Not having a LinkedIn account and expecting to get a job is like not having a phone and expecting to get a text. That’s not an exaggeration. 87% of recruiters use LinkedIn when searching for qualified candidates to fill open positions. That means if you’re not on there, you’re missing out.
But setting up an account on LinkedIn is only step one. Understanding how to use the platform in order to stand out from your peers will help you land you that dream job. Which means exposure - how you are being seen, who are you being seen by, and by how many people.
All you need to do is learn some simple tactics. Here are our 5 tips for how you should be using LinkedIn to get your next job:
No matter what you write or how qualified you are, the first thing anyone will notice when they click on your profile is your picture. On LinkedIn, you can add a profile picture and a background image. Use a high-res, professional-looking image for your profile pic. Your background image is an opportunity to show some personality. No dorm room party pics (you still want to keep it professional!), but feel free to loosen it up a bit to give recruiters some insight into who you are.
After looking at your pic, the next thing a recruiter or company sees is your headline. Keep it short (no more than one line), but make sure to include what kind of job you’re looking for. For example, if you’re a college student looking for an internship, a good summary will read like this: “Second-year engineering student looking for an internship with a small or mid-sized organization.”
We weren’t joking when we said these tips would be simple. Companies on LinkedIn routinely post the positions they’re looking to fill, along with other news that could be important to know. Follow the companies you like, or would love to work for, and interact with their posts.
A lot of times, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Taking that a step further, it’s about who you know who is willing to help you. Using LinkedIn’s search tool, you can locate alumni from your university or college, and see if they’re working in a field or even a company you’re interested in. That school connection is usually enough for alumni to respond and offer you some direction. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help. Not sure what to say? View our sample coffee chat messages.
There’s a couple ways you can display your expertise on LinkedIn. First, write and publish articles directly through LinkedIn’s publishing platform. This is a simple way to show you know your stuff. Plus once others engage with your article, you begin gaining more followers. If writing isn’t your thing, then post articles from other sources, along with a comment. This keeps your profile active while showing off your interests. LinkedIn also allows you to attach files to your profile under “accomplishments.” This could be anything from a blog post you’ve written to languages to an award you received. You may not have much experience, but if you can show links to the work you’ve done, it helps recruiters better gauge your skillset.
LinkedIn is just one tool you can use in your job search. Sign up for Prepped and learn job search skills which can improve your chances of landing a job by up to 6x.