7 Ways to Use LinkedIn to Land the Job

Who knew that social media would grow from a simple way to connect with friends, to a viable job search opportunity for thousands of professionals. LinkedIn is not just an online resume, it’s a great way for you to connect and engage with potential employers. LinkedIn mixes your personal and professional image to give employers a complete idea of who you are. But, you face much higher competition online than you would in a traditional interview, so be prepared to spend extra time on your LinkedIn profile to make it truly stand out.

Tips to improve your profile:

Fill in every section. Your profile on LinkedIn doesn’t just tell about your professional experience. It shows your connections what you’ve accomplished in your volunteer work, what skills you have outside your current position, and allows you to give a brief synopsis of how you envision your career to advance. Make sure your profile is complete, with volunteer work, endorsed skills, references, and all relevant positions to your career path. Don’t leave anything blank — a full LinkedIn profile gives employers a reason to stay on your page longer.

Choose your photo wisely. Your LinkedIn profile picture should not be the same as your Facebook or Twitter. While you don’t have to have a professional headshot, exclude obvious “selfies” and photos with bad lighting or blurriness. Look at other profiles in your industry to see what they wear and how casual their photos are. Sometimes a more casual photo works well, because it shows you have personality and you stand out. However, a poorly taken photo of you in your P.J’s is probably not the best choice.

Add useful keywords in your profile descriptions. Employers will be searching for the professional titles they need. To cut down your description length, don’t use descriptors such as “motivated,” “experienced,” or “responsible,” on your page. Only use action words and terms related to your industry. It will help you appear at the top of employers’ search results.

Ask for recommendations. Recommendations are key to gaining initial trust. In an online forum, people can read all about you, but they won’t know until they meet you if you’re all that your profile says. Recommendations help you bridge the gap between virtual and personal connections. Ask clients, coworkers, or former supervisors to write a short recommendation on your profile.

Finding jobs and employers:

You can easily search for jobs on LinkedIn, but it’s not the only way to land an interview. Research shows that most positions are filled via referral or by an employer’s personal network, which leaves little chance for someone new in the industry. But, LinkedIn allows you to connect and engage in conversation with employers directly. Use these tips to meet and network with the companies you want to work for next:

Research companies you want to work for, and learn about their employees. Do you already know somewhere you’d like to submit a resume? It will be much easier for you to gain your dream employer’s attention if you know a little about the company, and some of the employees that work there. On the sidebar of a company’s LinkedIn profile, you can view what common connections you have to their employees. It’s helpful to recognize people employed at the company, and be able to talk to them when you get to the interview.

Find the email of someone you’d like to meet for an interview. Maybe an employer isn’t advertizing that they’re ready to hire, but they may in fact want someone right now. Cold emails can be risky, but if you know a little about the person from their profile, you may have a better chance of catching their attention.

Follow their LinkedIn to see what networking events they plan to attend or host. Go to a networking event where your ideal employer is promised to make an appearance. You can follow their LinkedIn status updates (if they’re active) to plan your networking appearances with intent to meet them.

Look through common connections to see if a friend or former colleague can introduce you. The best way to build your network is through referral. LinkedIn is a great research tool to find who can make the best introduction to companies you wish to work for. Contact your common connection, and see if they are willing to make an email introduction.