LinkedIn is one of the greatest resources we have at our fingertips for finding jobs. And yet it still seems that people often forget to include it in their job searching process. There might be several reasons, but perhaps one of the main ones is that people simply don’t know how to use it. If you are thinking to yourself “that’s exactly why I haven’t joined/used LinkedIn”, don’t feel bad – you’re not alone.
If you’re willing to learn, you have overcome the first obstacle. Perhaps you don’t even know what the point of LinkedIn is. LinkedIn is a place to connect and network with professionals from all over. You start out with the people you know. And pretty soon your network begins to grow. You meet people through your existing contacts and build new ones as you meet them in person or online.
Let’s look into some of the ways LinkedIn can help you research for your next job.
The Basics Of A Solid Profile
This article won’t focus too much on the aspect of your profile. However, it is truly the first step in having success on LinkedIn because it’s how your represent yourselves to others when doing many of the other things that will be discussed in this article. Below is a simple checklist of things that you should do with your profile.
- Fill it all out and keep it updated.
- Upload a professional photo.
- Be honest.
- Claim your vanity URL.
- Add your professional contacts.
Fill It All Out & Keep It Updated
Unless there is something that doesn’t apply to you, you should be filling everything out on your LinkedIn profile. Think of your profile as a living resume, meaning – it’s always growing and new things are constantly being added.
Feel free to use my LinkedIn profile as an example, although not everything is visible publicly.
TIP: When filling out your headline, consider displaying that you’re currently looking for an opportunity. The more specific the better.
Upload a Professional Photo
How you present your self is crucial. Before you add a photo to your LinkedIn profile, ask yourself:
Would I go to an interview looking like that?
Although you should fill out your profile as much as possible, you want to be honest as well. If you wouldn’t put it on your resume, it probably shouldn’t go on your LinkedIn profile either. Although, some people have trouble being honest on their resume too.
Claim Your Vanity URL
This is the direct link to your LinkedIn profile. Not to tell you what to do, but it should be your name – don’t make it anything else. It needs to be clear, concise and something that people can find you with. For instance, my vanity URL is linkedin.com/in/aaronrcouch. If you’re wanting assistance with this, take a look at the tutorial provided by LinkedIn.
Add Your Professional Contacts
LinkedIn makes it pretty simple to connect with people you know or want to know. For now, we’ll focus on those who you know already. You can find email contacts through the Import And Invite page. If you discover someone you know on LinkedIn just by finding their profile, you can also manually add them. LinkedIn will then ask you how you know them.
How To Build Your Network & Approach New Connections
We’ve already slightly touched upon building your network by starting with those who you know and trust. But the true power of LinkedIn comes whenever you begin expanding from them. There are a few ways you can do this:
Invitations can be used to connect to anyone you know. This is the method which we previously covered when talking about adding those you know via email or the Connect button on their profile. LinkedIn also suggests people you may know.
Here is an example of one between me and a contact when I was pursuing an opportunity at the zoo which I intern at.
InMails are private messages between you and any LinkedIn user who isn’t a first degree connection. The recipient’s privacy remains protected through this method and is a premium feature. It may be very well worth it though if there isn’t a direct connection of yours who can introduce you.
Approaching New Connections
Contacting people you don’t know and have no relationship with is a delicate thing. Even with a mutual connection of sorts, they have no idea who you are. This is one reason why having your LinkedIn profile as accurate and complete as possible is important.
Another important step is of course the message itself that you’re sending to them.
- Be clear and informative.
- Don’t be pushy, but show confidence in your words.
- Have someone look at the message before sending.
- Present a reason for contacting them.
- State what you hope to accomplish through connecting with them.
- Don’t just ask favors, but show how you can help them too.
Perhaps many of these sound familiar – they’re probably similar to what you might read in an article about how to go about an interview. In a way, this is an interview – a one-way one that depends solely on your message. Make it count.
Use Your Network By Requesting Recommendations & Keeping Them Informed
Aside from Introductions, your network can help you in other ways too. LinkedIn enables you to get recommendations from your connections. Think of these like a mini recommendation letter. Recommendations are powerful, it’s why word of mouth is the most successful form of advertisement. This is a way that you can have others “advertise” you for free.
In addition to asking for recommendations your network can also endorse your skills, which isn’t as powerful, but still quite helpful. Think about how beneficial this is for your employer to be able to see that fifty people say you’re skilled in product management. Now think about how beneficial that is for you.
Keeping your connections informed is another great way to help you in your job search. Often times we only think about sharing about our professional successes and positive results. However, sharing your current status of seeking professional opportunities in a certain area is a great idea. You might not think to call up or send an email to a bunch of people, but by posting an update, you’re indirectly asking them to help you.
They feel less pressured, and if they know someone who they think they can help, you instantly have a foot in the door. In some ways, this is almost better than requesting to get in touch with someone.
Use LinkedIn Jobs, Advanced Job Search & Boolean Search Techniques
Did you know LinkedIn has a Jobs page? They do, and it is an excellent place to find potential opportunities. Not only can you use this page to search for jobs, but LinkedIn also displays sections titled Jobs You May Be Interested In and Jobs In Your Network. These are both interesting as they can help you discover positions from companies that you may not have thought of searching for.
LinkedIn’s advanced search is another excellent feature which enables you to be as specific or as broad in your search that you want to be. There is an advanced search option right on the LinkedIn Jobs page that we previously talked about, but you can also use it via the search field in the middle of the black bar that is there no matter what page on LinkedIn that you’re on.
From this search bar you can specify People, Updates, Jobs, Companies, Inbox, and Groups. The advanced search function only works for People and Jobs.
Boolean searches allow you to refine your results. On the Searching for Specific Results help page, LinkedIn lays out some of the helpful techniques.
Save & Keep Track Of Jobs You Find On LinkedIn
While you are searching for jobs, you can easily begin accumulating tabs upon tabs. How about minimizing the number of overwhelming searches and jobs and save them for later viewing instead of trying to manage them all at once? With these features you can. Whenever you hover over or click on a job you have the option to save it.
The option to save searches is also available, and not just the words in the search field, but the specifics of the search like the position, company, location, etc.
Participate In Groups Of Your Own Career Path, Interests & Skillset
Groups can be found by going to the Network tab and clicking Groups. This isn’t necessarily a direct way to finding jobs, but jobs are posted on these and it is a way to establish connections with other people that have your same interests and skills.
Find More Tips & Tricks On Free LinkedIn Job Search Webinars & Their Blog
LinkedIn is dedicated to helping you have the best professional experience possible. It’s why they have created and continue to create so many awesome and helpful tools, including free webinars. A lot of the time I’m skeptical about webinars – they ask for your money and how often do you actually get something of value that you couldn’t have found somewhere else on the Internet for free?
But here LinkedIn is offering free webinars – that is a completely different situation, plus it’s through a reliable company. So go check out all that they are offering and see which ones interest you.
In addition to webinars, LinkedIn continues to offer more free content by publishing tips and tricks to their blog. Granted they don’t only post about job search techniques, but you can use the search box to narrow down the topic which you’re looking for.
These certainly aren’t the only things you can do with LinkedIn. We’ve previously written about hacks that you can use to further your career, ways to turn your LinkedIn profile into a resume as well as some little known features.
We’ve even written a whole guide on LinkedIn called Learn LinkedIn: How To Build Your Living Resume.
Now it’s your turn to discover what LinkedIn can do for you! What are your experiences with it? Have you done many of the things covered in this article? Care to share any success stories or advice with your fellow MakeUseOf readers and LinkedIn users who are on the hunt for their next big opportunity? We’d love to hear in the comments!
Image Credit: Employer. Job Search via Shutterstock