How to Optimize Your Job Search Using LinkedIn
Building Your Profile, Your Connections, Your Future
So many ways exist for job seekers to improve their job search using LinkedIn. More and more employers use LinkedIn to post job listings, as well as to reach out to possible job candidates. At the same time, many LinkedIn users credit the site with being a primary platform for connecting and networking with people in their industry.
Effective networking is about building relationships. It is critical to take the time to build your LinkedIn profile, add to your connections, and effectively use them to aid in your job search. It is equally important to give back and help your connections when they need advice and referrals as well.
Complete and Update Your Profile
The more complete your LinkedIn profile, the greater your chances of being found and contacted by an employer. Use your LinkedIn profile as a resume and provide prospective employers with detailed information about your skills and experiences. Creating a catchy headline and detailed summary, including a professional photo, and listing your skills and accomplishments are all ways to enhance your profile.
You can also strengthen your profile by adding links, such as a link to your professional website or online portfolio.
Connect With Your Connections
The more connections you have, the better your chances of finding someone to help with your job search. Employers often look for referrals from their own employees to fill positions before opening up a job to the masses, so someone who is employed at the company or has connections there will have a leg up in referring you as an applicant.
While you want to have a number of connections, make sure you only connect with people you know, or to whom you plan to reach out. The goal is to maintain or establish relationships with people working in your field or with whom you are already connected.
Check Out Job Search Options
Search for jobs on LinkedIn by clicking the "Jobs" tab, and then entering a keyword, country, and zip code. Use the Advanced Search Option to refine your search and to search by date posted, experience level, specific location, job function, company, and industry. You can save job searches, and even receive emails about new job listings.
You can also find job openings by searching for and clicking on specific companies. Many companies post job openings on their LinkedIn pages.
Capitalize Your Connections: Recommendations and Referrals
If you find a job listed directly on LinkedIn in which you're interested, check out how you're connected to the hiring manager. You may also consider requesting a LinkedIn recommendation if you know someone at the company, which can help boost credibility in the eyes of employers. LinkedIn provides a template for recommendation requests that you can edit and personalize to your liking.
Endorsements from network contacts for various skills and competencies are another way to go. An endorsement emphasizes that you do, in fact, have a certain skill listed on your LinkedIn profile. The best way to receive endorsements is to give some to your contacts first. They will then be more likely to do the same for you in return.
Use LinkedIn Company Profiles to Learn About Employers
LinkedIn company profiles are a good way to glean at-a-glance information on a company in which you're interested. Company profiles provide an excellent window to your connections at the company, past, current and future projects, new hires, promotions, jobs posted, related companies, and company statistics. What's more, LinkedIn company profiles often provide solid insight into a company's culture — events they celebrate, causes they espouse and the ways in which they support them, goals they set for themselves as a company and for their employees; and the paths they take to achieve them.
Consider following your dream companies on LinkedIn. This will allow you to keep up with their achievements (which will be useful to bring up in a cover letter or interview) and will help you spot any job openings.