Job Search Tips

8 Ways to Optimize Your LinkedIn to Get the Job You Want

Written by Peter Jones

LinkedIn is a useful and necessary career tool for almost everyone. But it can also be a fabulous job search tool. Trouble is, the ways in which this is true aren’t usually clear to a casual user. For example: If you’re just updating your profile and waiting to be discovered by recruiters or headhunters, then you can probably expect to wait a long time. This is true even if your profile is all a profile should be: with a professional photo, relevant job and education info, and nifty use of all the available bells and whistles for resume optimization.

However, if you start to think of LinkedIn as a massive database and resource available to you, then you might actually stand a chance of getting a job through the site. You can spare yourself an enormous amount of legwork by checking up on companies, see who you know at any given firm, and even see what that company might be looking for.

Here are a few strategies to help you get hired.

1. Follow the companies you’d like to join one day.

Choose 5-10 companies you might like to work for someday and follow them on LinkedIn. It’s a great way to learn extra intel about these companies that could be useful in an interview situation. You can even limit the companies you follow to ones that are close enough to your geographical location to be within range.

2. Get more connections.

You can increase your connections using the Advanced Search tool. Search for alumni of every school you’ve attended, former colleagues, even employees at companies you’d like to work for. Reach out ambitiously for connections. Join groups and follow their news feeds for more leads.

3. Ask for recs.

Recommendations are easy to ask for on LinkedIn. Getting managers, employees, and coworkers to post reviews on your profile can really help sell your candidacy to other jobs. When asking, however, try to personalize the standard message to ask for what you need, but also what that person might be most inclined or informed to comment about.

4. Stay active.

Don’t just let your profile sit there, even if it’s great. Join groups and post in them. Engage with others’ content. Comment on news feeds from companies you like. Post articles that are relevant to your industry—this can make you look informed and engaged (and hirable!). Even just liking someone’s post can lead to a new connection.

Quick tip: turn off your activity broadcasts (in your privacy settings) so that every one of your connections don’t receive an alert every time you add a website to your profile. Keep your broadcasts content-related and weighty.

5. Use job alerts.

You set up job alerts on all other job search sites, why not LinkedIn? The benefit here is that LinkedIn will give you access to the hirer/recruiter posting the job, so you’ll have somewhere to address your materials immediately. You can even start lining these alerts up before you’re ready to apply for jobs, just to be prepared and know what’s out there in your chosen field.

6. Make your headline.

Your headline actually matters. Think of it as your online brand. It’s the first and only thing a user will see when first searching for you. Your headline might be the thing that makes them click on your profile and read it, or even add you as a contact!

7. Ask for introductions.

You find you have a friend of a friend in a position to help you or hire you? Ask your friend to make an introduction. You can even ask passively, by using the “Get an Introduction” function (the arrow to the right of the “Send a Message” link).

8. Get started.

This is all great advice. Don’t file it away for “whenever you’re ready to start looking.” Most of these strategies will be most effective if you’ve built them up over a few months and then can wield them to their full benefit when the time comes for you to hunt.

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About the author

Peter Jones

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