HR professionals and hiring managers,” Pophal says. “The site was originally intended to be a recruiting resource and has grown and expanded to become a business communication network in general.”

But with so many worthy professionals on LinkedIn, how can a person get noticed by those recruiters? Here are a few tips:

  • Allow anyone to see your profile. By opening up your profile so that anyone can see it, you’re allowing recruiters, potential employers, former colleagues and anyone else with an interest to take a look. The result is that many more eyes are seeing what you have to offer. As an added bonus, it proves you don’t have anything to hide.
  • Give recruiters the heads-up. In the Job Seeking Preferences section of your profile, turn on the Let Recruiters Know You’re Open to Opportunities option. Also turn on the Contact Me Via Phone option to let recruiters know it is okay to get in touch.
  • A picture speaks a thousand words. And on LinkedIn, a professional photograph “speaks” to recruiters. Go with a photo that reflects who you really are. For instance, a seasoned professional will want an up-to-date photo, not one from ten years ago. Imagine showing up for an interview, where the age difference is immediately obvious; recruiters might wonder what else could be not quite as it appeared on your profile.
  • Get savvy with keywords. “Focus your profile on the keywords and phrases recruiters and hiring managers may be searching for when looking for candidates to fill the types of jobs you're interested in,” Pophal says. “It's the same search engine optimization (SEO) approach that marketers would take when building websites.”
  • Post content on a regular basis. Posting thoughts about an article, a blog post that focuses on a certain aspect of your business, or simply entering into a discussion with other users in a group about the state of today’s economy can show recruiters that you are fully engaged—just as you will be when they choose to hire you!

Getting the Inside Scoop on Potential Employers on LinkedIn

Before jumping into any potential job opportunity, it’s vitally important to get to know the company as well as possible—and that means doing some serious research. In days past that might have meant using an internet search to glean tidbits from here and there. Today, it means going to LinkedIn, looking at the company page and possibly getting in touch with current or former workers, recruiters and more. Here are a few tips to make the most of your research:

  • Read through the company page.

    The page should provide at least a solid overview of the company but will more likely provide an in-depth look at the variety of things they do there, what kind of people are perfect for their team, news about innovations and more. The overall culture of the company often comes through in the page.

  • Click through all the links.

    Follow the links on the company page to find out more about certain points, go in-depth with the news about the company, discover more about the individuals who run it, learn about a variety of departments and more. This is another way to gauge the vibe of the place and decide if it’s right for you.

  • What’s the turnover like?

    Research the profiles of those who have worked at the company in the past. How long were they with the organization? Was their next move a lateral one to another company, or did they move to a higher level of experience somewhere else? These can give you clues as to how the company is at retaining the best people.

  • Look at what others have to say.

    Again, look at the profiles of those who worked for the company in the past, as well as those who work there right now. What do they say about the company? Do they give glowing reports? Are they unusually silent? Do they readily hand out recommendations for colleagues from that company?

  • Reach out to potential connections.

    Got any contacts at those companies? If not, there might still be ways to connect. Look for mutual connections with those at the company, then ask that mutual connection for an introduction. Once the intro is made, be professional when asking intelligent questions about the company and what it’s like to work there.

Paying attention to the competition is also important. It can give a job seeker insight into what the market is like and what employers are hoping to see. “For instance, suppose you're applying for a marketing job in the Minneapolis area,” Pophal says. “You could presume that other marketing professionals in the area could, potentially, also be applying for the job. Doing a search on LinkedIn for professionals in marketing, in the type of industry or company you're applying to, or with specific traits or competencies will yield a list of potential competitors. You can then review their profiles to determine what types of keywords or phrases they're using that seem aligned with the job posting or announcement and then incorporate those, or other, terms and phrases into your own profile to help you stand out in positive ways that are likely to appeal to the company.”

“You can search for job opportunities on LinkedIn based on specific keywords/criteria and have alerts sent directly to you via email,” Pophal points out.

Understanding how to network on LinkedIn is vitally important. So be sure to read our Guide to Professional Development and Networking on LinkedIn before getting in touch with those most promising recruiters or companies.

Using LinkedIn for Professional Development & Networking

For Students: How to Find and Land an Internship through LinkedIn

Just as it’s possible to land a great job through LinkedIn, it’s also possible to find the perfect internship. “Looking for internships or contract work can be done the same way as looking for traditional jobs,” Pophal says. “Again, it's important to determine how you can best position yourself, and your competencies, relative to others who may be seeking similar work.”

Great internships can make it clear you’re a go-getter who is more than ready for full-time employment. They can lead to great networking contacts. They can also be the difference between a ho-hum profile and one that really zings. LinkedIn recruiters post over 50,000 internships at any given time; the perfect one is just a click away! Here are a few tips to make the internship hunt a little easier:

  • Start building a social presence early.

    Begin building the LinkedIn profile and other professional social media handles while in school; as graduation gets closer, the profile will become more sophisticated. Jumping on it early is also very helpful if you want a particular name in your URL on LinkedIn or a particular handle on other sites, like Twitter or Facebook.

  • Clean up social media.

    Speaking of a social media presence, it’s a great idea to make sure it’s work-ready. That means removing any posts that might be embarrassing, silly or suggestive of things that employers wouldn’t be too keen to see displayed publicly, such as alcohol use. “Professional” is the name of the game here.

  • Make good use of Groups.

    “LinkedIn allows you to join up to 50 groups and you should,” Pophal says. “The more groups you are in and the more contacts you have the higher the likelihood that your profile will show up in search results and the better your own search results will be when looking for career opportunities.”

  • Use the same tools.

    Proceed as if searching for a job but be sure to include the word “internship” in the search box. This should present a variety of internships; you can then narrow your search with filters. You can also reach out to recruiters in the field and ask if they are aware of any internships you might be qualified to enter.

  • Be aware of the red flags.

    Remember, if an internship seems too good to be true, it probably is. Look for things like surprisingly high pay for little to no experience, business to consumer models that work based on commission, and a huge variety of job postings from one company with the same general job description under a wide range of names.

Additional Resources for Job Seekers

Looking for other resources for the job hunt? How about help with an upcoming job interview? Maybe you want to know more about social media and landing a job. These guides can help you with all of that and more: